Toyota has inaugurated a new assembly line at its Motomachi production facility in Aichi, central Japan, which will manufacture the world's first mass market fuel-cell car Mirai. The company intends to produce around 700 units of the 4-door Toyota Mirai sedan, which runs on hydrogen and emits out water vapour only from its exhausts, by the end of December 2015. Toyota further eyes an expansion in production of Mirai by upto 2,000 units in 2016 and 3,000 units in 2017.
"We are thrilled to think that before everyone else, we are taking a historic step toward the establishment of a hydrogen society in Japan," Toyota President Akio Toyoda told reporters last month when he delivered a Mirai to the prime minister's office. Fuel-cell technology is seen as the Holy Grail of green cars as they are powered by a chemical reaction of hydrogen and oxygen, and produce nothing more harmful than water. The Mirai can travel about 650 kilometres (400 miles) without refuelling, some three times further than an electric car, and its tank can be filled in a few minutes like gasoline engine vehicles. The Japanese automaker would launch the Mirai sedan in UK and other selected European markets during 2015.
As we reported you earlier, the troika of Japanese automakers - Toyota, Honda and Nissan - are coming together and planning to spend a record $24 billion to research the sector this year. All three of these have been leaders in the green car sector. Even Toyota is offering more than 5,600 fuel cell and related patents available for royalty free use to various other automajors to step in the fuel-cell car segment.