Yoshikazu Tanaka, chief engineer for the Toyota Mirai, has indicated that he would like to see the firm’s hydrogen fuel cell-powered car “procreate” and spawn a family of fuel cell vehicles.
He gave a time frame of 10-20 years before fuel cell cars are as much a part of the automotive fabric as hybrids are today, putting them on a similar trajectory today as the Prius was at the end of the last century.
Tanaka would not be drawn on which configurations would lend themselves to fuel cell power, but a well-informed source confirmed that estate, hatchback, MPV and SUV variants could all be under consideration.
In the meantime, Tanaka said progress is now advancing so fast that a fuel cell that weighed 108kg in 2008 and produced 121bhp now weighs just 56kg yet yields 153bhp.
However, he admitted the problem of obtaining a genuinely clean source of hydrogen for all fuel cell cars was a long way from being solved. Although hydrogen infrastructures are now being assembled in Japan, Berlin, London and California, they burn fossil fuels in the extraction process.