Toyota Launches Fuel Cell Vehicle

January 27, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. hybrid /ˈhaɪ brɪd/ (n.) – created from two sources
ExampleHybrid cars use liquid fuel and electricity for power.

2. tank /tæŋk/ (n.) – a container used for gas or liquid
Example: The tank can store 150 liters of gasoline.

3. refill /riˈfɪl/ (v.) – to fill a container after it got emptied
Example: The water tank can be refilled in five minutes.

4. production /prəˈdʌk ʃən/ (n.) – the process of making or creating something
Example: Car production can take at least six months.

5. taxing /ˈtæk sɪŋ/ (adj.) – causing difficulty or challenge
Example: Driving an old car can be taxing.


Read the text below.
Toyota has released its own fuel cell vehicle called Mirai.

A fuel cell vehicle operates using electricity from hydrogen gas. The car only emits water vapor, which makes the vehicle more environment-friendly than gasoline-powered cars.  While Toyota has already launched eco-friendly hybrid gasoline-electric vehicles and rechargeable cars before, Mirai is the company’s first hydrogen-powered vehicle.

In January 2014, Toyota introduced Mirai in the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) at Las Vegas. Placed under the vehicle are two hydrogen tanks, which take only five minutes to be refilled. The vehicle travels up to 300 miles at about 40 to 70 kilometers per hour.  

Toyota started selling Mirai in Japan in December 2014 at a price of $57, 600. Mirai will be launched in the United States and Europe by mid-2015.  The carmaker targets to sell 400 Mirai cars in Japan and 300 in the international market. Toyota’s deputy chief engineer Yoshikazu Tanaka said the company expects 10 to 20 years before it can increase the production of Mirai.

Although fuel cell vehicles eliminate gasoline expenses, refilling the vehicle can be taxing for owners because of limited hydrogen-filling stations available. About 30 stations are available in Japan, while California currently has nine stations. With the support of local governments, Toyota plans to open refilling stations in other areas like New York and New Jersey. European countries such as Germany and Britain also have plans to open its hydrogen stations.

Other fuel cell cars include Honda Clarity, Audi A7, and Hyundai [YOON-dey] Tucson [TOO-son, too-SON].

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What can the hybrid cars, like Toyota Mirai, contribute to the environment?
·         Do you think more environment-friendly cars should be produced? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         Is air pollution a major problem in your country? Kindly discuss.
·         What are the laws in your country that aim to protect the environment?

January 27, 2015