Looks aside, the Mirai represents a big gamble for Toyota, which isn't only selling a hydrogen-powered car – a risky venture in itself – but teaming up with Air Liquide to build 12 hydrogen filling stations across the northeast. And once that's done, it plans on leasing the $57,000 sedans for just $499 month, a figure that includes free hydrogen (there is a reason for that, though). Like we said, this is a big gamble.
Of course, we still can't get over its looks, which you can more closely analyze in our live gallery, available above. Have a glance.
President Akio Toyoda announces name of fuel cell sedan in web video
CEO Jim Lentz announces expansion of Toyota fuel cell infrastructure investment to five-state Northeastern corridor
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif., (Nov. 16, 2014) – Akio Toyoda has seen the future, and it's called "Mirai." That's the name of Toyota's new fuel cell vehicle, which the company's president announced in a video released the night before the car's official launch.
Mirai, which means "future" in Japanese, represents a turning point for the automotive industry. The groundbreaking vehicle can travel up to 300 miles on a single tank of hydrogen, refuel in less than five minutes and emits only water vapor.
Expanded Support for New Hydrogen Stations
Of course, the car of the future won't become a reality without the hydrogen stations to support it. That's why Toyota North America chief executive officer (CEO) Jim Lentz announced a new commitment to drive the development of a hydrogen refueling infrastructure in five northeastern U.S. states.
To support Mirai's introduction to the region in 2016, Toyota is collaborating with Air Liquide to develop and supply a phased network of 12 state-of-the-art hydrogen stations targeted for New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. The states and locations have been strategically selected in the greater New York and Boston areas to provide the backbone of a hydrogen highway for the Northeast corridor. Specific details of the collaboration will be revealed in the coming months.
"Toyota's vision of a hydrogen society is not just about building a great car, but ensuring accessible, reliable and convenient refueling for our customers," said Jim Lentz. "I am happy to announce that this vision will expand beyond the borders of California and give customers the opportunity to join the fuel cell movement."
This new announcement builds on Toyota's previous support for hydrogen infrastructure development in California. In May 2014, Toyota announced a $7.3 million loan to FirstElement Fuels to support the operations and maintenance of 19 hydrogen fueling stations across the state. The commitment augments funding provided by the California Energy Commission, and makes Toyota the only OEM to provide working capital for infrastructure development.
TRANSCRIPT OF AKIO TOYODA'S ANNOUNCEMENT VIDEO
Today, we are at a turning point in automotive history.
A turning point where people will embrace a new, environmentally-friendly car that is a pleasure to drive.
A turning point where a four-door sedan can travel 300 miles on a single tank of hydrogen, can be refueled in under five minutes and emit only water vapor.
A turning point that represents many years and countless hours of work by our team to create a car that redefines the industry.
All of us at Toyota believe in a future that will be safer, greener and easier for everyone.
We imagined a world filled with vehicles that would diminish our dependence on oil and reduce harm to the environment.
It was a bold, but inspiring goal. And, today it is a reality.
Our fuel cell vehicle runs on hydrogen that can be made from virtually anything, even garbage!
It has a fuel cell that creates enough electricity to power a house for about a week.
This is a car that lets you have it all with no compromises.
As a test driver, I knew this new fuel cell vehicle had to be truly fun to drive – and believe me, it is. It has a low center of gravity, which gives it very dynamic handling.
After surviving millions of miles on the test track and 10 years of testing on public roads in freezing cold and scorching heat...
After passing extensive crash tests...
And after working with local governments and researchers around the world to help make sure it is easy and convenient to refuel...
We are ready to deliver. The name we've given to our new car is Mirai, which in Japanese means "future."
We believe that behind the wheel of the Mirai, we can go places we have never been, to a world that is better, in a car that is better.
For us, this isn't just another car. This is an opportunity – an opportunity to really make a difference. And making a difference is what Toyota is all about.
The future has arrived. And it's called Mirai.