Toyota has been very vocal about its lofty plans for the new Mirai.
After severing ties with Tesla in 2014, Toyota has shifted its focus toward fuel cells and away from all-electric cars.
On Wednesday, Toyota announced that the Mirai had achieved an EPA-estimated range of 312 miles. That’s the longest range of any zero-emission vehicle on the market today, including electric vehicles.
“Toyota realised in the early 90’s that electrification was key to the future of the automobile,” said Toyota’s North America CEO Jim Lentz in a statement
“Just as the Prius introduced hybrid-electric vehicles to millions of customers nearly twenty years ago, the Mirai is now poised to usher in a new era of efficient, hydrogen transportation.”
One major hurdle left for Toyota to surmount is the lack of hydrogen filling stations, which cost about $US1 million each to build. According to the Department of Energy, there are only a dozen hydrogen filling stations nationwide, most of which are in California.
The 2016 Mirai is expected to come with a price tag of $US57,500 — less than initial estimates, and keeping the car much more affordable than its electric counterparts. (Tesla’s Model S starts at $US69,900).
Tesla, which is expected to announce an affordable cousin to its flagship Model S soon, has gone all in on electric vehicles. When its massive battery gigafactory comes on line within the year, battery technology is expected to improve and prices may drop.
To sweeten the deal, Toyota says it will offer three years of complimentary fuel to Mirai purchasers.