Akio Toyoda, President and CEO of
Toyota Motor Corporation of Japan has seen the future, and it’s called “Mirai.”
That’s the name of Toyota’s new fuel cell vehicle, which Toyoda announced in a
video released the night before the car’s official launch recently.
Mirai, which means “future” in
Japanese, represents a turning point for the automotive industry. The Mirai vehicle
can travel up to 300 miles (483km approx.) on a single tank of hydrogen, refuel
in less than five minutes and emits only water vapour.
Of course, the car of the future
won’t become a reality without the hydrogen stations to support it. That’s why
Toyota North America chief executive officer (CEO) Jim Lentz announced a new
commitment to drive the development of a hydrogen refueling infrastructure in
five northeastern U.S. states.
To support Mirai’s introduction
to the region in 2016, Toyota is collaborating with Air Liquide to develop and
supply a phased network of 12 state-of-the-art hydrogen stations targeted for
New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. The states
and locations have been strategically selected in the greater New York and
Boston areas to provide the backbone of a hydrogen highway for the Northeast
corridor. Specific details of the collaboration will be revealed in the coming
months. All this was stated in a press release from the company
“Toyota’s vision of a hydrogen
society is not just about building a great car, but ensuring accessible,
reliable and convenient refueling for our customers,” said Jim Lentz. “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.”
This new announcement builds on
Toyota’s previous support for hydrogen infrastructure development in
California. In May 2014, Toyota announced a $7.3 million loan to FirstElement
Fuels to support the operations and maintenance of 19 hydrogen fueling stations
across the state. The commitment augments funding provided by the California
Energy Commission, and makes Toyota the only OEM to provide working capital for
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