Toyota admits that the hydrogen refueling infrastructure in the US pales in comparison to that of Japan. But the Japanese automaker says the US, and specifically California, will make big strides this year and next. This is important because Toyota is about to start selling the Mirai, its first production hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle, in California in October.
In fact, the Golden State has 48 hydrogen refueling stations in various stages of development, Forbes says, citing an interview with Toyota executive Craig Scott. While the current “handful” of stations in the state aren’t what Scott calls “Mirai friendly,” there will be as many as 15 suitable stations up and running by the end of the year and as many as 35 by the end of 2016. Almost all of the dozen or so hydrogen stations operating in the US are in California.
Right now, the US lags Japan in terms of hydrogen refueling infrastructure development because of a combination of lack of government funding and limited standardization when it comes to permitting. And even the stations that are already in place don’t always work. Last month, some Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell SUV owners started writing their complaints on Facebook about how most stations in California’s Orange County region either are out of commission or have limited hydrogen supply. This lack of reliability is said to have hampered Hyundai’s fuel-cell vehicle sales.
The Mirai will start at about $58,000 in California and will first be available at eight Toyota dealerships. Interested hydrogen drivers on the Northeast will start seeing Mirai sales next year. You can read more about Scott’s thoughts over at Forbes.