The Automotive Future Is Closer: Mirai Is Available for Order
The digital order book (i.e., you go through a website) for the hydrogen-fueled Toyota Mirai opened last week, and if you happen to be someone who qualifies to get the car (they are not planning on making a whole lot of them initially, so they want to make sure as much as possible that there is congruence between the buyer and the vehicle), then you’re going to be getting the future of automotive transportation at a fairly aggressive price for what is undoubtedly a vehicle that costs far, far more than it is stickered for. Let’s face it: the Mirai really is rocket science that has been mass productionized, and it is hard to imagine that that’s anything but, well, inexpensive.
The future really is now
That is, the MSRP for the sedan is $57,500. Naturally, there is a delivery charge, $835. (While not an apples-to-apples comparison, know that SpaceX charges $61.2-million for a Falcon 9 launch.)
But the Mirai price gets you a car that has an estimated 312-mile range, based on an EPA estimated 67 mpge city/highway/combined, which is more useful than a space launch.
That range, according to Toyota, makes it the electric vehicle that can travel the furthest.
(“Electric vehicle?” you wonder. “I thought it was a hydrogen-powered car.” The hydrogen is used to create electricity, which powers a 113-kW AC synchronous electric generator.)
There are plenty of benefits to early adopters that Toyota is offering, ranging from financing support to free hydrogen for 3 years (or $15,000, whichever comes first).
And the state of California might offer you a $5,000 tax credit. Assuming you live in California.
Which you will need to in order to get a Mirai.
There are currently eight dealers who handle the Mirai. Four in southern California. Four in northern.
And right now there are eight public refueling stations.
No wonder Toyota is calling the early adopters “Trailblazers.”
(To be fair, according to the California Fuel Cell Partnership, there are an additional 48 stations under development.)
When you’re going to have someone discuss your new vehicle, who better than a theoretical physicist? Here is Dr. Michio Kaku at the 2015 CES discussing the future of transportation at a Toyota event:
(Cue the Thomas Dolby music)
Mercedes has been putting diesels in vehicles since 1926. It has been offering them in the U.S. since 1949. And 2013 is seeing a range of offerings, including in its popular GLK SUV.
The 2016 model is all-new. As in platform and everything else. And the platform—which will have global use—was developed in North America.
Although the term “continuous improvement” is generally associated with another company, Honda is certainly pursuing that approach, as is evidenced by the Accord, which is now in its ninth generation.