Requests for Toyota Mirai Begging Questions About Hydrogen Refueling Infrastructure
It’s only been a couple of weeks since Toyota began accepting applications for ownership of its upcoming 2016 Mirai hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle, and the Japanese automaker is already sifting through over 600 applicants to see which ones are qualified to be the first Americans to own this futuristic vehicle. But with the October release of the Mirai fast approaching, the bigger question is: will there be enough refueling stations to support the influx of FCVs that’ll soon descend on the Golden State?
At present, California has 48 hydrogen refueling stations being developed, and 15 of those should be open by the end of 2015. By the end of next year, that number should increase to 35. But just existing isn’t enough; owners of the already-released Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell routinely complain that stations in Orange County are either out of order or have a limited supply of hydrogen. Once the Mirai hits the road and demand for the fuel goes up, this could become an even bigger problem.
The issue stems from the fact that most of the existing stations were build for demonstration purposes, many years ago, and were never intended to be used as public refueling stations. The ones being built now are intended for that purpose, and should make it easier to own a fuel cell vehicle in California, but only time will tell whether or not supply will meet demand.