Toyota Mirai Fuel-Cell Car's Ad Agency Should Study Engine Technology More Closely

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2016 Toyota Mirai: 'A car that breathes in air,' posted by Toyota, Feb 2015

2016 Toyota Mirai: 'A car that breathes in air,' posted by Toyota, Feb 2015

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Oh, Toyota ... really?

It's not bad enough that your Lexus brand put out two ads that inaccurately slammed plug-in electric and diesel vehicles, respectively.

Now your own agency has gone and made a foolish technical error in an ad meant to pave the way for your 2016 Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle.

DON'T MISS: 2016 Toyota Mirai: First Drive Of Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Sedan

The image was posted on Google Plus and elsewhere. It's simple enough: It has a photo of the 2016 Toyota Mirai, with nothing but the tagline, "A Car That Breathes In Air."

As noted on Jalopnik and quite a number of other outlets, there's just one little problem with this tagline.

Every car that uses an internal-combustion engine--which is to say more than 99 percent of the planet's 1-billion-plus vehicles--also "breathes in air."

Let's recap. An internal combustion engine works by compressing a mixture of a vaporized fuel (gasoline or diesel) mixed with air.

2016 Toyota Mirai construction at Motomachi plant

2016 Toyota Mirai construction at Motomachi plant

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A gasoline engine fires a spark into the compressed mixture to make it explode, exerting force on a piston that's translated into a rotary motion at the crankshaft that enables the engine to turn a driveshaft.

A diesel engine does the same thing, minus the spark plug, at higher compression ratios--so high that the air-fuel mixture self-ignites.

In other words, every vehicle with an engine "breathes in air" as a necessary part of running the engine.

It's why cars have grilles: That's where the air goes in (more or less, although modern wind-cheating aerodynamics have changed that somewhat).

2016 Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel-cell car, Newport Beach, CA, Nov 2014

2016 Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel-cell car, Newport Beach, CA, Nov 2014

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The problem is that this is the latest in a string of ads for hydrogen and hybrid vehicles from Toyota and Lexus that simply aren't accurate about technology.

Last May, Lexus put out a video ad that shows an image of a public charger ... accompanied by the words, "Reserved for someone with four hours to kill."

ALSO SEE: Lexus Ad Not Only Sneers At Plug-Ins, But Gets Charging Wrong (May 2014)

The problem was that the image in question was actually an Aerovironment DC fast-charging station, which typically takes just 20 to 30 minutes to recharge an electric car's battery pack to 80 percent of capacity. Oops.

Then in November, Lexus released another video ad, this one produced by Funny or Die.

Lexus CT 200h

Lexus CT 200h

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It humorously compared the road trips of a group of male friends driving from Van Nuys, California, to Las Vegas for a "dad-chelor party."

The group in the Lexus CT 200h hybrid did fine, while (surprise!) the group in the BMW i3 did not.

The ad misrepresented charging time for the BMW i3, and as alert readers pointed out, the BMW i3 used in the ad was actually the version fitted with the REx range-extending engine--so the entire premise of the ad was flawed.

That ad was subsequently pulled down from YouTube and has now essentially been erased from the record.

MORE: 2016 Toyota Mirai Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Car: A Few Things We Noticed

We won't even go into the Mirai ad that suggests anyone who doesn't accept that hydrogen is the fuel of the future is a "handbrake" on progress to benefit the planet.

It all seems to indicate that Toyota and its various ad agencies need more rigorous review of the technology claims they're making.

We know a group of editors at an online automotive publisher who would be more than happy to help.

Toyota: You know how to contact us.

[Hat tip: @CarCounsel]

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