Toyota has announced its first fuel-cell car, the 2016 Toyota Mirai, which runs on hydrogen and only emits water vapor.
The company has always been at the forefront of hybrid technologies – its Prius is one of the best-selling hybrids on the market – and this new vehicle represents “the future” of transport.
The Mirai’s hydrogen fuel tank fills in five minutes and converts hydrogen to electricity, with the only emission being water vapor.
The Mirai, which means “future” in Japanese, gets 300 miles on a full tank and is expected to be available in the US by early 2016. The sedan is scheduled to be available to Japanese buyers at around ¥7 million (~US$68,700) before April 2015.
Akio Toyoda, the company’s president, said:
“Today, we are at a turning point in automotive history. A turning point that represents many years and countless hours of work by our team to create a car that redefines the industry. All of us at Toyota believe in a future that will be safer, greener and easier for everyone.”
Toyota is partnering with the French energy firm Air Liquide to build 12 hydrogen stations across New England. The company hopes that New York and Boston will be the prominent hydrogen hubs in the area.
Earlier this year FirstElement Fuels received a $7.3 million loan from Toyota to support 19 hydrogen fueling stations in California.
The Toyota Mirai
Jim Lentz, chief executive officer of Toyota North America, said:
“Toyota’s vision of a hydrogen society is not just about building a great car, but ensuring accessible, reliable, and convenient refueling for our customers,”
“I am happy to announce that this vision will expand beyond the borders of California and give customers the opportunity to join the fuel cell movement.”
It should be noted that this is not the first fuel-cell car. In 2002 Honda launched its FCX Clarity, however, it never really caught on. Hyundai has also built a fuel-cell version of its Tucson SUV.
What makes the Mirai different to these two vehicles is that is sporty and dynamic. Mr. Toyoda has expressed that he doesn’t want the Mirai to be just an environmentally friendly car, he also wants it to be “a pleasure to drive.”
“We believe that behind the wheel of the Mirai, we can go places we have never been, to a world that is better, in a car that is better,”
“For us, this isn’t just another car. This is an opportunity – an opportunity to really make a difference. And making a difference is what Toyota is all about.”