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Toyota Motor Corp. launched on Wednesday its second-generation Mirai hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, touting its improved fuel efficiency and longer range compared to the original model, the world’s first mass-produced FCV. The five-seater has three tanks to hold hydrogen fuel used to generate power for its electric motor, giving it up to 850 km of range — roughly 30% more than the first-generation, four-seater model that can travel 650 km on its two tanks.

While FCVs still face a number of hurdles, there is growing momentum for a less emissions-intensive Japan in the wake of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s recent carbon neutrality pledge. In fact, Toyota and three major convenience store operators — Seven-Eleven Japan Co., FamilyMart Co. and Lawson Inc. — said Tuesday they will carry out trials of fuel-cell electric delivery trucks next year, Kyodo reports

Toyota Motor Corp. is stepping up its promotion of fuel cell vehicles with Wednesday's launch of the new Mirai, boosting its output capacity to around 30,000 units a year. | KYODO
Toyota Motor Corp. is stepping up its promotion of fuel cell vehicles with Wednesday’s launch of the new Mirai, boosting its output capacity to around 30,000 units a year. | KYODO

Hybrid cars, meanwhile, are seeing a quiet resurgence as the boom in electric vehicles (EVs) spurs automakers to give the older, cheaper technology a second look, Bloomberg reports. With the EV market becoming increasingly crowded (there are expected to be more than 500 EV models available globally by 2022), Ford Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. are among those releasing fresh hybrid versions of their flagship models and investing anew in their hybrid component supply chains abode fresh demand. The reason for the resurgence? Hybrids offer savings at the pump, while not sparking the same range anxiety as EVs.

Japan is also facing its own trials and tribulations with EVs as the country’s high reliance on fossil fuels in electricity generation blunts the impact of the rollout of electric vehicles in cutting the its carbon emissions, experts tell Kyodo. Despite Suga’s carbon neutral pledge, over 75% of Japan’s electricity is still generated by coal, liquefied natural gas and oil.

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