It’s Déjà Vu All Over Again as the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Mirai is Introduced
It was enchantment under the sea this week as Toyota kicked off U.S. sales of its new hydrogen fuel cell car – the Mirai – with a splashy promotion tied to the Back to the Future film trilogy (in the second movie, Doc Brown and Marty McFly travel forward to Oct. 21, 2015).
But that’s old news to California Energy Commission staff who tried out the Mirai almost a year ago. No, they didn’t use a flux capacitor to skip ahead to the future. They test drove a model Toyota brought to last year’s opening of the West Sacramento hydrogen fueling station.
“It takes about the same amount of time to fuel a hydrogen fuel cell car as it does a gasoline powered car, and you have nearly the same range,” said Janea A. Scott, the Commission’s lead commissioner for fuels and transportation. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rates the Mirai at an estimated 67 miles per gallon equivalent (combined city/highway).
There are eight retail hydrogen refueling stations open in California, and the California Fuel Cell Partnership says 47 more are in development. There are also three stations open for municipal buses.
The Energy Commission supports alternative fuel technologies because they reduce greenhouse gas emissions. To help reach its goal of 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) on the roads by 2025, California has invested more than $500 million to bolster statewide infrastructure and create a viable market for ZEVs like the Mirai and others being sold or leased in the state.
Unfortunately, there is no news on the much anticipated hoverboard, and its future remains in the air.