During October 2015, the Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell car will arrive at Toyota dealerships in California. Dealers announced today include San Francisco Toyota, Roseville Toyota, Stevens Creek Toyota or Toyota of Sunnyvale in northern California. Down south, Longo Toyota, Toyota Santa Monica, Toyota of Orange and Tustin Toyota will have the advanced technology sedan.
Toyota said that these initial dealers were selected based on vehicle sales and proximity to hydrogen infrastructure. Mirai U.S. sales volume is planned for approximately 3,000 units through 2017. State and federal subsidies will total $12,500 when the Toyota Mirai fuel cell vehicle goes on sale.
Beginning this summer, California customers can request a Mirai at www.toyota.com/mirai. Production of the Mirai is limited and vehicles will be placed with “eligible” people. All Mirais will be sold and delivered through the authorized Mirai dealer of the customer’s choice.
During the first month since the Mirai launch in Japan on 15 December 2014, 1500 orders were received for the fuel cell sedan that lists for ¥7.24 million, or ~$63,000. Japanese governments subsidize Mirai by about ¥3 million.
The Toyota strategy here is to repeat the Prius hybrid success – more than 5 million sold globally since the late 1990s – whose sales were initially and to this day subsidized in Japan and the U.S.
“Fuel cell vehicles are seen as the long term future for the auto industry but cost of development is prohibitively expensive and seen as only surviving the short term with subsidies,” said Art Wheaton, automotive expert and senior lecturer at Cornell University’s ILR School.
Last December, Toyota announced plans to sell approximately 400 Mirai models in Japan by the end of 2015. Due to the large volume of orders received, Toyota now forecasts a significantly longer time to delivery than originally expected.
About 60% of the orders are from government offices and corporate fleets, and 40% from individual consumers. Orders are mostly from Tokyo, Kanagawa Prefecture, Aichi Prefecture and Fukuoka Prefecture.
The Mirai’s motor is powered by electricity generated through a chemical reaction between airborne oxygen and hydrogen within an onboard fuel cell. Many industry experts predict that the fuel cell is the way ultimately to end the greenhouse gas emissions problem of fossil-fueled vehicles. There is a nagging question though about how the hydrogen is generated.