Toyota reviewed the lessons learned while building the experimental, hydrogen-powered Mirai (pictured) and applied them to the development of a second-generation model due out in 2020. The next Mirai is expected to inch closer to the mainstream in key markets like America and Japan.
Company Chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada announced the timing during a meeting about hydrogen energy held in Tokyo, according to Reuters. Toyota confirmed to Roadshow that a second-generation Mirai is in the works, but it declined to confirm the 2020 launch floated by its chairman. It makes sense, however. Introducing the car in early 2020 would allow Toyota to parade it in front of the whole world during the Olympic Games opening in Tokyo on July 24.
Details about the car, notably the type of powertrain it will use, remain under wraps. We expect the knowledge gained since Mirai production started in 2014 will allow engineers to make significant improvements to the technology in terms of driving range and efficiency. Toyota can also tap into BMW's know-how, because the two carmakers agreed to jointly develop and test the technology in 2013. The hydrogen-powered X5 unveiled at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show was notably built with technology developed by the two partners, and it's headed to production sooner or later.
Creating a better hydrogen powertrain is utterly useless if the infrastructure can't support the cars that use it. Private companies and agencies at all levels of government have invested a significant amount of money into the electric car charging infrastructure, but motorists who drive a hydrogen-powered vehicle are still short on options. That's slowly changing, as the number of charging stations grows annually, and Toyota might be able to justify making the Mirai available in more states. The current car is offered only in California and Hawaii; select states in the northeastern part of the nation might join the list after the second-generation model makes its public debut.
We expect to learn more about the second-generation Toyota Mirai during the 2019 Tokyo Auto Show opening its doors in October. While the model will break cover at some point in 2020, it might not arrive in American showrooms until 2021 at the earliest, so possibly not until the 2022 model year.