This was not just any electric car. Its electricity comes from fuel cells powered by hydrogen, which means the only tailpipe emissions are water vapor. That would be good for the climate, but a logistical challenge for the consumer.
In Mr. Manning’s case the nearest hydrogen filling station was seven miles from his house. And the technology was still so new that there were fewer than a dozen others in the entire state.
“Is this really practical?” he asked himself. In the end, he took a leap of faith, agreeing to lease a silver Mirai for $499 a month. “I said, ‘If it sucks, it sucks,’” he recalled in a recent telephone interview.