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.
The issue was not how to liberate hydrogen from renewables but how to do so affordably, he said.
Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below: