This first major bifurcation separates the mavens of hydrogen power from those favoring electric vehicles. The former includes, in addition to Toyota, Honda, Hyundai and General Motors. The latter, which, at the moment remain very slow sellers, is dominated by Tesla.
The second big divide pits industry CEOs and others who remain hesitant to bet fully on a comeback for hydrocarbon fuel against those who are embracing the current plunge in oil and gasoline prices as a new opportunity for renaissance—albeit with much higher fuel economy—of the traditional internal-combustion engine.
Toyota’s strategy, announced at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November, is the industry’s most decisive plan for the future of alternative powertrains.
Toyota executives elaborated on the company’s deepening investments in fuel-cell vehicles after announcing that the company would begin selling a model next year called “Mirai”—Japanese for “future”—that will travel 300 miles on a hydrogen tank and can be refilled in less than five minutes. The car, Toyota has said previously, will go on sale in Japan in April for about $60,000 and be introduced in the U.S. and Europe a few months later.