Toyota promises temporary hydrogen stations for CA dealers
Toyota is reportedly taking an active approach to the hydrogen infrastructure dilemma as the first Mirai sedans arrive in California.
Limited refueling infrastructure has persisted as a significant hurdle for any FCV launches in the US. The California Fuel Cell Partnership lists just four retail hydrogen refueling stations in the entire state. All appear to be currently operational, however fuel-cell owners earlier this year complained that some stations were down for weeks at a time or only capable of providing a partial fill.
Scant infrastructure appears to be holding back wider adoption, while low sales discourage energy companies from investing in refueling stations that may not receive many customers.
Toyota has promised to attack the problem head-on, arranging for temporary hydrogen refilling stations at eight dealers across the state, according to Bloomberg. Unfortunately, the mobile equipment is only capable of half filling a Mirai hydrogen tank. Owners would still need to travel to a permanent site for a full tank, which requires a higher pressure.
“Did we expect more stations to be available by the end of 2015? Absolutely,” said Toyota FCV marketing head Doug Coleman. “We felt like this was a sensible interim step to help supply hydrogen fuel to Mirai customers that are out there on the roads right now.”
Toyota may be nervously watching Hyundai’s Tucson Fuel Cell, which has only reached around 100 buyers in California after 18 months of availability. Toyota hopes to sell 200 Mirai sedans in the state before the end of the year.
Several automakers are said to be working with California authorities to help build 100 stations in the state by the end of the decade, however exact details of the collaboration remain unclear. In the meantime, FCVs will soon be met with increased competition from battery-powered EVs. Tesla’s Model 3 and the Chevrolet Bolt are both slated to arrive in the next two years, each carrying price tags in the mid-$30,000s bracket and already compatible with widespread charging networks.