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Toyota Mirai on sale in US in October
<p><strong>Toyota Mirai on sale in U.S. in October.</strong></p>

Toyota: 600 Requests for Mirai, Refueling Woes to Be Expected

Toyota is targeting 3,000 U.S. Mirai sales from 2015 through 2017, but&nbsp;will be vetting those requesting the car.

With just 10 days of orders under its belt, Toyota says it already has 600 people who’ve requested a Mirai hydrogen fuel-cell car.

“That’s everyone that has gone on to and requested a vehicle (since July 20),” company spokeswoman Jana Hartline tells WardsAuto July 30.

Not surprisingly, most of those 600 people fit the stereotype of who first buys an advanced-technology vehicle.

“The typical early adopters, the tech savvy…is what we’re seeing for Mirai,” she says.

Hartline says early data doesn’t reveal how many of the 600 already may own another advanced-technology vehicle, such as Toyota’s own Prius hybrid car.

The Mirai, estimated to achieve 300 miles (483 km) of range, will go on sale in California in October.

Toyota is targeting 3,000 U.S. Mirai sales from 2015 through 2017.

Important to note is Toyota will be vetting those requesting the car to make sure they live near refueling stations and meet other metrics.

Unlike Hyundai, Toyota plans to retail its FCV in both Northern and Southern California at launch, with four Toyota dealers serving interested Mirai buyers in each region.

Sales of Hyundai’s Tucson FCV, on the market since summer 2014, are restricted to three Southern California dealers.

The Mirai can be purchased outright, for $57,500, although Toyota last year said it expected 90% of sales to be leases. The Mirai and Tucson have the same lease terms of $499 per month for 36 months, but the Toyota requires a bigger down-payment than the Tucson’s, $3,649 vs. $2,999.

Meanwhile, Toyota classifies non-functioning or slow hydrogen pumps as something to be expected.

Green Car Reports last week spoke with some Tucson FCV drivers who said existing fueling stations in Orange County have been down for days or weeks at a time, causing them to park their vehicle. When the pumps are working, they are often slow to dispense fuel.

“The quick answer is this is sort of expected,” Craig Scott, national manager-Advanced Technologies Group for Toyota tells WardsAuto. “The stations that exist today were built many, many, many years ago, using funds that were set up to create demonstration stations. That’s exactly what these are. They were never intended for retail use.”

Newly built hydrogen refueling stations coming online now in California are being built with the public in mind, meaning refueling times should be akin to those at gasoline stations.

Hydrogen proponents have cited a typical refueling time being three minutes, although owner reports suggest current pumps can take as long as 20 minutes as they may need to come up to pressure after previously dispensing fuel to other vehicles.

“It’s why we got involved in infrastructure, to sort of speed things along,” Scott says, referring to Toyota’s partnership with First Element Fuels and Air Liquide to build dozens of hydrogen-refueling stations in California and the Northeastern U.S. in the next few years.

Even with a more robust infrastructure expected soon, Scott says some growing pains will arise, such as too many cars and not enough stations.

“There will be a period of discomfort if you will where the growth of cars exceeds the growth of stations, and then it catches up,” Scott says. “It’s just kind of normal business. I don’t think there’s anything shocking here.”

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