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Toyota Mirai Gets Super Bowl Commercial To Help Boost Sales

Toyota Mirai Gets Super Bowl Commercial To Help Boost Sales

It’s not the car’s fault, but increased exposure could help create more interest in it

Unlike hybrids and all-electric cars, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles have struggled to gain any meaningful traction in the auto industry. Part of that may be attributed to a lack of awareness of its unique capabilities and another part of that can be pointed in the direction of not having enough of them in the market to begin with. After all, California is the only state in the U.S. where an FCV like the Toyota Mirai is currently being sold. Whatever the case may be, FCVs have yet to turn into popular alternative vehicles for a lot of people and no more is that evident than the lackluster sales of the Mirai.

That’s also a big reason why Toyota is spending big money in advertising the vehicle as it now has its own commercial spot for the Super Bowl. Titled “Daisy,” the commercial goes straight to the point in highlighting the Mirai’s ability to emit water instead of gas. The ad starts with a full-bloomed daisy sitting somewhat meekly in the middle of a concrete road. A car then stops just beside the flower before coughing out a plume of smoke out of its exhaust. Convenient, right? As the car moves along, the poor daisy (with a spotlight on it no less) keels over the same way a dehydrated person would if he’s spent days on end without water.

And just as everything appeared to go south on the flower, the Mirai heroically comes along, stops at the exact same spot as the previous vehicle, and discharges whatever water it has emitted straight into the daisy. Just like that, the daisy springs back to life and a voice-over comes in to proudly say that the hydrogen-fuelled Mirai’s only emission is water.

As far as a commercial goes, this one leaves the comedy behind and cuts straight to the point to showcase why the Mirai is such an important car in today’s world. Whether the ad succeeds in generating more interest for the car is a question that will only be answered over time. But for now, the commercial comes as a worthwhile gamble on Toyota’s part considering that it only sold 1,034 models of the car in 2016 and just 83 units in the first month of 2017.

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Toyota Mirai Drops Science on "Back to the Future" Anniversary

Toyota Mirai Drops Science on "Back to the Future" Anniversary

You may have noticed an unusual number of “Back to the Future” references in your social media; that’s because 10/21/2015 is the date shown on Doc Brown’s DeLorean time machine in “Back to the Future 2.” In the plot of the movie, this is the day that Marty McFly arrives in the future to try and fix the things that have gone wrong in the timeline.

Though the DeLorean is the automotive star of the franchise, there’s a Toyota connection as well. Marty’s dream car is a black 1985 Toyota Xtracab 4x4 pickup, and Toyota’s taken the opportunity to play it up a little bit. (DeLorean probably would too, if it was still in business.) In addition to creating a “Back to the Future” edition of the all-new 2016 Tacoma, complete with 1980s-style KC light bar and nerf bumpers, the brand has brought its Mirai fuel-cell vehicle into the loop with a short video called “Fueled by the Future.” The video features the aforementioned Tacoma concept along with Christopher Lloyd, Michael J. Fox and other familiar faces.

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Toyota Is Now Taking Orders For The 2016 Mirai

Toyota Is Now Taking Orders For The 2016 Mirai

Following a couple of announcements that it plans to increase production of the upcoming 2016 Toyota Mirai due to unexpected demand, Toyota has finally begun taking orders for the hydrogen-fueled family car. Starting today, California drivers who want to switch to alternative fuel can request a Mirai using Toyota’s dedicated Web page here.

However, the process is a bit different than placing an order for conventional cars, as production of the Mirai is limited. Specifically, vehicles will be placed with "select, eligible customers" which will be contacted directly by a Toyota representative to discuss ownership.

The first examples of the Mirai are set to arrive in October 2015, when selected customers will take delivery from one of the eight authorized Toyota dealers across California. Each Mirai will cost $57,500 plus an $835 destination fee.

A group of lucky customers will also benefit from the Mirai Trailblazer support program, which includes three choices: APR Support of 0% for 60 months + $7,500, Purchase Support of $7,500, or Lease of $499 per month for 36 months and $3,649 due at signing.

As a brief reminder, all Mirais come with three years’ of complimentary fuel, Safety Connect and Entune with hydrogen station finder app, and 24/7 customer call support. Other benefits include no-cost scheduled maintenance for three years or 35,000 miles, no-cost enhanced roadside assistance for three years, regardless of mileage, and eight-year/100,000-mile warranty on key fuel cell vehicle components.

Continue reading for the full story.

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2016 Toyota Mirai Becomes The First Hydrogen-Fueled Car To Pace NASCAR

2016 Toyota Mirai Becomes The First Hydrogen-Fueled Car To Pace NASCAR

With a fuel cell stack that offers an impressive 3.1 kW/L of hydrogen, an electric motor that produces 153 horsepower, and fueling that takes only five minutes, the Toyota Mirai is arguably the most innovative hydrogen-powered vehicle built as of 2015. Add the fact that Toyota will fill up the Mirai’s tank for free for the first three years of ownership and we may have a game-changer on our hands. Needless to say, the news that Toyota plans to triple Mirai production due to high demand isn’t surprising if you ask me. But now that the futuristic four-door is already a hit, Toyota is focusing on raising even more awareness, this time among NASCAR fans.

Relax, NASCAR won’t replace today’s V-8 cars with a fleet of Mirais, but it did accept a Mirai to pace the Toyota Owners 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway. The race took place Saturday, April 25th, 2015, making the Toyota Mirai the first hydrogen-powered car to pace a NASCAR race.

The governing body accepted the Mirai as a pace car after the mid-size sedan met NASCAR’s performance requirements for the 400-mile race. And for the first time in NASCAR history, a vehicle lapped an oval track using no gasoline and emitting nothing but water vapor. This is the second time Toyota brought alternative fuel technology to NASCAR, after the Camry Hybrid paced a full race back in May 2009.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Toyota Mirai Pace Car.

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Toyota Mirai Gets Fueled by Haters Calling Bullsh*t

Toyota Mirai Gets Fueled by Haters Calling Bullsh*t

The world might not know it yet, but the Mirai is Toyota’s next big thing. It’s the hydrogen-powered car that takes the next step past the Prius. Despite all the advancements in the area of fuel cell technology, some analysts – Toyota says – are calling bullsh*t.

Interestingly enough, Toyota agrees with them – not that hydrogen cars are a bad idea, but that bullsh*t is a great source for creating hydrogen fuel. To demonstrate, Toyota is producing a video series called “Fueled by Everything,” in which the automaker explains the process of creating hydrogen while showing off its latest product.

Without spoiling the video’s plot or diving into science that’s way beyond my degree in journalism, manure can be turned into hydrogen using a digester that breaks down the cow pies, releasing biogas in the process. The gas is then collected and purified before being sent to a steam-methane reformer. From that reforming process comes pure hydrogen, which can then be used for fuel.

From that point, the news is all about the Mirai and how it produces power from hydrogen. For that run-down, check out our full 2016 Mirai review. The Readers’ Digest version is this: the hydrogen combines with oxygen inside the fuel cell and produces DC electrical current. It’s that electrical energy that’s used to power the Mirai’s electric motors.

So yes, Toyota can in fact, power the Mirai on bullsh*t.

Continue reading to learn more about Toyota’s latest "Fueled by Everything" Series.

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Toyota Plans to Triple Mirai Production Due to Unexpected Demand

Toyota Plans to Triple Mirai Production Due to Unexpected Demand

Surprising both critics and Toyota itself, demand for the hydrogen fuel-cell Mirai passenger car has tripled expectations, with 1,500 orders placed in just the first month of availability. Toyota originally planned on selling a mere 400 examples in 2015, but has now revised that projection to include 700 built examples for this year, 2,000 built for 2016, and 3,000 built for 2017.

According to a report from AutoExpress, 60 percent of the orders came from Japanese government/private fleet customers, while the remaining 40 percent came from private buyers.

Major automakers, including Toyota, Honda, and Nissan, have recently expressed interest in collaborating with the Japanese government to build the infrastructure needed to support these new vehicles, with 2015 set as the target date for construction.

The Mirai’s success comes amid growing competition from other hydrogen-powered vehicles rolling out from Honda and Hyundai, as well as the development of future fuel-cell cars from BMW, Mercedes, and General Motors.

Toyota plans on offering the Mirai to customers in Europe and the U.S. later this year.

This is a critical moment for hydrogen power. Many automakers are hedging their bets when it comes to that next step past petrol, and if hydrogen fuel cells are to succeed, they will require a good deal of consumer interest, not only in Japan, but throughout the world as well.

Click past the jump to read more about the Toyota Mirai.

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2016 Toyota Mirai

2016 Toyota Mirai

Remember Toyota’s hydrogen-powered FCV concept from the 2013 Tokyo Motor show? It took a couple of years, but for the 2015 model year, Toyota released the production version of the FCV Concept called the Toyota Mirai. In short, the Mirai is a sporty looking car that has an electric drivetrain and is powered completely by hydrogen. Currently only available in certain locals that have hydrogen fueling stations, the Mirai can achieve up to 310 miles per tank of hydrogen and emits nothing but a little H20 from its “exhaust” pipe. For being the best of its kind at this time, the Mirai has a respectable amount of cargo room in the rear boot and features an upscale interior with a digital, center-mounted instrument cluster and a large touchscreen infotainment system. Priced at more than $50,000 here in the U.S. the materials and their fit and finish inside are comparable to that of a Lexus or BMW.

When the Mirai made its official debut, Toyota also announced that it was unleashing a large campaign to start making hydrogen readily available for the masses. The brand has teamed up with hydrogen supplier Air Liquide to bring hydrogen to New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, to name a few. These add to the 19 refueling stations Toyota has helped bring to Southern California in the past.

Toyota believes that hydrogen will eventually be a fuel of choice, so it has been pushing the implementation of it pretty hard. So hard, in fact, that the Mirai is actually part of Toyota’s core lineup. Of course, it isn’t available in places where hydrogen isn’t available, but something tells us that Toyota will continue to push for new hydrogen stations in the future and will bring the Mirai and even more hydrogen vehicles to new areas as quickly as it can. Until then, take a look at our full review below.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2016 Toyota Mirai.

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2014 Toyota FCV Concept

2014 Toyota FCV Concept

Anytime you have a car, even if its a concept, that promises a maximum range of 310 miles, you immediately have to give it the attention it deserves.

At the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show, Toyota has a concept that promises as such, although how much of it will translate to the production model is still a matter of discussion.

The concept is called the FCV Concept, a conceptual successor to the FCV-R Concept we saw two years ago in Tokyo. The new FCV Concept is a lot closer to production than its predecessor with Toyota expected to release the vehicle in the next few years.

As far as the concept goes, the styling is a dramatic improvement from the FCV-R Concept. It still doesn’t look good as we’d like, but the large vent on the front, the stylish headlights configuration, and the unique grille setup makes for a front end that actually looks pretty interesting.

In terms of its dimensions, the FCV Concept is surprisingly robust, measuring 191.7 inches long, 71.25 inches wide, and 60.4 inches high with a wheelbase of 109.44 inches. All that allows enough space for the interior to comfortably sit four adults, which is a good thing for a car that promotes itself as a long-distance people mover.

Ok, so here’s where the FCV Concept gets interesting. It’s far from powerful, as it’s powertrain features a pair of 70 MPa high-pressure fuel stacks, which have a power output density of 3 kW/L and a minimum output of just 100 kW, which is about 134 horsepower based on conversions. All that does, though, is give the concept a whole lot real estate to cover, thanks to its maximum range of 310 miles.

Ultimately, the fate of the FCV Concept will be determined by how much it lives up to its range claims. It if it can come remotely close to approaching it, then Toyota has a winner on its hands. If it doesn’t, then it’s back to the drawing board.

Click past the jump to read about the Toyota FCV Concept’s predecessor, the FCV-R Concept

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Toyota and BMW to Tie Up for a New Sports Car and Hybrid Technology

Toyota and BMW to Tie Up for a New Sports Car and Hybrid Technology

Back in June, we brought you the first rumors related to a possible collaboration between BMW and Toyota. Now, those rumors have become reality, as BMW has dropped the first official details on this upcoming partnership.

It looks like Toyota fell in love with these types of collaborative projects after the GT 86 sports car, developed in cooperation with Subaru went so well. This new partnership with BMW will add a yet another new sports vehicle to its lineup.

According to the new agreement signed between BMW and Toyota, the two companies will join forces to develop a new fuel-cell system, as well as new architecture and components for a sports vehicle concept that is set to be completed by the end of 2013.

Along with the new sports car, the two companies will join forces in their attempt to develop zero-emission technology. They are talking about a fundamental fuel-cell vehicle system, including not only a fuel-cell stack and system, but also a hydrogen tank, motor and a lithium-air battery. This new system is aimed for completion in 2020.

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