Toyota introduces Mirai, envisions hydrogen society

Toyota introduces Mirai, envisions •hydrogen societyê

When Toyota showed its Mirai hydrogen fuel cell vehicle on Media Day at The Washington Auto Show it wasnêt just showcasing a new model. It was introducing what company vice president of business strategy Nihar Patel calls a –hydrogen society,” though he said it could take 100 years to achieve.

The 2016 Mirai (Japanese for –future”) will have a range of 300 miles, can be refueled in less than five minutes and will be for sale in California in the fall. Toyota plans to sell less than 200 units in 2015 and produce 5,700 by the end of 2017.

The biggest challenges are affordable pricing and infrastructure, Patel said. The initial price is $57,500, but $13,000 in federal and state incentives mean California customers will be able to lease the car for 36 months at $499 a month. The initial customers will get free fuel and the car can provide power and energy to the customerês home.

Patel is convinced hydrogen will be the primary fuel for the next 100 years. But, he said, –We cannot have the car without the infrastructure.” So Toyota is working with states in the Northeast and on the West Coast to build hydrogen fuel stations, and will urge Maryland and DC to start a similar network. The company will also lobby the U.S. Congress to revive the hydrogen vehicle incentives that expired last year.

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