In an announcement made on the eve of the LA auto show, the Japanese car manufacturer Toyota Motor Corporation said that it will call its fuel-cell powered sedans “Mirai”, which in Japanese means “future”. This new sedan will be able to cover a distance of 480 km on a single tank. The user will need less than 5 minutes to refill the car’s hydrogen tank once it runs out of fuel.
This announcement reveals how much the automaker is focused to make it big in the fuel cell car segment. Jeff Liker, an engineering professor at the University of Michigan, said that Toyota, instead of working on battery-only cars, is committed to make fuel cell vehicles the eventual alternatives to cars with internal combustion engines.
That’s not all; the Japanese vehicle manufacturer said that it will even be developing fueling stations in the northeastern US states.
Liker, when talking about this commitment of Toyota, said that it (the commitment) will be as important as the commitments made in 1989, the year when the Lexus brand of vehicles got introduced in the US, and 1997, the year that saw the company start selling gasoline-electric hybrid cars of the Prius series.
While the luxury car market in the US was led by Lexus for as many as 11 year, the Prius is the best-seller as far as hybrid cars are concerned and now has a total of four exciting models.
Liker informed that although in the majority of the segments Toyota plays the role of a great competitor and not that of a leader, when it comes to environment friendly cars it’s difficult to find a better contender for the post of leader than this Japanese automaker.
The auto market in the US is filled with battery-only cars capable of traveling less than 160 km or 100 miles even when on full charge. Charging these cars, on the other hand, take several hours. Still, users fall for them due to the pollution-free transportation these vehicles offer.
According to Toyota’s CEO Akio Toyoda, a fuel-cell car can provide us with the same environment-friendly transportation but with much greater convenience. In addition, the lower center of gravity of these vehicles makes driving even more enjoyable.
Toyoda added that at present the world is standing at one of the most defining moments of automotive history, which is marked by increase in the number of people looking to embrace environment friendly cars that also offer great driving experience.
Toyota has not yet made any announcement regarding the price of Mirai for buyers in the US and has also not offered any information on the number of cars it is looking to launch in the US market. What the company has said is that it will be launching the car in Europe and the US a few months after its launch in Japan, which is scheduled to take place in April. The price of the car in Japan would be ¥7 million.