Popular Science Recognizes Toyota Mirai as 'Best of What's New' for 2014

Despite Toyota's track record on leading in the development of 'green' vehicle technology, some don't view it as an advance towards a sustainable transportation system.

Published: 14-Nov-2014

Popular Science (PopSci) has named the Toyota FCV fuel cell electric vehicle to its Best of What’s New (BOWN) list for 2014. The annual list has run for more than a quarter century. PopSci’s editor calls the list “an unabashed celebration of the year’s greatest innovations, a glimpse of the future as it’s unfolding.” Some of the automotive trends that the magazine saw before they even hit the US market include the Toyota Prius, the world’s most popular and impactful green car.” He goes on to say of PopSci’s BOWN “We’re painting a picture of a better world.”

How The Toyota FCV Came To Exist

Toyota’s FCV fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) will be launched in the US market in California late next year. This is appropriate since it is primarily designed to maximize the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) zero emissions vehicle (ZEV) mandates. CARB wants a percentage of the cars in its market to be “zero emissions” from their tailpipes. It has come up with a complex formula that includes hybrid cars, plug-in hybrids, extended range electric vehicles, battery electric vehicles, and fuel cell electric vehicles. One of the key ranking factors in the complex matrix that decides how much a given vehicle counts towards CARB's goals is range. The FCV nails that category. One seminar we attended this month on the subject indicated that a fuel cell vehicle with a range of over 300 miles might be worth three times more to an automaker in its efforts to meet CARB’s goals than an affordable battery electric vehicle (BEV). It is no surprise Toyota plans to go that route.


Illustration of Honda FCEV Concept.

As Honda, GM, Toyota and Hyundai announce plans to rollout hydrogen fuel cell cars, the real problem is the infrastructure to fuel them.

Honda hydrogen fuel cell stack.

Instead of using costly platinum, CellEra's fuel cell uses a solid polymer electrolyte, as well as an unspecified, low cost transition metal catalyst.

Hyundai fuel cell SUV will be first to go on sale in 2014.

Global carmakers appear to be polarizing around battery EV and fuel cell EV technologies with the China market increasingly in the middle of the debate.


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