Toyota is saying goodbye to gasoline and electronic vehicles (EVs) with its vision of the future – the fuel cell vehicle (FCV) Toyota Mirai. Mirai, which means future in Japanese, is Toyota’s latest automobile model. At the Los Angeles auto show, Toyota executives say that they have plans to elaborate their investments in fuel-cell vehicles.
The Vehicle of the Future
Toyota Mirai travels at 300 miles on a hydrogen tank, which auto owners can refill in less than five minutes. The automobile isn’t as fast as other vehicle models, but is quicker than a Prius. It reaches up to 62 miles (100 kilometers) per hour in merely 9.6 seconds. The vehicle feels like an electric when tapping or punching its exterior because it doesn’t have vibrations of a combustion engine.
Another remarkable feature is that the Toyota Mirai can double as a mobile power station. Its socket in the trunk can provide electricity to a typical home for at least a week in case there’s an earthquake or any kind of emergency.
Fuel cells are proven technologies. In fact, NASA used them during their Apollo missions in 1960 to generate electricity and drinking water.
The CEO of AutoNation (AN), the largest retailer of new cars, trucks, and SUVs in the US, Mike Jackson says, “Every manufacturer has multiple hybrids and electrics coming. And here you have Toyota saying, ‘We’re not going to go full electric. The ultimate answer is fuel cells.’”
The Sale of the Future
A report published by Auto Blog noted that the automobile giant is planning to spend further to make more fuel cell vehicles. The pre-orders for the 2016 Toyota Mirai fuel cell vehicle reached about 200. The demand is quite strong for Toyota to be motivated, saying that they’re willing spend 20 billion yen ($168 million) for it. They’re planning to expand the annual production capacity from 700 pieces in 2015 – its first year – to 2,000.
Nikkei, a Japanese newspaper, breaks down where Toyota will sell the most – 400 in Japan by 2015, 200 to 300 in the US by 2015 (and 3,000 by 2017), and 50 to 100 in Europe by 2016. In this regard, Toyota will be upgrading its assembly location and adding two more lines for the fuel cell stacks and tanks to the factory.
Toyota will start the initial sale of their future vehicle in Japan this April 2015 and California some time in 2015. The price starts at $57,500 (full payment) or at $499 per month for 36 months with a $3,649 due at signing. The company is including a supply of hydrogen fuel that’s supposed to last for three years, as “no one knows how to accurately measure and sell H2 for cars yet.”