Toyota's message to critics who, um, pooh-pooh fuel cells

Toyota's video was directed by filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, who directed and starred in the 2004 documentary Super Size Me.

Toyota has a message for critics who call bullsh*t on hydrogen fuel cells: You’re right -- in one sense.

Tongue planted firmly in cheek, Toyota launched a new campaign today showing how cow pies are a viable source of renewable energy.

The catch phrase: “We’re driving down the road, running on bullsh*t,” uttered by a dairy farmer as he wheeled the Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. It’s the first of Toyota’s multipart “Fueled by Everything” video series that looks to educate the public about the various renewable energy sources that hydrogen fuel can be created from.

The video, titled “Fueled by Bullsh*t,” points out that hydrogen fuel can also be produced using solar energy, wind and biogas from landfills. The only byproducts the Mirai leaves behind are heat and drainage water, which the automaker says is safer than milk.

Toyota doesn’t recommend drinking it, though.

“Fueled by Bullsh*t” opens on a dairy farm as the camera gets a nice shot of a cow unleashing a fresh batch of dung. Piles of the manure are then collected and processed into the hydrogen fuel that powers the Mirai later in the video.

The video, directed by filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, stars fuel cell engineer Scott Blanchet and the dairy farmer. Creative agency Droga5 is behind the campaign.

Spurlock directed and starred in the 2004 documentary Super Size Me, in which he gorged himself on McDonald’s food for 30 consecutive days. He would’ve been a good source of hydrogen fuel during that time.

“This project gave us the opportunity to dive into a world that most people don’t understand but has the potential to change our world,” Spurlock said in a statement. “Witnessing manure, something most of us view as being pretty disposable, being transformed into hydrogen fuel to power a car was pretty remarkable. I think this short film is pretty compelling evidence of what could be possible in the years ahead.”

Wonder what Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who once called fuel cells “fool cells,” thinks about Toyota’s jab?

You can reach Vince Bond Jr. at vbond@crain.com -- Follow Vince on Twitter: @VinceBond86

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