The dream of anyone in any industry is to have the opportunity to benefit from the best in the business when it comes to whatever the expertise is. For athletes they want to be trained by those who’ve been where they want to go, scientists desire to learn from the brightest minds in the world, artists marvel at the idea of learning from some of the most creative minds, musicians can’t get enough of the most accomplished groups and aspiring chefs want to spend time in the kitchen with those who’ve been recognized as the top chefs on the planet.
In the automotive industry there are a number of names you can choose as the best to learn from. Some would say Ferrari to build sports cars, others might choose Ford for their trucks and some may even look to Rolls-Royce for the pinnacle of luxury excellence. In the name of hydrogen fuel-cell and hybrid technology that choice would have to be Toyota. This company isn’t only the best for this technology, but they are the largest manufacturer of vehicles on the planet to give their absolute expertise to those who want to learn from them.
In order to share their knowledge base with a group of minds that could be part of the Toyota team in the future, but certainly are part of the future, Toyota is partnering with several California high school students to show them how to take the hydrogen fuel-cell technology and put it into remote control race cars. Anyone who’s ever dreamed of racing a remote control racer around the track in their back field would jump at the chance to work with a company like Toyota on a project of this magnitude and these students are reveling in the opportunity they’ve been given.
This new initiative is called the Hydrogen Horizon Automotive Challenge and gives ten students from Los Angeles County and ten from Orange County the ability to enjoy learning how to build these race cars that will be powered by hydrogen fuel-cells. This is part of the Horizon Educational Group’s goal to teach renewable-energy technologies to students in a way the can use so they can learn how to apply solar power, wind power, hybrid tech and fuel cells in applicable forms. With Toyota showing the way, these twenty students are part of the STEM fields that are desired among nearly every automaker and in a wide variety of industries around the world.
Not only is Toyota teaching and sponsoring this program, but they’re creating more exposure for their hydrogen fuel-cell car, the Mirai which is the first mass produced model from Toyota. The Mirai is able to offer owners a 300 mile range and is currently being sold in eight dealerships in California with a goal to expand to several more dealerships as this car becomes more popular on the US market. So far, since sales began last November, the dealers have sold 270 of the Mirai models, which seem to be a great starting point.
Not only is the goal of Toyota to help mold some of the minds of these students and give them an chance to compete while showing off their Mirai, they are currently working on a smaller and less expensive version of the car that may be ready to showcase as early as the 2020 Summer Olympics which will be held in Tokyo. The current price of the Mirai is around $65,000 and the new model is expected to be able to cut that price down to $53,000 to give a price break to those who want to drive a hydrogen-powered vehicle.
As for the students in this Hydrogen Horizon Automobile Challenge, they are preparing for their first race which will take place next March. Certainly none of their vehicles will cost nearly as much as the Mirai, but parents who are involved with their children during this project might consider purchasing a new Mirai of their own once they see what the students have created. It will be interesting to see how this competition unfolds in March as these twenty wonderful young minds bring their creations to the track to compete against one another, with everyone being the winner for having learned more about this technology.