Toyota has fielded around 600 expressions of interest in California for its Mirai fuel cell vehicle, which will become available in the US in the northern autumn.
Toyota has started production of the Mirai in Japan where it is now on sale with a waiting list of customers, said Justin Ward, general manager of the Powertrain System Control Department of the Toyota Technical Center in North America.
Ward said Mirai owners will all be interviewed to ensure they live in California and near one of the roughly nine available hydrogen stations.
Ward is encouraged that there are plans with First Element Fuels to build 48 state-of-the-art retail stations for hydrogen where you would swipe your credit card and fill your tanks with gaseous hydrogen in less than five minutes.
He is hopeful as many as 20 stations will be in place in California by the end of the year and the rest by the end of 2016, while a partnership with Air Liquide could deliver hydrogen stations in the Mideast next year.
The two hydrogen tanks in the mid-size Mirai hold 5 kilograms collectively of hydrogen which fuel the fuel cell stack to produce enough electricity to run for 312 miles.
The car will cost US$57,500, not including a destination charge of about US$835.
A rebate will be available California and Ward said there will also be a company rebate offered. There is also a lease option for US$499 a month and the car comes with three years or US$15,000 worth of free hydrogen.
Toyota will build 3000 Mirais for the U.S. market by the end of 2017.