With production numbers limited to just 700 for 2015, 2,000 for 2016 and 3,000 per year from 2017 until 2020, the Toyota Mirai fuel cell sedan will be something of an exclusive beast. During its entire manufacturing lifespan, less than 12,000 Mirai fuel cell sedans are expected to be made due to the limitations of its hand-built, costly manufacturing process.
It’s no surprise then that the Mirai will only go on sale at a handful of specialists dealers around the world, with Toyota’s first production fuel cell sedan only even available to buy in markets where there’s existing hydrogen fuel cell infrastructure.
In the U.S., that means the only place you’ll be able to buy one will be one of eight specialist Toyota Mirai dealerships. As you might expect, every one is in the state of California.
As per Toyota’s official press release this morning, they are as follows: San Francisco Toyota, Roseville Toyota, Stevens Creek Toyota and Toyota of Sunnyvale in northern California; and Longo Toyota, Toyota Santa Monica, Toyota of Orange and Tustin Toyota in southern California.
Of those first eight dealers, Toyota said it chose them because of their proximity to existing hydrogen refuelling infrastructure, meaning it will be easy for customers local to each dealership to find suitable places to refuel their cars. Toyota also said each of the eight dealerships had experience in the past of selling advanced-technology vehicles. In lay terms, we suspect that means its limited-production ‘compliance’ RAV4 EV electric cars, as well as suitably high numbers of Prius hybrids and Prius Plug-in Hybrids.
Cars won’t be rolling off dealer lots for another five months, but Toyota says it has nominated its dealers early so that potential customers can make themselves known to the dealership and put their names down on the pre-order waiting lists.
That won’t be possible until ‘this summer,’ although Toyota says it is already urging potential interested parties to make themselves known early due to limited production numbers.
With just 3,000 Mirais earmarked for U.S customers through 2017, Toyota says orders will be limited, with vehicles ‘placed with select, eligible customers.’ For those not used to this particular phrase, we’d like to point out that this is automaker speak for “only a few customers will actually be selected to get a car.”
Those selections we hope will be made based on proximity to refuelling infrastructure, personal circumstances — like daily commute lengths and suitability for a hydrogen fuel cell car — and willingness to be on the bleeding edge of hydrogen fuel cell technology.
As with previous ‘early adopter’ programs and rollouts, most noticeably ones with lease-only electric cars of the late 1990s and early 2000s, we suspect those with noticeable influence — like television celebrities and influential entrepreneurs — will likely be top of Toyota’s list.
Toyota says customers can sign up for more information about the Mirai, as well as put their names forward to be notified when the order books open, at www.toyota.com/mirai
With a starting price of $57,500 and free hydrogen fuel for those chosen to be eligible to own one, the 2016 Toyota Mirai will join a select, exclusive band of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles on California’s roads, including the lease-only Hyundai Tucson fuel cell crossover SUV and eventually, Honda’s as-yet unnamed first production fuel cell vehicle.
With each vehicle only produced in limited numbers however, it will be a long time before hydrogen fuel cell cars become as common as plug-in hybrid and all-electric cars on California’s roads.
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