Can you see in your mind’s eye the vision of a “Hydrogen Society” and myriad future hydrogen fuel cell vehicles all running clean on electricity?
Toyota can, and while its Mirai was just born practically yesterday, the automaker is talking about it having offspring beyond the four-passenger, four-door $57,500 sedan presently offered only in select California markets.
According to an interview with Autocar, chief Mirai engineer Yoshikazu Tanaka said the Mirai could “procreate” a family of vehicles.
What kind of vehicles? Tanaka would not specify, but a “well-informed” source Autocar cited “confirmed” under consideration are a station wagon, hatchback, minivan and SUV.
In other words, the beginnings of a Toyota FCV fleet as Honda and Hyundai, Daimler, and others make further moves toward hydrogen as well.
The lead engineer said Toyota has made great progress so far. A fuel cell in 2008, for example, weighed 238 pounds and produced 121 horsepower. Today the production version weighs 123 pounds and makes 153 horsepower.
Tanaka concede however the vehicles do not rely primarily on renewably sourced hydrogen, and there is not a cost-effective way yet to do it.
The goal is to get there, and Tanaka estimated 10-20 years from today for fuel cell vehicles to ramp up like hybrids did from the late 90s onward.