"In time, the fuel cell vehicle will become mainstream. We wanted to take the first step," said Mitsuhisa Kato, a Toyota executive vice president, at the vehicle's launch Tuesday. "We want to be at the leading edge."
Fuel cell vehicles run on compressed hydrogen gas, which in the Mirai's case is stored in two tanks mounted underneath the vehicle. It accelerates particularly quickly from about 40 to 70 kilometers (25 to 45 miles) per hour. The Mirai can travel 650 to 700 kilometers (400-435 miles) on its two tanks of hydrogen.
Besides the relatively high cost, buyers will have to contend with finding fuel. Only a few dozen hydrogen filling stations have been built worldwide, though governments are subsidizing the construction of more.
It's an uncertain future that depends both on whether makers can bring down the price, and a wide-enough network of filling stations is built. Yoshikazu Tanaka, deputy chief engineer for Toyota's next generation vehicle development, said he expects it will take 10-20 years for the Mirai to reach sales in the tens of thousands of vehicles a year. Now, the sporty-looking, four-door Toyota Mirai will retail for 6.7 million yen ($57,600) before taxes. However, the price includes hydrogen fuel for up to three years.
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