One of the world’s biggest automakers leads the charge for a zero-emissions vehicle.
Tesla may have made electric motors cool, but Toyota made them ubiquitous. Toyota’s Prius sedans are not only the best selling gas-electric hybrid car globally, they also “normalized” a climate-friendly technology that gearheads once viewed with distrust. Toyota has now sold more than 10 million hybrids worldwide.
Now, the automaker is pushing the envelope again, with the first mass-produced fuel-cell vehicle, a zero-emissions car called the Mirai. There are only 39 hydrogen charging stations in the U.S.. But Toyota is helping spur infrastructure development for the Mirai, an effort that happily means helping along fuel-cell technology in general. It’s making its patents royalty-free until 2020 for researchers working on advancing the technology for other purposes. So far, 2,000 of the cars have sold globally, and the numbers are accelerating.
Up next: Toyota is developing solid-state batteries, an elusive holy grail that could radically improve range and safety for electric cars. Toyota says it has plans to commercialize the technology by the early 2020s. Fossil fuels have never looked so prehistoric.
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