2016 Toyota Mirai U.S. arrivalEnlarge Photo
Sales of the Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel-cell car are limited to California, because the Golden State is the only one today with any fueling infrastructure.
But even there, Toyota is running into some problems.
It's now asking some of the eight California dealers designated to sell the Mirai to stop deliveries due to a lack of available fueling stations.
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Dealers will hold off on deliveries until stations open in their areas, said Jim Lentz, Toyota Motor North America's CEO, to WardsAuto on the sidelines of the 2016 Automotive News World Congress in Detroit.
He emphasized that this does not constitute a stop-sale order.
The eight dealers--four in Northern California and four in Southern California--were chosen based on their proximity to stations that were open or were expected to open soon.
2016 Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel-cell car, Newport Beach, CA, Nov 2014Enlarge Photo
But the rollout of hydrogen fueling stations has been slower than Toyota anticipated.
Toyota previously said it hoped 48 stations would be operational in California by the end of 2015. The state and its private-industry partners didn't come anywhere close to meeting that goal.
There are only a handful of operational stations, although many more are planned.
Information released by the California Fuel-Cell Partnership shows that there are 43 stations in various stages of construction--with some still only in the permitting process.
There are also six earlier "demonstrator" stations that have proven somewhat unreliable, and will need to be upgraded to refuel a Mirai fully.
That led to the decision to hold off on deliveries in places like Santa Monica, where a station near the local Toyota dealer is still under construction.
2016 Toyota MiraiEnlarge Photo
This comes after Toyota deployed portable hydrogen fueling units at six of the eight dealers authorized to sell the Mirai late last year.
The units--which were declined by two dealers due to space constraints--were viewed as a temporary measure by the carmaker.
The company said it hoped that the portable fuelers would be a temporary measure, and could be removed by end of summer 2016.
Toyota will cover the cost of customers' hydrogen up to three years or $15,000 whether they refuel at the temporary dealership stations, or at any available public stations.
It still plans to deliver 1,000 Mirai sedans in the U.S. for the 2016 model year, and 3,000 by the end of 2017. Last year, it delivered 34 Mirais in October, 23 in November, and 15 in December.
California has allocated $200 million in funding to expand the network of hydrogen fueling stations through the end of the decade.