We followed story of Toyota Mirai for quite some time. It is incredible machine, combining efficiency of electric car with convenience of a conventional fossil fuel burning car. However, criticisms for Mirai have been many, because there are questions about it being green and some people in the industry do not see a point of a hydrogen car instead of a simpler electric car. Now Toyota decided to reply to such criticisms with a creative video series.
Hydrogen is literally everywhere. And Toyota decided to demonstrate it extracting it from… manure. The technology behind it existed long before Mirai became real. Manure and other biologically degradable materials are composted in digester, where waste is broken down and raw biogas is released. Gas is purified and taken to steam methane steam methane reformer. Using steam and heat hydrogen is extracted and then it can be used to power vehicles such as Mirai.
Creative Toyota’s response to the critics – yes, fuel for the car can be extracted from manure as well.
Will it be enough to answer to the skeptics? Probably not. Steam methane reforming is a rather complicated process. It requires a lot of heat and steam, which means it requires energy. The exact same energy that could be used to power electric cars directly. However, the goal of this campaign is to show that there are many ways to produce hydrogen. And convenience together with emission free traveling it provides encourages looking for new ways to extract and store hydrogen. Therefore, fuel cells should not be overlooked.
Toyota is also trying to raise popularity of Mirai. This car will become the first hydrogen car to pace the Toyota Owners 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. Race will take place at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday night, April 25. Toyota says it is not only a historical moment for both Toyota and NASCAR, but it will also be an opportunity to showcase company’s innovation and environmental leadership.
Toyota Mirai is a fuel cell car that has four doors, only takes about five minutes to fill up and can travel up to 300 miles (approximately 483 km) on a full tank. Essentially it is a car designed to be used every day. However, even though pacing the race does not require tremendous amount of performance, Mirai had to be tested and it met NASCAR’s performance requirements to pace the 400-mile race.
Mirai will not be the first green Toyota’s car to pace NASCAR race. In 2009 Toyota Camry Hybrid became the first hybrid vehicle to pace a full NASCAR race. Toyota is very proud of its achievements in developing green technologies to make future of personal transportation as green and as convenient as possible. However, there are always critics of these technologies, because they still are rather expensive and heavy.
Company is convinced that hydrogen cars have their place in future of motoring alongside electric cars, but we will have to wait and see how they will form the image of the roads of the future. Toyota Mirai will arrive first to buyers in California later this year, because this state has best infrastructure and people are largely interested in green cars.