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Toyota’s new production hydrogen fuel cell car officially has a name, and it’s the Toyota Mirai, confirming rumours that have been circulating of the car’s name this year.

Mirai is the Japanese word for ‘future’. It looks like a notchback Prius, but it is not a hybrid. It uses an electric motor, but the difference is what powers those motors – not batteries, but hydrogen. The powertrain features Toyota’s proprietary compact and lightweight fuel cell stack and a pair of high-pressure (70mPa) hydrogen tanks, located beneath the four-seater body.

Watch this video where Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda confirms the name. He also reveals that the Mirai will be able to travel up to 300 miles (483 km) on a single tank of hydrogen fuel. You can refuel it in under 5 minutes. It emits only water vapour as part of the fuel cell process.

He also adds that hydrogen as a fuel source can be made from virtually anything, even garbage. Now that definitely sounds like the car of the future – it mmediately reminded me of Doc Brown’s “Mr Fusion” that extracted hydrogen atoms from garbage to power the flux capacitor.

Of course, the Mirai doesn’t have a Mr Fusion – it needs a network of hydrogen stations for refueling. Toyota North America chief executive officer (CEO) Jim Lentz announced it will be working with Air Liquide to develop and supply a phased network of 12 state-of-the-art hydrogen stations targeted for New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.

The states and locations have been strategically selected in the greater New York and Boston areas to provide the backbone of a hydrogen highway for the Northeast corridor. Specific details of the collaboration will be revealed in the coming months.

Toyota also previously announced a US$7.3 million (RM24.4 million) loan to FirstElement Fuels to support the operations and maintenance of 19 hydrogen fueling stations across California.

But that’s just the US – if cars like the Mirai are really set to become the future of automobiles, what about other countries? It will be interesting for us to keep track of the progress of hydrogen cars – stay tuned.

Toyota Fuel Cell Sedan (FCS)