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Toyota Makes the Leap Into Fuel Cell Cars

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - Now that just about every carmaker has one or more electric models available, with considerable refinements coming out every year, charging stations are becoming more common, and battery technology continues to advance, why would Toyota, the world’s largest car manufacturer and leader in the hybrid market, decide to invest in a hydrogen car?

Toyota President Akio Toyoda has his reasons, many of which are as much about saving the planet as they are about earning a profit for his company. He told Bloomberg Business Week, “The automobile industry can contribute to the sustainable growth of earth itself.” The third generation family president of the company said, “At Toyota, we are looking out 50 years and even more decades into the future. I do believe that [the] fuel-cell vehicle is the ultimate environmentally friendly car. But the point is not just to introduce it as an eco-friendly car with good mileage. I wanted it to be fun to drive and interesting as a car.”

He doesn’t have a lot of true believers among his peers. The CEOs of Volkswagen, Nissan, and Tesla have all gone on record saying that the hydrogen highway was a dead end street, if not in so many words.

But Toyoda is backing up his words with the launch of the Mirai, expected to be available by the end of next year. The car is expected to sell for $57,500. Federal and State incentives could bring this down into a range comparable with an EV or a plug-in hybrid, which is pretty impressive, considering the completely new technology involved.  It will have a driving range of 300 miles, will be quicker than the Prius, and will emit only water vapor and a bit of heat.

What is it about hydrogen, that, like the tortoise in the race with the hare, will allow it to win the race against the EV in the long run?

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