New Toyota Film Appropriates Musk 'BS' Comment On Hydrogen For Its Title


Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk once notoriously called hydrogen fuel-cell cars "bull****"," and for a moment, it may seem that Toyota agrees.

The Japanese carmaker recently hired filmmaker Morgan Spurlock to direct the first in a series of videos touting the benefits of renewable hydrogen for its upcoming Mirai fuel-cell sedan.

The video's title? "Fueled by Bull****."

SEE ALSO: Tesla CEO Elon Musk Calls Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Cars "Waste Of Time" (Oct 2013)

It's good to know Toyota has a sense of humor.

The 3-minute video shows how hydrogen can be harvested from cow manure, while allowing Toyota to take a jab at one of its most highly-publicized critics.

In the video, a pickup-truck bed full of manure is taken to a plant where biogas is collected. The gas in turn is sent through a steam methane reformer.

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

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

Enlarge Photo

Thanks to some movie magic, extracted hydrogen is ready to be pumped into the Mirai's tank in the blink of an eye.

Spurlock offers Toyota good anti-Establishment credentials, given the success of his 2004 film "Supersize Me," about what happened when he ate nothing but food from McDonald's for 30 days.

His film for the company is the first part of a new ad campaign for the Mirai, called "Fueled By Everything."

DON'T MISS: 2016 Toyota Mirai: First Drive Of Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Sedan (Dec 2014)

Additional videos will show other potential renewable sources of hydrogen.

Toyota hopes this will burnish the Mirai's green credentials. The company may also be trying to answer frequent questions concerning hydrogen supply and fueling infrastructure.

The well-to-wheels carbon footprint of hydrogen cars generally appears to be worse than that of battery-electric cars, assuming the same grid source for both alternatives.

2016 Toyota Mirai

2016 Toyota Mirai

Enlarge Photo

That's because while--as the film notes in its opening--"hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe; it's in almost everything--from water to trees to grass," it takes a large amount of energy to extract pure hydrogen from the other molecules in elements to which the atoms are tightly bound.

Emphasizing the potential for carbon-neutral feedstocks, and renewable sources to supply the energy required to produce the gas, could be very important in making the case for hydrogen as a clean and sustainable vehicle fuel.

Toyota plans to use its new campaign to highlight the abundance of potential sources for hydrogen feedstocks, and the overall cleanness of hydrogen--which today is sourced largely from natural gas in the U.S.

MORE: Low-Volume Assembly Line For Toyota Mirai Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Car

One fueling station in Southern California provides hydrogen whose feedstock is methane, from the landfill it's adjacent to.

Over the next decade, Toyota is likely to throw its considerable marketing muscle behind hybrids as the practical way to use less gasoline today, and then hydrogen-powered vehicles as the long-term, sustainable, and zero-emission solution for the rest of the century.

Meanwhile, readers can decide for themselves whether Spurlock's Toyota-funded film, and especially its title, represents clever, edgy marketing or carries a whiff of desperation.

In addition to the other smells it evokes, of course.

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