Moral Low Ground


Toyota’s Hydrogen Fuel Cell ‘Mirai’ Coming to US in 2016

Toyota Mirai (Promotional photo)

Toyota Mirai (Promotional photo)

Toyota will introduce its first mass-market hydrogen fuel cell car in Japan next month, with a limited US rollout scheduled for 2016.

The four-seat Toyota Mirai, which means ‘future’ in Japanese, will go on sale in four cities in Japan beginning December 15, Reuters reports.

Billed as the ultimate “green car,” Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda said the car will be able to travel 300 miles (483 km) on a single tank of hydrogen. Mashablereports the car’s hydrogen cell creates “enough electricity to power a house for about a week” and can be refueled in under five minutes.

Toyota had previously promised a 435-mile (700 km) cruising range for the Mirai, as well as a three minute refueling time.

The world’s largest automaker hopes it will replicate the success of its hybrid star Prius, of which some five million units have been sold since its 1997 introduction. But with a base price of seven million yen, or around $60,200, the steep cost of entry may prove a barrier to the type of success enjoyed by Prius, which starts at just $24,200 for 2015.

Mirai’s pricing places it in direct competition with the $69,000 Tesla Model S, an electric car which has enjoyed brisk sales and is even Norway’s best-selling automobile, even after tariffs and taxes raise its price to around $110,000.

“For [Toyota], this isn’t just another car,” said Toyoda in a promotional video announcing Mirai’s imminent release. “This is an opportunity — an opportunity to really make a difference.”

According to AutoBlog, Toyota and Air Liquide will invest in infrastructure to serve Mirai owners. Toyota said it will build a dozen hydrogen stations around New York and Boston. The company is also working with First Element to build 19 stations in California.

But initially, the Mirai will only be available in the northeastern US. It will cost slightly less than its Japanese price, likely around $57,500. Federal and state incentives could result in prices as low as $45,000.

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