It's the biggest Mirai around.
The government in Tokyo, Japan, is embarking on an aggressive plan to put 6,000 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and have 35 hydrogen refueling station in the city in time for the Olympic games there in 2020. It's working with Toyota and Honda to hopefully make the goal a reality.
There's something bizarrely fascinating about Japanese car culture, especially around Tokyo. The metropolis packs people tightly together in a way that would seem to make owning any car tough. And yet, there's still enough enthusiasm around anything with an engine to support everything from wildly tuned bosozoku rides with exhaust pipes reaching toward the sky to seriously fast Porsche and Lamborghini models.
It's been two years since Toyota first revealed its Camatte show car at the Tokyo Toy Show. Though sadly never destined for production, Toyota brought the concept back the following year as the Camatte 57s roadster, and is now returning to the same show with yet another take on the kid-friendly, configurable 1+2 with interchangeable body panels - this time with a slew of features that are fresh not only to the concept itself, but to the industry altogether.
The Tokyo Auto Salon kicked off this weekend, filling the slot in the Japanese car scene that SEMA does in North America or Essen does in Germany with tuned and modified versions of domestic automobiles. Of course, Toyota wouldn't miss out on the opportunity to show just how far its JDM models can be taken, and to that end brought no fewer than 34 customized vehicles to the Makuhari Messe in Chiba City.
Fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) powered by hydrogen were taken more seriously at the LA Auto Show and Tokyo Motor Show last month than ever before, but their presence in the market is still shrouded in fog. Soichiro Okudaira, chief officer of research and development at Toyota, is confident fuel cell costs will come down enough to make FCEVs "just one alternative of the eco cars," but that probably won't happen for another 10-15 years.
Episode #359 of the Autoblog podcast is here, and this week, Dan Roth, Michael Harley and Jonathon Ramsey talk about the LA Auto Show, Tokyo Motor Show, and the release of the Car and Driver 10Best list. We start with what's in the garage and finish up with some of your questions, and for those of you who hung with us live on our UStream channel, thanks for taking the time. You can follow along after the jump with our Q&A. Thanks for listening!
We're set to record Autoblog Podcast #359 tonight, and we'll be joined by Michael Harley and Jonathon Ramsey to recap the Los Angeles Auto Show and Tokyo Motor Show. Check out the topics below, drop us your questions and comments via our Q&A module, and don't forget to subscribe to the Autoblog Podcast in iTunes if you haven't already done so. To take it all in live, tune in to our UStream (audio only) channel at 10:00 PM Eastern tonight.
To reiterate what Editor-in-Chief Neff said in our LA Auto Show wrap-up from earlier today, let's never do this whole two-major-shows-in-one-week thing ever again. Oh sure, we handled it, doing our whole obsessively kicking butt thing on a global scale. But here we are, Friday evening, and we're spent.
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