New, advanced technology continues to offer the individual a variety of customization choices on cars. Whether you want a diesel, gas, or electric engine, whether the car is black, blue, green, yellow, purple, etc, the customizations continue almost endlessly. However, as of recently, Toyota has released their newest model, the hydrogen powered Mirai, which fittingly, when translated from Japanese to English means ‘future.’ Although Toyota already has its work cut out with over 20,000 placed orders and the ability to only produce 3000 through 2017, opinions have already begun to circulate about the notion of hydrogen fuel cell cars. On the one hand, Elon Musk of Tesla, has already openly stated that hydrogen fuel cells are “bull****,” with most of his rationale stemming from the lack of infrastructure in place for producing, transporting, and filling hydrogen fuel cells. This sentiment comes from the blatant fact that only a handful of filling stations exist nationally, 10 in California and 1 in Connecticut. On the other hand, Shino Abe, the Prime Minister of Japan purchased the first Mirai, openly stating that we are working towards a “hydrogen society.”
The Mirai will be available in California to customers in October tentatively for the cost of $57,500, or $499/month for 36 months. Toyota is aware of the steep cost, and is offering to offset the cost by paying for the first three years of hydrogen. Additionally, although the $8000 federal subsidies for hydrogen cars have expired, locally in California a customer can receive $5000 state subsidies. California has already set aside $200 million for a total of 100 more stations to be developed by 2020, perhaps just the motivation needed for the nation to follow suit.
The brilliance of the car lies in the complexity masked behind the simple yet sleek design of the Mirai. The car on the outside looks like a car you’d find driving on the highway today, yet behind this mask, are a handful of impressive features. Aside from the emergency shut off valve to the car’s hydrogen fuel cell in case of a car crash, comes an impressive list of driverless features which help the driver avoid any possible catastrophic accidents, such as the ability to keep it from veering into other lanes, aid in braking when needed, and the ability to match the speed of the car in front of it.
No longer will customers be forced to wait for hours as their electric cars recharge, because as more hydrogen stations pop up around California, customers will begin to see the beauty of the five minute hydrogen fill up. The Mirai simply releases water back into the environment as it swallows oxygen from the air and mixes it with hydrogen in order to create electricity, which expedites the need for the electric car recharge and in an effort to conserve the hydrogen, the car is only two-wheel drive. Now onto the million dollar question: isn’t this a little too early of a rollout with so few hydrogen stations available? Toyota has already solved that problem, and is teaming with the federal government by supplying funds in order to subsidize the cost of the hydrogen stations being built in California and the Northeast.
So what do you think? Is the Mirai bull**** or not?