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Toyota Motor Corporation has launched a completely redesigned hydrogen-powered fuel cell sedan with the hopes of reviving the niche technology that has been eclipsed by battery-powered electric vehicles.
Toyota unveiled a prototype of the new hydrogen sedan built on the same platform as its luxury Lexus brand’s LS coupe ahead of the Tokyo Motor Show starting on October 24.
The new sporty Mirai model boasts longer and 30 per cent more improved driving range than its predecessor and a redesigned fuel cell stack and hydrogen tanks. It also has a longer wheelbase and lower-slung chassis.
Yoshikazu Tanaka, chief engineer of the new Mirai, said that they wanted to make a car that people want to buy, not just because “it’s an eco-car”.
“We wanted something that’s fun to drive,” he said.
The latest Mirai would cost less to make and the current model is mostly assembled by hand. The original Mirai is one of three fuel cell cars available to consumers. Hyundai Motor Corporation sells the Nexo while Honda Motor Corporation leases out the Clarity.
Toyota has sold fewer than 10,000 of the Mirai while the likes of Tesla sold 25,000 of battery-powered Model S sedans in its first year and a half.
While the price of the car is still unknown, it is said that the model will be available from late next year in Japan, North America and Europe.