In what is being hailed as an industry milestone, Toyota will start selling the world’s first mass market fuel-cell car in Japan next month and elsewhere in 2015. The four-door Mirai sedan is powered by hydrogen and emits nothing but water vapour from its tailpipe. It will launch with a price tag of 6.7 million yen (US$57,500) in Japan, where Toyota expects to sell 400 units next year. The car – whose name means “future” in Japanese – will hit the US and some European countries, including the United Kingdom, Germany and Denmark, in 2015, it said.
Mirai symbolises two major innovations: First, this is an innovative way to solve global environmental and energy problems… and the second, this innovation will help usher in a hydrogen-based society.
Toyota executive vice president Mitsuhisa Kato
Toyota, the world’s biggest automaker, hopes to sell more than 3,000 units of the car by the end of 2017 in the United States, and up to 100 annually in Europe. Toyota’s hybrid gasoline-electric offerings, including the Prius, have sold more than seven million units since their launch in 1997. But a limited driving range and lack of refuelling stations have hampered development of fuel-cell and all-electric cars, which environmentalists say could play a vital role in cutting greenhouse gas emissions and slowing global warming.