The Toyota Mirai could spawn a family of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles for the Japanese automaker.
At least that’s the hope of Yoshikazu Tanaka, chief engineer for the Toyota Mirai. Tanaka believes that in 10 to 20 years, hydrogen fuel cell cars will be as popular as hybrids are today, giving the technology a similar trajectory as the original Prius. Eventually, the engineer would like to see the Mirai “procreate,” with Toyota adding new models using hydrogen fuel cell technology. Although Tanaka wouldn’t share what’s under consideration, another insider source reports that a wagon, hatchback, multi-purpose vehicle and SUV are all being looked at.
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Although the Toyota Mirai is still in its early stages of being on the market, hydrogen fuel cell technology is already progressing at a rapid pace. Tanaka shared that a fuel cell that weighed 238 pounds in 2008 and produced 121 horsepower now weighs just 123 lbs and provides 153 hp. He also admitted finding a genuinely clean source of producing hydrogen for all fuel cell cars is still a long ways off.
Hydrogen infrastructures are slowly being assembled in Japan, Berlin, London and California, and how quickly those finish will play an important role in whether the technology gets adopted as quickly as hybrids did.
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