On the night before its official launch, Toyota President Akio Toyoda announced that the company's fuel cell vehicle (FCV) will be called the "Mirai." The name, which means "future" in Japanese, marks what the car maker sees as a turning point in automotive technology with the development of both a hydrogen-powered vehicle and an expanded hydrogen fueling infrastructure.
Gizmag has been following the progress of the Mirai née FCV for some time. The result of twenty years of R&D and ten years of road testing, the Mirai refuels in five minutes, has a 153 bhp power plant, goes 300 mi (483 km) on a tank of hydrogen, puts out enough electricity to run a house for a week, emits only water, yet boasts a low center of gravity and, according to Toyota, very dynamic handling.
To keep the Mirai from becoming a boutique car chained to a few local fueling points, Toyota CEO Jim Lentz announced that the company will expand its hydrogen fueling stations base out of California with an investment to build a new chain of hydrogen stations in five states of the US Northeastern corridor. New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island will receive an initial 12 hydrogen stations in collaboration with Air Liquide. According to Toyota, the new stations will be strategically located with the first focus on New York and Boston.
"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," says Lentz. "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."
The Mirai goes on sale in late 2015 for US$57,000 in California with expansion into the Northeast in 2016. It's currently on display at the 2014 LA Auto Show.
The video below shows Akio Toyoda introducing the Mirai.