I have a friend who several years ago left the his job as a very successful automotive journalist for a public relations position with one of the world’s largest car manufacturers. When I asked him why he did it, he explained that once he had driven every low-volume supercar under the sun, the job actually started to get boring, and the logistics and scale of high-volume car manufacturing started to look more interesting. At the time I thought his brain had fallen out through his ear, but after some reflection, I think I new what he meant.

These five videos from Toyota showing the build process of the new Mirai fuel-cell sedan reinforce his sentiment. There’s no music, no voiceovers and no obnoxious edits, just cars getting screwed together by people who know what they’re doing. It might sound weird, but watching it all come together honestly gave me a sense of Zen and completeness.

The packaging requirements of a hydrogen fuel-cell car make the assembly particularly interesting to watch. The third video shows the fuel being assembled separately. By the time the battery pack, electric motor and absolutely massive fuel cells are all bolted together, you might begin to wonder if the engineers actually bothered to figure out how to fit it all in the compact chassis. Obviously it all comes together, but actually watching it is truly fascinating.

Though the Mirai uses many components common throughout the rest of the Toyota lineup, its low-volume, experimental status means it’s assembled at the Motomachi Plant, which started out as Toyota’s first assembly facility 56 years ago. Now nicknamed “LFA Works, “ it’s where Toyota’s most special cars are assembled, including the LFA, Soarer, Corona and Supra.

Continue reading to learn how the Toyota Mirai is made.

Why it matters

Sales of the Mirai have already begun in Japan, while sales on our shores are expected to begin in 2016. Why the wait? Toyota is currently driving the expansion of hydrogen stations in the northeastern United States, where the Mirai will be sold. There are 12 new hydrogen stations planned for New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. It will also be sold in parts of California that already have sufficient hydrogen infrastructures.

Prices for the Mirai will start at just over $57,000, which is expensive, but somewhat offset by free hydrogen fuel, courtesy of Toyota, and up to $13,000 worth of local and federal incentives, depending on the state you live in. Plus, it’s has a range of 300 miles and can power your house for an entire week in the event of an outage. That’s really cool, but we’re still not sure why it has to look so bizarre.

2016 Toyota Mirai

2016 Toyota Mirai High Resolution Exterior
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Press Release

In November 2014, Toyota Motor Corporation ushered in the future with the launch of the Toyota “Mirai” fuel cell sedan, followed by the Japan start of sales one month later. Today, Toyota held a production ceremony to mark the milestone of a new age of vehicles at its Motomachi Plant in Toyota City, Japan.

Production first started at the Motomachi Plant in 1959, and over its 56 year history, the manufacturing facility played a central role in realizing the dream of Toyota founder Kiichiro Toyoda: to foster an automotive industry in Japan and benefit society at large.

The plant started life as Japan’s first dedicated passenger car production facility. It has been home to some of Toyota’s most notable models, including the “Publica”, “Corona”, “Cresta”, “Soarer”, “Supra”, “RAV4”, and the Lexus “LFA” supercar.

The former “LFA Works” – where highly skilled craftspeople hand-built each of the 500 series limited Lexus supercars to some of the highest standards in the industry – has now become the home of the Mirai, just over two years since the last LFA exited the factory.

This small but dedicated facility is now charged with producing the hydrogen-powered sedan with the same care and attention to detail, with an estimated three units coming off the production line every day.

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