Toyota has released a 3-minute advertisement under its "Fueled by Everything" campaign that looks to increase awareness on the company's Mirai, which is powered by hydrogen fuel cells.
The campaign is also partly to address the low opinions on the technology publicized by electric vehicle visionary and Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk, who called the hydrogen fuel cells as "so bullsh*t" back in 2013. Musk also refers to fuel cells as "fool cells."
Toyota will be releasing the Mirai later this year, after the company revealed the hydrogen-powered sedan late last year. However, after Musk's comments on the technology, Toyota is facing not only the challenge of introducing the unfamiliar hydrogen car to the public, but also the challenge of overcoming the negative perceptions on the technology due to Musk's comments.
Toyota's response to Musk's comments is a 3-minute advertisement entitled "Fueled by Bullsh*t," with Morgan Spurlock as the director.
In the advertisement, Scott Blanchet, a fuel cell engineer, introduces the concept of hydrogen fuel cells before heading for a dairy farm. There, a farmer gives access to piles of cow dung, which the engineer collects.
The process of extracting hydrogen is started, as the biogas generated from the cow dung is processed to acquire the gas. The acquired hydrogen is then used as fuel for a Mirai, which the engineer and farmer used to drive their way back to the farm.
A cheeky execution for sure, but it makes fun of a famous criticism against the technology which has contributed to the negative public perception on hydrogen fuel cells.
"Witnessing manure, something most of us view as being pretty disposable, being transformed into hydrogen fuel to power a car was pretty remarkable. I think this short film is pretty compelling evidence of what could be possible in the years ahead," said Spurlock.
Criticism against hydrogen fuel cells claim that it is too costly to create the required hydrogen for such technology. However, compared to electric cars, hydrogen fuel cell cars can be quickly refueled with good range similar to gas-powered cars. In addition, hydrogen fuel cells generate electricity with the only by-product being water.
Toyota used to be a partner of Tesla Motors in developing electric vehicles. However, the company has recently shifted strategies to focus more on fuel cell electric vehicles, with Toyota now ready to launch the Mirai.