Toyota is breaking out the big guns to promote its new hydrogen-fueled vehicle, Mirai.
In its multi-part “Fueled by Everything” video series about how hydrogen fuel can be made from a wide variety of renewable sources, director Morgan Spurlock helmed the first episode, the cheekily-titled Fueled by Bullsh*t.
The first three-minute video in the automaker’s latest branded entertainment project—timed to interest in sustainability around Earth Day—features a dairy farmer and a mechanical engineer as they follow cow manure to its ultimate use. It’s a clever way of turning around critics who argue that vehicles such as the Mirai are B.S. by using that substance to make their case.
“This project gave us the opportunity to dive into a world that most people don’t understand but has the potential to change our world,” said Spurlock, best known for his documentary, Super Size Me, in which he chronicled the ill effects on his health of eating only McDonald’s food for a month. “I think this short film is pretty compelling evidence of what could be possible in the years ahead.”
Among those calling B.S. on hydrogen fuel is Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who has made fun of the efforts of Toyota, Honda, GM and other automakers investing considerable resources on developing hydrogen fuel cells as a green alternative fuel for the future. Musk has bet billions on all-electric vehicles, including the Tesla Model S luxury car, the upcoming Tesla Model X SUV and a mainstream-priced Tesla Model E, which is due out in a few years.
Arguably, Toyota is leading the fuel-cell camp by introducing Mirai and laying in place a heavy marketing and promotional campaign—especially in Japan—long before mass-market pricing and widespread fueling infrastructure are in place. Toyota also has been the most decisive automaker in essentially abandoning all-electric vehicle development efforts, despite the fact that its gasoline-electric hybrid brand, Prius, continues to lead that category.
“We’re putting hydrogen in the spotlight for its exciting potential as a renewable fuel source,” said Bob Carter, senior vice president of automotive operations for Toyota Motor Sales USA. “This is the beginning of the road for hydrogen, but we see the potential, and we’re making a long-term investment in the future.”
Mirai will go on sale in California later this year. To underscore the car’s promise for the future, Toyota announced that Mirai will pace a NASCAR race this weekend: The Toyota Owners 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Richmond International Raceway in Virginia.