Demand for the Toyota Mirai is higher than the company says it anticipated, but the wait to get one in Japan reportedly sits at over two years. With Toyota's slow pace of production, the early success might hurt the sedan's prospects in the long run.
After passing "a rigorous state performance evaluation," the hydrogen refueling station and research center at Cal State University Los Angeles has become the first station in Southern California allowed to sell hydrogen by the kilogram. Every other station that charges can only charge a fixed amount per tank, regardless of the amount dispensed.
There's a huge international infrastructure dedicated to putting gasoline and diesel fuel into our cars. A nationwide infrastructure for electric vehicles also exists, even if it could be beefed up a bit in some areas. But when it comes to hydrogen cars, the infrastructure hows and wheres and whats don't have complete answers yet. Sandia National Lab says maybe we should be looking underground.
The last semi-official number we had for pre-orders for the 2016 Toyota Mirai fuel cell vehicle was around 200. But demand is strong enough that Toyota is saying that it will spend 20 billion yen ($168 million US) to expand annual production capacity at the "secretive workshop" where the Mirai will be built from 700 in the first year (2015) to around 2,000 after that.
Toyota built 500 Lexus LFA supercars between 2010 and 2012 in what Automotive News has called a "secretive workshop." The automaker has been wondering what to do with that production line since the last LFA rolled off in December 2012 and, like so much else for Toyota these days, the answer is a hydrogen car – and in about the same small numbers.
The bad news, as we've previously reported, is that Honda's first production hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle won't debut until 2016, a bit later than expected. The good news is that the automaker may produce a device that will let that FCV's motor power up other devices as well. So it's a tradeoff of sorts.
If you think a plug-in diesel hybrid is an expensive proposition, just wait until you hear details about the just-revealed Audi A7 Sportback H-Tron Quattro. The "H" in H-Tron, as you might guess, stands for hydrogen, so say hello to a new concept that combines a plug-in battery system with a hydrogen fuel cell. Yeah, exactly.
Just like Hyundai did with its Tucson fuel cell, Toyota is offering free hydrogen fuel with the $57,500 Mirai H2 sedan. Toyota is being a bit vague about the details, saying simply that Mirai drivers will get, "complimentary hydrogen fuel for up to three years." Turns out, the reason that the hydrogen avant-garde will not be paying anything at the pump isn't because the automakers want to give them a boost or because the OEMs are kind. Instead, it's simply impossible to accurately charge people
It's starting to feel like the automotive landscape is right on the cusp of a boom in hydrogen-fueled vehicles. After all, the Toyota FCV is nearly ready, Volkswagen is readying a fuel cell concept for this week's Los Angeles Auto Show and Hyundai already sells its Tucson Fuel Cell. The next big name to add to that list might be BMW, as the company's co-development deal with Toyota starts to bear fruit.
The Toyota Mirai is coming to California next year and it will arrive bearing a $57,500 MSRP. Toyota says that with state and federal incentives worth a total of $13,000, interested customers will be able to buy a Mirai for under $45,000. If you're more into leasing, then you can get the Mirai for $499 a month for 36 months (with $3,649 due at signing). Both options come with free hydrogen fuel for "up to three years."
Instead of hosting the world debut of the production version of its hydrogen fuel cell sedan at the LA Auto Show this coming week, Honda decided to debut the vehicle in Japan today. And, it's not the production version that was shown off, it was an evolved concept. And, instead of coming in 2015, as previously stated, the car is now scheduled to drop in March 2016 in Japan, followed by releases in Europe and the US.