The breakthrough battery has apparently arrived in the form of the Toyota Mirai.
At the 2015 J.D. Power Automotive Summit in San Francisco, California, Bob Carter, Senior Vice President - Automotive Operations at Toyota U.S.A., pitched the fuel cell Mirai as an electric car with the ability to produce its own electricity.
"Since we launched Mirai, I’ve been asked by members of the media why we chose fuel cell technology over electric vehicles. In reality, Mirai IS an electric vehicle. But the electricity is produced onboard… versus off the grid."
"Mirai is an electric-drive... midsize four-door sedan that operates like a normal car. Its front wheels are driven by an electric motor… and the electricity that powers that motor is made onboard… on-demand… by combining hydrogen gas with oxygen... producing zero emissions... other than water vapor."
"And unlike other electric cars with limited range and long recharge times… Mirai can be re-fueled in three to five minutes and travel about 300 miles on a single fill-up."
But it's this statement that stuck with us:
"In other words… the Toyota Fuel Cell System in the new Mirai… is simply… a better battery."
So, the battery breakthrough is here (sarcasm intended) in the form of a fuel cell system that cost upwards of $50,000 and can only be "recharged" at ~12 sites in the whole of the U.S.
Those Hydrogen Tanks Are Part Of The "Better Battery" Too
Here's the rest of Carter's speech containing comments on Mirai:
And Toyota is playing a leading role in bringing together automakers, energy companies, government agencies and others to help build the required refueling infrastructure.
By the end of 2016, 48 refueling stations are scheduled to be opened throughout California… and we’ve announced plans to develop refueling infrastructure throughout the Northeast... starting with 12 stations in five states.
In addition, we’re very happy that consumer interest in Mirai is exceeding our projections. In Japan, we received 15-Hundred orders for Mirai in the first month… nearly four times our initial annual target. And here in the U.S., we’ve already had 16-Thousand handraisers tell us they want a Mirai in their own driveway.
Toyota is investing in Mirai for the long-term. That includes sharing our fuel cell knowledge… by offering royalty-free licenses to more than 56-Hundred fuel cell-related patents we hold globally. The licenses will be available to automakers and energy companies on mutually agreeable terms.
We hope sharing these patents will spur more widespread use of fuel cell vehicles, which will expand hydrogen station infrastructure… bringing us closer to achieving our vision of a future hydrogen society… and helping us to improve lives for generations to come.