Japan's prime minister has a lead foot, apparently. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe recently had a photo op with Toyota's first production hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, even getting behind the wheel for a spin (no chauffeur for him, so much respect on our part). His primary impression was that the car had great pickup, before settling on the more politically correct view of noting the vehicle's lack of emissions.
In the 87-second video below, we can see the prime minister's appreciation of the car's performance as Toyota Motor Corp. Managing Officer Satoshi Ogiso dutifully rides shotgun. Abe also noted that he was "cheering" for the car's success.
And he will apparently do his part there. The Japanese government will provide incentives worth about $20,000 per vehicle, bringing down its out-of-pocket price to less than $50,000 from about $69,000. Toyota in June announced pricing on the sedan, which will start sales next spring. The car can go 435 miles on a full tank from a hydrogen refueling station, wherever those can be found.
Recent reports claim Toyota will name the model Mirai, which means "future" in Japanese, though the company hasn't made any official announcement. In the present, at least, it is making Japan's leader happy.