Katsuhiko Hirose’s cheerful eyes are sparkling. The 59-year-old is Toyota’s chief fuel-cell developer. He is now being asked why the world’s largest automobile maker does not have a single electric vehicle with a battery in its lineup.
“With battery cars, you are always dependent on cables,” Mr. Hirose, a physicist, said at a presentation in Hamburg. Ranges are too small, and there are no significant breakthroughs in battery technology in sight that would make electric cars suitable for everyday use.
This is why, when it comes to non-polluting engines, Toyota decided to focus on the Mirai (the Japanese word for “future”), a four-seat sedan with a fuel cell under its hood. It uses hydrogen and oxygen to generate electricity to run its electric engine, and nothing but heat and water vapor come out of the exhaust.