Toyota Raffles Off One Fuel Cell Sedan in $100 Ticket Sweepstake

When Toyota’s first mass-produced hydrogen fuel cell sedan — likely to be called the Toyota Mirai — goes on sale in Japan next spring, it will do so with a sticker price of ¥7 million ($68,703). While the Japanese government has committed to reducing that price to reducing that price by up to ¥3 million through a generous incentive program, it’s unlikely buyers in California and parts of Europe — where the fuel cell sedan will go on sale next summer — will get such a good deal.

You could win this... if you happen to live in California and buy a $100 ticket.

You could win this… if you happen to live in California and buy a $100 ticket.

Unless that is, you’re the lucky winner of a new lottery launched last week in the U.S. in which the prize is a the $68,703 Toyota fuel cell car.

Launched on October 8 in a joint collaboration between Toyota and the Environmental Media Association (EMA), residents of California can purchase one of 996 lottery tickets on the Bidding For Good website for a chance to win the limited-production fuel cell car. A non-profit focused on ‘harnessing the power of celebrity and the media to promote sustainable lifestyles,’ the EMA says any proceeds from the auction will go to furthering its programs.

At $100 per ticket, or $500 for six, the sweepstakes isn’t exactly cheap, but it’s certainly a lot cheaper than spending the estimated $68,703 on the hydrogen fuel cell vehicle when it goes on the market late next year. But with limited refuelling infrastructure in California and none else-where — something Toyota is willing to admit —  the winner will need to be content with driving their prize in and around the key market areas where Toyota plans to sell its FCV, namely San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego.

And with fill ups only lasting 300 miles, you’ll also need to live within easy reach of a filling station. While Toyota says the majority of its FCV drivers will live within a short drive of a hydrogen refuelling station, you’ll also have to factor in the time to travel to refuel every 300 miles as unlike a battery electric car, you can’t just plug in at home when you need to refuel.

Toyota says the joint lottery between it and the EMA will run from October 8 until October 18, with the winner being announced at the Warner Bros Studios on Friday at the 24th annual EMA Award Ceremony. To date, just 113 tickets have been sold, leaving 883 tickets to be claimed.

The winner will be announced on October 18th, but will have to wait a whole year for their prize.

The winner will be announced on October 18th, but will have to wait a whole year for their prize.

If you happen to live in one of the key market areas and want to try your hand at winning Toyota’s first mass-produced hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, we guess buying a $100 ticket could be at least one way to ensure you have a chance of driving the fuel cell sedan when it goes on sale in late 2015. But with nearly 1,000 other people to compete against — that’s if all the tickets are sold —  the odds aren’t exactly all that good.

Then again, with limited numbers of production FCV cars heading to California, the chances are you’ll have to be someone rather special to earn a place in the queue of paying customers. While Toyota hasn’t detailed the purchase or lease arrangements yet, we’re guessing Toyota will opt to make the FCV a lease-only car for those willing and able to pay a fairly high price to do so.

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