Toyota names fuel cell vehicle Mirai, pledges fueling stations in Eastern US
Toyota’s Akio Toyoda today announced the name of the company’s new fuel cell sedan. It will be called the Mirai, which means “future” in Japanese. The name is pronounced “Mir-eye.” Speaking in excellent English, Mr. Toyoda called the new Mirai, “A turning point where people will embrace a new, environmentally-friendly car that is a pleasure to drive.” My Toyoda’s naming of the new car also came with a press announcement that Toyota will be working with Air Liquide (pronounced lick-eed) in the Northeast to begin establishing fueling stations.
The Marai is due to arrive at dealers in select markets in Q3 of next year. The reason that Toyota is bringing a fuel cell vehicle to market is primarily because the California Air Resources Board (CARB) created a system forcing automakers to produce and sell zero emissions vehicles (ZEVs). The system that CARB uses to score the effectiveness of these ZEVs heavily favors longer range between fill-ups and a quicker time to accomplish a fill-up of fuel. Hydrogen vehicles are seen by Toyota as the most cost-effective way to maximize the points available. In some expert’s analysis, a fuel fell electric vehicle (FCEV) is as much as three times better than a BEV to automakers.
Fueling the Hydrogen Future
Other key states like Mass. and New York have adopted the CARB mandates, so Toyota is moving ahead nationally with the Mirai. Today’s announcement included the news that Toyota will partner with a supplier of hydrogen to build 12 stations. They will be intended to serve the greater New York and Boston markets and will include stations in New Jersey, Rhode Island and Connecticut. Toyota North American CEO Jim Lentz said “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.” Toyota had earlier announced its involvement with the state of California to build stations for fueling hydrogen vehicles.
In addition to Toyota, Honda and Hyundai now have fuel cell vehicles ready for market.
The coming year will be very interesting for the zero emission vehicle market. Many battery electric car advocates are openly hostile to the idea that anything but an electric car should be considered by automakers and government. It would not be shocking if the car’s name and the similar sounding word “lie” begin to appear together in some blogs.