Toyota has been teasing its upcoming hydrogen fuel cell car for the better part of the year, but at the Los Angeles auto show it has announced that consumers will be able to buy the Mirai sedan for $57,500 when it goes on sale in 2015. However, Toyota claims the final price for the four-door vehicle should be significantly lower when factoring in state and federal incentives that could push the price "under $45,000" when all is said and done.
As for the technology behind this car, Toyota claims that its fuel cell stack will be refillable in about five minutes and provide a driving range of 300 miles. It's no performance beast, but that range should make the driving experience much more like a standard gas-powered vehicle rather than most current electric vehicles, which still aren't quite feasible for most long-distance drives.
Of course, there are even less places to refuel a hydrogen-powered car than there are standard electric chargers — that five-minute refuel time won't be very useful if you can't find a place to fill up your car. To that end, the Mirai will first be only available in California, where a hydrogen refueling infrastructure is currently being built out. By the end of 2015, Toyota says some 20 stations will be online, with another 28 launching in 2016. Toyota also says that 2016 will see the first construction of stations on the east coast, with 12 stations spread across five states (New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island) expected that year.
Until more stations become commonplace, hydrogen-powered cars will remain a niche curiosity — but it's easy to see the attraction to such a vehicle. The Mirai (and other similar vehicles) use no gasoline and emit only water vapor in the process. That complete lack of emissions coupled with a more extensive range than current electrical cars makes hydrogen-powered cars sound like a pretty huge step forward in automotive technology.