Toyota believes the future isn't only electric, and that there's space for hydrogen fuel cell-powered cars. Underscoring the commitment is news the Japanese automaker is hard at work on a second-generation fuel-cell vehicle.
Reuters first reported the development on Wednesday, following comments from Toyota Chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada at a ministerial meeting on hydrogen energy in Tokyo. The automaker confirmed with Roadshow that a second-generation Mirai is in development, but declined to include additional details.
Instead, Toyota said it would provide more information on the next Mirai at a later date. Notably, the automaker did not confirm Uchiyamada's time frame of launching the fuel-cell vehicle next year. The launch date could, perhaps, only apply to the Japanese market with a US rollout coming after the fact.
Toyota was first on the scene with a mass-market production fuel cell-powered car in 2014. Sales remain restricted to California and Hawaii and those interested can only apply if they work or live close enough to a refueling station. If you think electric-car charging infrastructure remains scattered, hydrogen refueling stations are even fewer and far between.
A couple dozen hydrogen stations exist in California, while a single station provides fuel for Mirai owners in Hawaii, according to Toyota's map. Even then, supply issues exist. Recently, California drivers have been left with few refueling options after an . Toyota, Honda and Hyundai, which each offer fuel-cell vehicles in the state, have acknowledged the short supply and offered replacement vehicles to customers.
Toyota told Roadshow it's still committed to launching the Mirai in other areas of the US, specifically the Northeast where it's building out a hydrogen refueling infrastructure.
Aside from the Mirai, Toyota has also expanded fuel-cell work into other sectors. It launched itsthat runs on multiple Mirai fuel-cell stacks and installed a at a production plant in Japan. Both projects underscore the automaker clearly believes there's room for the technology in a world more concerned with emissions and pollution.