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Despite some discussion as to whether Toyota would be well served to identify its fuel cell vehicle with its “Prius family,” it appears the FCV Concept’s name will be Mirai.
Toyota has not made an announcement that this is the case, but according to Bloomberg citing an unnamed source, the vehicle will be so-called nearer to its going on sale in California in late 2015.
Assuming Mirai to be what Toyota calls its first FCV four-seater, we’ll learn in time what it has in mind, but Mirai is not a completely contrived set of otherwise meaningless phonemes.
Mirai is a Japanese word meaning “the future,” and it’s the name of several prominent people according to Wikipedia.
That Toyota might call it after a word speaking of times ahead would dovetail with its massive banner at this year’s New York auto show declaring Toyota’s fuel cell efforts are preparing for the “next 100 years.”
The company has been signaling a bullish intent and has conspicuously sidestepped much in the way of a concerted effort to push battery electric cars, or plug-in hybrids.
It does have the limited-market Prius PHEV, and the to-be-discontinued limited-market RAV4 EV, but Toyota has said hydrogen is more viable and will better meet consumer expectations not wanting a perceptive step backwards.
To date California has but 12 fuel cell stations. In 2013 California Governor Jerry Brown approved a new law providing $20 million per year to build out 100 stations by 2024.
For the time being, and until further notice, the feed stock for hydrogen will mostly be natural gas. Early adopters may be asked for somewhere around an estimated $69,000 as priced in Japan for the Mirai.
Unknown is if manufacturer-subsidized leases will help make this competitive with the $499 per month Hyundai Tucson FCV, and the next Honda FCV to follow its Clarity.
Daimler has also said it will join the fray after much delay in 2017.