By on March 23, 2017

Toyota Mirai Clean Billboard, [Image: Toyota North America]

Toyota is teaming up with Clear Channel Outdoor Americas to help clean California’s air with a billboard advertising its hydrogen-powered Mirai fuel cell sedan.

From April 3 to May 28, a total of 37 billboards in Los Angeles and San Francisco will filter smoggy air, thanks to the titanium dioxide-coated vinyl used in the sign.

While Toyota missed an opportunity to explicitly rub salt in a certain rival’s wounds, this is nonetheless a pleasant change of scenery in the automotive world, especially considering all of the Volkswagen emissions scandals of the past couple of years.

According to Toyota, the billboards will create nearly 25,000 square feet of pollution-purifying power and “reverse the equivalent of 5,285 vehicles worth of nitrogen dioxide emissions per month.” Nitrogen dioxide, you say? Hmm. What automaker just paid 20-plus billion dollars for belching out too much of that stuff?

“Toyota consistently searches for new environmental technologies across all operations,” said Mark Angelacos, Advanced Technology General Manager of Toyota North America, in a press release. “When Clear Channel Outdoor Americas brought us the opportunity, we saw it as a perfect match. This new campaign delivers Toyota Mirai’s ‘vehicle of change’ message on a medium that lives up to that promise.”

The billboards’ coating was developed by PURETi Group, LLC, and Clear Channel Outdoor Americas holds exclusive rights to the technology.

While Californians can breathe easier, Toyota can’t. There’s now a direct rival to the Mirai in the Golden State, offered to eco-conscious consumers by Toyota’s main Japanese rival, Honda.

[Image: Toyota North America]

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36 Comments on “Toyota Is De-Volkswagenifying the Air in California...”


  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    “Its only emission is water.”

    Depends on how the hydrogen is produced.
    .
    .

  • avatar
    deanst

    I assume the lights on the ad are powered by renewable energy sources?

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Now everybody will run out and buy a $57k Mirai which costs more to operate than most cars on the road, and lives on a 150-mile-radius leash from the sparse fuel pumps.

  • avatar
    RHD

    They could have just planted 37 trees, and cleaned the air for 100 years, but there’s no publicity value in that.

  • avatar

    Water vapor is a greenhouse gas.

    https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/monitoring-references/faq/greenhouse-gases.php?section=watervapor

  • avatar

    “From April 3 to May 28, a total of 37 billboards in Los Angeles and San Francisco will filter smoggy air, thanks to the titanium dioxide-coated vinyl used in the sign.”

    One wonders if anyone did a complete lifecycle environmental analysis that included the manufacture of the TiO2 and vinyl used in making the billboard.

    • 0 avatar

      TiO2 manufacturing is common. The process isn’t clean, but it’s far from dirty.

    • 0 avatar
      orenwolf

      These are *hilarious* comments to me.

      Yes, the *Billboard* is more important than the vehicle. Yes, the *Billboard’s* carbon footprint is more important than the combined footprint of all the vehicles being advertised.

      Oh, can’t drive your “green” car on the road because forests had to be cleared for that road, and the paints on it aren’t’ cruelty-free. Oh, and blacktop leads to local weather anomalies.

      *beautiful* way to distract and deflect from the message, though. Top points for the Wookie defence :)

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Ok so it is acceptable to be holier than thou to the rest of the proles but the moment the high priest or priestess of the Green Religion is caught using electricity generated by coal or paint which is produced in some third world sh!thole by eight year olds, its suddenly ok? These people are the metaphorical equivalent to throwing red paint on fur but when it is them violating their own edicts, suddenly there is some kind of acceptable rationalization? That dog won’t hunt sir.

        • 0 avatar
          orenwolf

          I’m not, in any way, commenting on the vehicle or it’s efficiency. But if you’re going to essentially, tell me a Company advertising renewable energy can’t advertise on television because the transmitters are coal-powered or most of the TVs are made in China? Sorry. That’s just moving the goalposts to further your own agenda.

          Critique the very real issues with the vehicle, or the technology, or the fuel source. You don’t need to manufacture controversy over the *materials* in the bloody *sign*. Christ.

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        It’s greenwashing. They’re not just advertising renewable energy, they’re implying that there is an environmental benefit to the sign itself.

        “According to Toyota, the billboards will create nearly 25,000 square feet of pollution-purifying power and “reverse the equivalent of 5,285 vehicles worth of nitrogen dioxide emissions per month.””

        Between the manufacture, marketing, installation, and maintenance, this sign represents nothing but resource consumption and visual pollution to me.

        Further, suggesting that hydrogen is anywhere close to being “renewable energy” at this point is absurd.

  • avatar
    whitworth

    95% of hydrogen is produced by fossil fuels with copious amount of electricity.

    But as long as only water comes out of the car, it must be super awesome and it needs to be subsidized by taxpayers.

    • 0 avatar

      News flash: pretty much every form of commoditized, consumable energy is subsidized in some fashion in America.

      • 0 avatar
        whitworth

        Newsflash: You’re wrong

        I didn’t get any sort of federal or state rebate on the last new car I purchase. I bet you do for this silly Hydrogen car.

        Also, last time I checked, I’m paying the subsidy everytime I fill up my gas tank. Gas taxes are FAR more than the profit margin the companies made on the fuel.

        Would someone filling up their car with hydrogen pay these same taxes? Nope.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          “I didn’t get any sort of federal or state rebate on the last new car I purchase.”

          Maybe you didn’t but the company that made your car may have. You also had a choice and could have bought a car with a subsidy.

          “Also, last time I checked, I’m paying the subsidy everytime I fill up my gas tank.”

          Again. that’s your choice. No one forced you to buy a gasser. Next time if you have to buy one, just look for one from a factory where the local government provided lots of tax breaks to get the plant.

          BTW, I paid for my EV with royalties I receive from oil and natural gas mineral rights that I own. So, even the profits from the gas itself may have gone to subsidize my EV.

          • 0 avatar
            whitworth

            What you classify as something getting a “subsidy” is not what any economist would call a government subsidy.

            That’s like saying a public school teacher buying beer with their paycheck is the government “subsidizing” beer companies.

            You’re just moving the goalposts so you can get keep the money flowing into your preferred pet projects.

            Hydrogen cars are a silly way for car companies to fleece the taxpayer.

            I have no problem if they want to make these, but do it without taxpayer funds.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            “Hydrogen cars are a silly way for car companies to fleece the taxpayer.”

            The Government is the one doing the fleecing. Always. Until Toyota starts employing their own goons, all they do is receive free gift, even if it is comprised of stolen money.

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        What energy source do you believe to be subsidizing the production and use of fossil fuels?

  • avatar
    Chan

    Toyota and Honda are basically begging you to fund their experiments, which honestly is not a bad deal.

    The H2 supply chain is nonexistent, let alone remotely competitive with the substantial existing EV battery business. Hydrogen is sourced via methods that cause significant pollution not unlike traditional power plants. Granted, EV batteries are nasty business as well.

    If you live near an H2 fuelling station, I don’t see why not. It’s a cheap lease with no fuelling costs unless you drive more than 20k miles a year.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    What happened to the pollution transforming radiator coating that was going to make the vehicles net reducers of mobile emissions?

  • avatar
    Acd

    For some reason I really want to drive my Passat TDI near a billboard and hold it in a lower gear.

  • avatar
    Cactuar

    It’s refreshing to see an ad that actually highlights the features on the car, instead of promising to fix your marriage and make you more attractive!

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Good, so we don’t have to scrap those TDIs now?

  • avatar
    andyinatl

    There’s now a direct rival to the Mirai in the Golden State, offered to eco-conscious consumers by Toyota’s main Japanese rival, Honda.

    The above is incorrect. Not to pick nits, but Honda had FCX Clarity in California for many many years available for public lease, so Toyota finally caught on. And while i love the idea, but why, oh why do both of these have to be so ugly? Why not make them look like normal cars so regular people could buy them. The new Prius is so ugly that while i love the fuel economy, i can’t imagine being seen in anything that hideous. Ioniq can’t start selling fast enough…

    • 0 avatar
      OldManPants

      “The new Prius is so ugly that..”

      I love it and I’m old so I must have previously dormant Cool Genes that just activated.

    • 0 avatar

      Part of the reason people buy hybrids and electric cars is because they want other people to know that they drive a hybrid or electric car. Thus the success of the later Prius and Tesla and the lack of success of the Civic Hybrid and the original Prius, which didn’t signal anything.

  • avatar
    shaker

    I still think that Big Oil is involved in this somehow, because the resulting H2 distribution model (and the fact that it’s more eco-nomical [the only “eco” that Big Oil cares about]) fits right into their “you’ll come crawling to us for your freedom” position of ownership.

    Plugs in people’s garages are a nightmare for Big Oil. Solar panels make them cry in their sleep – let’s keep it up.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      It’s not like oil companies rely on cars to stay in business, 90% of the crap in Walmart is made with oil by/products or using machines that require oil to stay lubricated. Even EVs use quite a bit of oil in the manufacturing process.

      But yes H2 production still makes Hydrogen cars sound ridiculous. If you happen to want to get tinfoilly about it, one of GMs first Hydrogen powered vehicle was the H2H.

    • 0 avatar
      aajax

      Those plugs in people’s garages are largely fed by oil and gas-fired generators. Solar and wind are a drop in the bucket.

      • 0 avatar
        shaker

        Well, all energy comes from the sun, too. But some forms cause much more pollution and human misery (while a few profit from their extraction) than others.

        So, I propose that we start moving towards the cleaner stuff.

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