After much anticipation, Toyota has announced its hydrogen-fuelled car, the Mirai, will be released in the US in autumn 2015, with expectations of selling about 700 cars initially.
While there remains criticism of electric cars as a long-term solution to ending the automobile industry’s reliance on fossil fuels, the development of hydrogen cars, and the infrastructure to support it, is still very much in its infancy.
Despite this, Toyota announced last June it intended to release a hydrogen fuel-cell car within one year to support the small number of hydrogen fuel stations established in the state of California, but the company wants to support the growth of an international infrastructure.
According to its release on the Mirai, filling the tank with hydrogen fuel for five minutes will give the car a range of 482 kilometres and will emit nothing but water vapour, which would give it almost three times the range of many electric cars on the market.
The Mirai’s fuel cell stack will combine the hydrogen gas from its tanks with oxygen to produce electricity that will then power the electric motor.
The connection point for filling the Mirai with hydrogen fuel. Image via Toyota
In terms of the car’s performance, the Mirai has a maximum output of 153hp, accelerating from 0-100 km/h in nine seconds.
So what will this set the consumer back?
Toyota said if someone were to buy the car outright, it would cost US$57,500, however, the US is currently offering US$13,000 in tax relief and grants on clean-energy vehicles, similar to the €10,000 offered by the Irish Government and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland.
By the end of 2015, three of California’s nine active hydrogen stations and 17 newly constructed stations are scheduled to be opened to the general public, with 28 additional stations set to come online by the end of 2016, bringing the near-term total to 48 stations.