Toyota launches Mirai fuel cell vehicle, will build hydrogen refueling stations in Northeast

Article by Andrew Christian, on November 18, 2014

More details were revealed about Toyota’s Mirai fuel cell vehicle, which will be sold in California and Europe early 2015 and in Japan at no specific date. Toyota said, during the launch of the new fuel cell vehicle, that it has a range of 300 miles on a single tank of hydrogen, with refueling time estimated at up to five minutes.

“Today, we are at a turning point in automotive history,” Toyota President Akio Toyoda said on a video shown at the launch event. Toyota also announced plans to construct 12 new hydrogen stations in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island, in collaboration with Air Liquide.

The carmaker is already helping finance the construction of such stations in California, where existing hydrogen filling station network is largely located.

Toyota is one of the front-liners in adopting hydrogen fuel cell technology into automotive use as carmakers look for alternative fuel technologies as driven mainly by regulation-mandated sales of zero-emission vehicles in California.

Although fuel cell technology has been under development for years, its adoption has been greatly slowed down by worries over costs and lack of adequate fueling stations. Despite a considerable drop in in costs of fuel cells, carmakers still have to break the challenge of having enough fuelling infrastructure.

Targeting to hurdle that barrier, Toyota in May announced a $7.3-million loan to FirstElement Fuel Inc., which was also provided by the California Energy Commission a $27.6-million grant to build 19 hydrogen refueling stations in California within the next year.

Jim Lentz, president of Toyota Motor North America, said in a statement that Toyota also wants to ensure “accessible, reliable and convenient refueling for our customers.” [source: Toyota]

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