Say goodbye to expensive gas and messy oil changes. If Toyota has its way, its new hydrogen-powered Mirai could revolutionize the automobile industry and save the environment.
Instead of an engine, the Mirai uses Toyota Fuel Cell Technology, has two hydrogen tanks and emits only water vapor. The car takes just three to five minutes to refuel and was designed to have a premium driving feel, similar to a Lexus. Long known for its focus on sustainability, Toyota hopes that the Mirai will reduce even more CO2 from the environment; hydrogen has the least amount of greenhouse gases and can be made from garbage, corn, and solar and wind power. The automaker has partnerships to build 19 fueling stations in California by 2016 and to roll out additional stations along the East Coast later. It’s also offering state incentives and HOV stickers to encourage local governments and consumers to get on board.
Of course, with anything new comes lots of questions: how far will one charge get you on a road trip? Up to 300 miles. Is the Mirai expensive? The sticker price is $57,500, but there will be incentives for early buyers and affordable leasing options. Will the Mirai hold up as well as Camrys and Corollas?
“The brand is built around durability, quality, reliability and safety, and those brand pillars can not be touched,” Nihar Patel,VP of North American business strategy for Toyota, told NewsOne at the L.A. Auto Show. “And it doesn’t happen simply by putting a Toyota badge on it. These folks have been slaving away on [Mirai] for well over a decade. I drove one of these cars for 15,000 miles, the Highlander version, and I would not have sat in it for even one mile if I thought it was unsafe, let alone put my family in it.”
Jim Colon, VP of African American business strategy, related the reaction to the Mirai to that of the company’s initial entry into hybrid technology.”There are a lot of people who are going to say, ‘This ain’t gonna work.’ We have a track record of proving naysayers wrong,” he said. “A lot of people called the Prius a science experiment. Well, 2 million Priuses later, it looks like the science experiment was successful.”
Take an exclusive look inside the 2016 Mirai in the photo gallery below.