Toyota begins marketing its fuel cell vehicle ahead of 2015 launch
Japanese automaker Toyota has begun heavily promoting its new hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, called the Mirai. The vehicle was unveiled in November of this year, and has since generate a significant amount of hype among environmentally conscious consumers. Toyota plans to release the vehicle to the commercial market in 2015, but will have a great deal of marketing to do if the automaker wishes to find any significant success with its new vehicle.
Mirai is able to produce clean water because of its fuel cell system
The Mirai is powered by a hydrogen fuel cell. This energy system consumers hydrogen to produce electricity through a chemical reaction. The only byproduct of this process is water vapor and oxygen. Among the benefits that Toyota associates with the Mirai is the fact that the water coming from the vehicle’s exhaust pipe is clean enough to drink. Toyota engineers have tested the health impact of drinking the water produced by the vehicle and have found that this water has fewer impurities than common milk.
Toyota advises against drinking water produced by the vehicle
Though the water produced by the Mirai is pure, Toyota does not advice actually drinking it. The water is generated by bonding hydrogen from within the fuel cell system with oxygen available nearby, which could introduce impurities as it is exposed to the environment beyond the fuel cell. Harmful organisms, such as E.coli, could be introduced to the water through this process, making it unsafe to drink. In an emergency situation, however, this water could be boiled to remove impurities.
A better infrastructure and lower price tag may be more attractive to consumers than drinking water
The Mirai’s ability to produce water may not be a selling point for most consumers. Currently, many potential buyers of the Mirai are concerned with the lack of a working fuel infrastructure that can support this vehicle and others like it. They are also somewhat concerned about the overall cost of the vehicle, especially in the United States, where tax incentives meant to promote the adoption of fuel cell vehicles are set to expire at the end of the year.