Doc Brown, Marty McFly Lend Hand to Toyota’s Hydrogen Fuel Cell Push in New Mirai Teasers

According to the 1989 hit movie Back to the Future II and its late-80s portrayal of what 2015 should be like, we’re at a point in history where our shoes should lace themselves, pizza comes in tiny packets that need to be rehydrated, hoverboards exist and of course, our cars can be powered via household trash courtesy of the Mr. Fusion Home Energy Reactor.

Marty and the Doc are back -- but this time they seem interested in the Toyota Mirai

Marty and the Doc are back — but this time they seem interested in the Toyota Mirai

Moreover, next Wednesday is officially Back to the Future Day — the exact date (Wednesday, October 21, 2015) that Marty McFly and Doc Brown head to in an attempt to stop Marty’s future son from making a horrible mistake that will ruin the family forever.

And while a large number of brands which featured in the original movie — including Pepsi and Nike — are preparing to offer their own recreations of products envisaged in the movie trilogy, there’s a lot of technology which just hasn’t materialized in the real world, including of course the Time Machine itself.

But no problem for Toyota, which has hired actors Michael J Fox (Marty McFly) and Christopher Lloyd (Doc Brown) to appear in a series of BTTF-themed videos previewing the official launch date of the Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell sedan on October 21, 2015.

The first video, entitled “Toyota Takes You ‘Back to the Future'” involves Fox and Lloyd sitting together in a diner reminiscing about the film and some of the technology used in it. Happy that fingerprint scanner technology and 3D movies are now with us (although a lot better quality than Jaws 19 we’d like to add) the two veteran actors talk about the technology which hasn’t quite made it to market — like the aforementioned self-lacing trainers.

The second, the opening of the first BTTF film, carefully cuts original video with a radio ad from local fictional Toyota dealership Statler Toyota promising a special event on October 21 at which it will unveil the future of car.

The third, released a few moments ago, follows along a similar vein but this time follows a fictional TV advert promising the same event and encouraging viewers to “Call Now” on 1-877-STATLER.

“Trust us when we say your jaw will drop on October 21st. That’s the day Toyota turns the future into reality,” Toyota promises in its social media campaign.

“Over the years we’ve had a lot of fun predicting which Back to the Future fictional 2015 technology would arrive by the real year,” joked Michael J. Fox in an official press release accompanying the reslease of the videos. “Now that we’re a week away, I think fans are going to have a good time with what Toyota sees as a true possibility for transportation. it’s actually really cool.”

Wednesday, 21 October 2015 is Back to the Future Day -- and launch day for the U.S.-market Toyota Mirai Hydrogen Fuel Cell Sedan.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015 is Back to the Future Day — and launch day for the U.S.-market Toyota Mirai Hydrogen Fuel Cell Sedan.

The technology being referenced is of course Toyota’s 2016 Mirai hydrogen fuel cell sedan. Built in limited numbers by hand at Toyota’s former LFA works in Toyota City, Japan, the $57,500 sedan will however remain a rare sight, as just 3,000 cars have been set aside for the U.S. market between now and the end of 2017.

Unlike Doc Brown’s flying Delorean, the Toyota Mirai can’t generate its own fuel through fusion of garbage, requiring it to be filled up at a purpose-built hydrogen fuelling station. Given the limited availability of hydrogen infrastructure in the U.S., the Mirai will initially only be available from six specialist Toyota dealerships in California.

The Mirai also can’t fly. Or travel through time, although we should note that it can use hydrogen generated by reforming methane produced through trash decomposition as a fuel. Sadly, that’s only possible if the reforming is done away from the vehicle, which makes it far less cool than Mr Fusion.

Watch out for future videos in the coming days as Toyota gears up for the official Mirai launch, and let us know if you see a flying Delorean anywhere in your neighborhood.


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  • So Toyota’s “future” is 4×4 vehicles, not vehicles with dual-motor drive.

    Wonder if that 4×4 truck will be powered by future-proof source of energy? 😉

  • Joe Viocoe

    “No no no… this sucker’s electrical. But I need a nuclear reaction to generate the 1.2 Jiggawatts of electricity”.
    But then the Mr. Fusion retrofit seemed to work on trash.

    • bitflung

      1. it is spelled “gigawatt”:

      2. the nuclear reaction quoted was for nuclear FISSION (like our nuclear power plants today); Mr. Fusion would, obviously, operate using FUSION. Fusion is much more efficient (though we haven’t mastered it in reality just yet). It is not yet known whether using trash as a fuel for a fusion reaction would be feasible, but confusing fission and fusion has led you astray here.

      as for the hoverboard “hoax”, Lloydwas just another actor hired by Funny Or Die. did people REALLY fall for that? seriously? i thought everyone was just playing along with the gag from the start – like when google makes ridiculous claims around april fools day, etc.

      • Joe Viocoe

        1. I know what a gigawatt is… I was noting how the pronunciation in the movie differs.

        2. I’ve studied enough nuclear engineering and physics to know the difference. Which is why I said “but then”. I was more focused on the fact that the Flux Capacitor was always electric.

        And yes, people did fall for it as the video got syndicated by other sites.
        Lloyd had to make an apology video.

  • Joe Viocoe

    Lloyd upset a lot of gullible people with his participation in the “hoverboard” hoax. Looks like the old trickster is at it again with fuel cells.

  • Chris O

    I propose that Fox and LLoyd make up for this mistake with the following video:

    (Driving along together in a Model X they spot a hydrogen station, the sign says $13/kg)

    Fox: “Whoa”
    LLoyd: “$13 a kilogram? Great Scott!”

    (The car disappears into the sunset, pay off text appears):

    “Tesla owners fill up for free at Tesla’s Supercharger™ network”.

    • Paying ahead vs paying over time is a valid comparison. Especially if time/range constraints happen. Storing hydrogen in places with less sunlight or needing faster recharges is a valid option.

      • Chris O

        Sorry, some nuance was lost trying to keep the brilliant dialogues succinct so people don’t lose interest;)

        With HFCVs one would be paying both ahead and over time if they were sold at commercial prices rather than subsidized prices as they would actually cost more than current long range BEVs and *a lot* more than the $35k/200 mile wave of EVs that will start reaching the market in the next 2 years.

        Over a longer period BEVs are actually a huge timesaver when it comes to filling up as plugging in at home takes only 1 minute vs up to 10 minutes fill up time+ detour time to fill up a HFCV if you could find an H station and it happens to be in working order and you’re the first in line. HFCVs may safe some time long range but at very high cost to the owner and time gains compared to quick charging are limited if people take the breaks they are supposed to take anyway to keep things safe.

        Grid storage is the economical solution for the intermittency problem of some renewable energy sources that the market is actually investing in.