US: Toyota ready to start sales of its fuel cell car, even with cheap gas looming image
Toyota, the interim second largest automaker in the world will be offering its Mirai fuel cell breakthrough car to California green residents but the prospects are not overly favorable.
The tide is set but the situation is not as rosy as it was back in 1997 when the company introduced the iconic Prius hybrid, with the Mirai pitted against sliding gas prices, a lack of hydrogen fueling stations and media love for Tesla. And the California-based US automaker has been keen to slap on the wrist every time it could its green opponent, claiming the future is set for its battery-electric models only. On top of that, the youngest publicly traded US carmaker is also starting the first deliveries of its much-postponed Model X sport utility vehicle – with the segment growing tremendously in the country in recent months.
But most likely the main deterrent for those looking to access the future and have a Mirai in their garage will be the paltry access to the hydrogen refueling network – just a handful is now operational and the California Fuel Cell Partnership only promises access to around 40 stations as of the end of next year – with up to 100 to become functional by 2020. And Toyota is not the first to deliver a fuel cell car, with Honda selling just a few units of its FCX Clarity fuel cell cars between 2008 and the 2015 model year, which is the last one for the model. And Hyundai is also offering the fuel cell Tucson, with around 300 units sold so far.