• Kyodo, Jiji


Toyota Motor Corp. launched on Wednesday its second-generation Mirai hydrogen fuel cell vehicle (FCV), touting its improved fuel efficiency and longer range compared to the original model, which was the world’s first mass-produced FCV.

The five-seater Mirai has three tanks to hold hydrogen fuel used to generate power for its electric motor, giving it up to 850 kilometers of range — roughly 30% more than the first-generation, four-seater model that can travel 650 km on its two tanks. Toyota launched the Mirai in 2014.

Toyota is stepping up its promotion of FCVs with Wednesday’s launch of the new Mirai, boosting its output capacity to around 30,000 units a year.

The suggested base model retail price is set at ¥7.1 million, but the automaker said some ¥1.4 million in subsidies and tax breaks will be available to Mirai buyers. The original model was priced at ¥7.4 million.

Masahiko Maeda, Toyota’s operating officer, said the new Mirai model “marks a starting point for widespread use of hydrogen” fuel.

FCVs are powered by electricity generated through a chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen, and do not emit carbon dioxide.

They are touted as a green alternative to conventional gasoline cars but still face hurdles to achieving widespread take-up, given the limited range of vehicle choices and the relatively small network of hydrogen fueling stations.

The momentum for a less emissions-intensive Japan appears to be gaining traction with Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga having pledged to achieve carbon neutrality, or slash carbon emissions to zero on a net basis, by 2050, a goal also sought by the European Union and the United Kingdom. U.S. President-elect Joe Biden has stated his intention to curb carbon emissions as well.

Honda Motor Co. has launched its own hydrogen-powered vehicle, the Clarity fuel cell car.

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike said Tuesday that the sale of new gasoline-only cars would be banned in the Japanese capital by 2030.

The central government is considering implementing a similar ban in the mid-2030s. The metropolitan government hopes to underscore its resolve to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by setting the more ambitious target.

“We’ll aim to make new passenger cars sold in Tokyo nongasoline vehicles entirely by 2030,” Koike told a plenary meeting of the Tokyo assembly. The metropolitan government’s previous target called for realizing such a shift by 2050.

Nongasoline cars, including hybrid vehicles, accounted for some 40% of the new passenger cars sold in Tokyo in fiscal 2019, according to the metropolitan government.

It also newly set a target for motorcycles, aiming to ban gasoline-only models by 2035.

“This is a common responsibility of major cities around the world that are combating climate change,” Koike said.

She also said the metropolitan government hopes to trigger a movement by, for example, hosting an electric vehicle racing event in Tokyo to raise awareness among Tokyo residents.

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