In the Back to the Future film trilogy launched in 1985, Marty McFly traveled through time in a DeLorean powered by a lightning bolt.
Toyota has reunited Michael J. Fox, who played McFly in the series, and Christopher Lloyd, who played the eccentric scientist Emmett “Doc” Brown, as pitchmen for its fuel-cell sedan, the Mirai, which means “future” in Japanese.
The automaker’s nearly five-minute-long promotional video borrows a scene from the 1989 sequel where a panicked Doc swerved his DeLorean — used as a flying time-travel device — into the McFly family driveway and implored Marty to join him in the future.
Doc needed some fuel. He found it in a garbage can.
Lloyd said Toyota approached him and Fox three or four months ago to take part in the automaker’s “Fueled by Everything” series, which has showcased renewable techniques for generating hydrogen.
The Mirai’s environmental credentials have been questioned by critics and Tesla Motors Inc. founder Elon Musk, who has panned the technology.
While it’s true there are renewable sources of hydrogen including wind and solar power, the cheapest and most frequent method used today is to steam it out of natural gas or coal, which actually produces environmentally harmful carbon dioxide.
The Mirai itself uses an electric motor and generates no emissions, except for harmless water vapor. Toyota will begin U.S. sales on Oct. 21, 2015, the same day Doc and Marty travel to the future in the second installment of the Back to the Future trilogy.