Hey, everyone. Showtime's a half hour from now. I'm looking forward to this one. Whether this will be the star of the CES 2014, as some suggest – still too early to make that call. But Toyota has a very different sort of agenda on tap (we think). Instead of the autonomous car technologies that its rivals are touting this week, the company's going to offer a closer look at its latest Fuel Cell Vehicle concept car.
@ed: I think that's what they call the $64,000 question
@ed FWIW, I've been driving an electric for the last half year. It has certain drawbacks - range, obviously - but I'm loving it.
Hello all, Roger Cheng, executive editor for CNET News, seated at the press conference and ready to roll!
Truth be told, this is a quasi blast-from-the-past given that Toyota pulled the curtains back on the Fuel Cell Vehicle concept about a year ago at the Tokyo Motor Show. But if you’re a sucker for the idea of vehicles running on gasoline alternative, this promises to be a fun one to watch.
So we're in the Mandalay Bay's convention center, where Toyota has turned one of the ballrooms into a splashy showcase for its new Fuel Cell Vehicle concept.
At the front of the ballroom are two versions of the Toyota Fuel Cell Concept, the concept, and another car they are using the test out the fuel cell system.
A word of caution, I'm not as up to snuff when it comes to cars, so I'll be relying on the wisdom of Wayne Cunningham, the expert editor to my right.
Toyota brought this fuel cell concept to last year's Tokyo Motor Show, and I'm not entirely sure why they chose CES for the North American debut.
There are light blue spotlights rotating around, shining light upon everything from the cars to us. A little distracting.
It is a very advanced car, but it doesn't follow the connected and automated driving themes I'm seeing from other automakers here.
@wayne: That one's easy: Any publicity is good publicity. What with all the gadget freaks on hand, why not?
On stage we have the test mule for the fuel cell drive system, covered in camouflage. I think the test mule is just a Corolla, so not sure why it's under camo.
Sorry, the most insight I have to offer is the concept car looks kinda pretty.
As a Manhattanite, I don't get a lot of time behind the wheel.
This is one of the smaller ballrooms at the Mandalay Bay, but Toyota has managed to pack it pretty tightly.
Toyota seems to have been quietly working on this fuel cell tech for sometime, even as the focus of the auto industry has gone to battery electric vehicles.
This one should start up pretty soon.
Toyota has a URL up, www.toyota.com/fuelcell, to show off its efforts.
Toyota SVP of sales Bob Carter takes the stage.
He calls this convention center the center of the universe. Hmm...
Oh great, Carter wants to start out with a bad joke.
A duck walks into the bar at Mandalay Bay, he asks if the bartender if he has any grapes.
The bartender says no, the duck thanks him and leaves.
Same thing happens again.
When the duck returns, the bartender says if you ask me for grapes one more time, I'm going to nail your beak to the bar. The duck asks if the bartender has any nails. The bartender says no.
The duck asks again: Got any grapes?
That was an amusing joke, not sure about the relevance.
Okay, on to the serious stuff, the fuel cell stuff.
Assuming the joke summarizes the persistence required for fuel cell.
Carter is talking about Toyota's earlier triumph, the Prius