Toyota to Debut New Hydrogen-Powered Model
|   Monday, December 01, 2014
One of the major announcements planned at this week's Los Angeles Auto Show comes from Toyota where it will officially debut the new Mirai, a hydrogen-powered four-door, midsized sedan.

Officially unveiled last June, the only name the hydrogen car was known by was the "Fuel Cell Sedan."

The "Fuel Cell Sedan," now called the Mirai, will go 300 miles between refuelings. Toyota, in a statement issued Monday, noted the automaker will use a high-pressure refueling system that is capable of filling the fuel cell in five minutes.


In making the announcement, Toyota's American CEO Jim Lentz not only disclosed the name of the vehicle but also announced the automaker's plan to assist in setting up a national range of refueling stations.

Toyota began its installation program by committing $7.9 million to California-based First Element, a hydrogen fuel provider. The agreement with First Element calls for the development of 19 fueling stations in Southern California. Toyota announced this agreement in the spring.

Now, Toyota has provided the first steps in the expansion of fueling stations. Picking the Northeast first, the automaker will set up fueling stations at strategically located sites in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey.

Lentz, in announcing the build-out of the planned hydrogen fueling network, said that Air Liquide will handle the Northeast sites. He noted that Toyota's planning calls for a network of hydrogen fueling stations around New York and Boston, two hubs of the Northeast Corridor.

These steps will lead to the creation of a national network. The national network will have only one hydrogen fuel provider.

Toyota scion Akio Toyoda, grandson of the automaker's founder, noted in a video, the manufacturer expects big things of the Mirai. Toyoda, the CEO and president of the parent company, believes the new Mirai will take people to "places we have never been … to a world that is better, in a car that is better."

Toyota has been a leading proponent of hydrogen power for vehicles. Hydrogen is a leading candidate for zero-emission use because it burns cleanly, producing only water vapor as the oxygen from the atmosphere is catalyzed to produce electricity to power the Mirai.

Interestingly, Toyota is not the first automaker to market a hydrogen-cell vehicle. Hyundai has a fleet of 60 fuel-cell-powered Tucsons on US roads now.

Honda, Toyota's chief competitor, will debut a fuel-cell-powered vehicle, based on last year's concept FCEV in 2016.
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