Business Essentials for Professionals


Toyota Bets Strongly On Its Hydrogen-Powered Cars

Toyota Bets Strongly On Its Hydrogen-Powered Cars
While many of the largest auto companies of the world are engaged in a race to develop and roll out plug-in electric vehicles partly as a reaction to the demands of climate change, Japanese auto major Toyota is putting its bet by completely backing an alternative source of power for its cars.
Toyota stressed on the importance of the use of fuel cells in its cars which, the Japanese company said, will help to ensure that the company remains relevant in the future in an industry that is increasingly coming under pressure to reduce carbon emission from its vehicles. The comments were made by Toyota at the unveiling of a new version of its hydrogen-powered vehicle.
The Japanese auto maker is depending on the Mirai, its hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric car, for securing its place in the alternative fuel vehicle market. Through this new version, the company said it is offering a redesigned version that would "significantly greater range, improved driving performance, and an elegant, sporty design that offers increased passenger room and comfort."
This new hydrogen-powered sedan is built on the same platform as Toyota's luxury Lexus brand's LS sedan and LC coupe.
The technology that drives this car comprises of the combining of compressed hydrogen gas with oxygen from the atmosphere in a fuel cell which generates electricity that is then stored in a battery. Water is the only byproduct of this process which means that no harmful emissions are expelled. 
Despite also continuing to invest in electric powered vehicles, Toyota has been professing and believes in the future of hydrogen power run vehicles. The company brought forward by five years its target of ensuring about half of its total car sale is accounted for by electrified vehicles.
However, in the race for dominance in the area of electric vehicle production, Toyota still lags behind other companies such as the market leader Tesla and its global rival Volkswagen. According to LMC Automotive, last year, only 1000 electric cars were sold by Toyota while Tesla shipped 220,000 electric cars in the same period.
A revamped fuel cell stack that allows a car owner to store more hydrogen is one of the major features of the latest Mirai. That translates in a 30 per cent increase in the distance traveled by the car compared to its earlier versions which had a range of 312 miles (502 km) on a full battery. The company however did not disclose the time that would be needed to charge the new Mirai. The previous version took 3-5 minutes for a complete recharging.
The company plans to initially launch the car in Japan by the end of 2020 along with in North America and Europe.  The company will release completed details of its performance at a later date.
Toyota has sold about 10,000 Mirai cars globally since its launch in 2014.

Christopher J. Mitchell

Markets | Companies | M&A | Innovation | People | Management | Lifestyle | World | Misc