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To compensate for the lack of hydrogen refueling stations open in California, Toyota is establishing temporary stations to service its new Mirai fuel cell sedan.
Toyota will be setting up trailers from Air Products & Chemicals Inc. as the mobile refueling stations, placing them at all eight dealerships authorized to sell the Mirai FCV. Only 1,000 of the 2016 model year vehicle are expected for the U.S., and deliveries of the first Mirais began a few weeks ago.
“Did we expect more stations to be available by the end of 2015? Absolutely,” said Doug Coleman, Toyota’s marketing manager for fuel cell vehicles, to Bloomberg Business. “We felt like this was a sensible interim step to help supply hydrogen fuel to Mirai customers that are out there on the roads right now.”
At the moment, only four retail hydrogen stations are open in California. Six other demonstration stations may be able to convert to retail stations, and 43 other stations are under construction or waiting on permits.
“There are a number of customers who’ve said ‘you know, I’m going to hang on; I don’t need the car right away; I’m waiting for my station to be built and fully operational before I take the car,’” said Coleman. “That’s totally fine with us.”
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However, Toyota is setting up these temporary stations to entice owners to take delivery immediately, instead of waiting for other stations to open. The mobile trailers don’t have the same capacity as a retail station, with the ability to only half-fill the hydrogen tanks on about 35 Mirai sedans. Coleman said the temporary stations will remain at the dealers until additional retail stations open.
Toyota is also working with other partners, including Nissan and Honda, to continue growing the currently fractured hydrogen infrastructure, and may even underwrite a portion of some retail stations’ expenses.