The controversial Toyota Fuel Cell Vehicle (FCV) has made the rounds at different auto shows, picking up both praise and controversy. The production model, which will be released for 2016, has finally received a real name, because FCV is too generic. It will be known as the Toyota Mirai, per a recent official announcement. The rumor that the car would be called the Mirai has been circulating for months.
The official unveiling of the Mirai will take place at the Los Angeles Auto Show, but the car looks like the example that was shown off back in June.
Part of the controversy of the Mirai is that it uses fuel cell technology instead of a hybrid or pure-electric powertrain for propulsion. Toyota has recently turned is back on EVs, terminating a partnership with Tesla Motors and saying that they aren’t the future of personal mobility.
The company says that using the Mirai will be convenient, if you can find a hydrogen fueling station where you need to be. The car’s range is stated to be about 300 miles, which does beat out what most electric cars can achieve. Refueling only takes about five minutes, which beats out the charge time for even the most advance setups for electric cars.
Since there are some, albeit still very limited, hydrogen stations in California, the Mirai will launch in that state first. It doesn’t hurt that the Golden State is also the single largest car market in the nation. As the infrastructure improves elsewhere, the car will be sold in more markets throughout the country.
About the lack of hydrogen fueling stations, Toyota announced that it is stepping up efforts to correct that problem. As of the end of 2015, there are supposed to be 20 operational stations open to the public in California. Another twenty-eight should be opening by the end of the following year. The automaker is helping establish twelve different hydrogen stations spread across Rhode Island, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.
Leasing the Mirai will cost $499 a month, with the purchase price potentially adding up to more than $45,000.