The arguments over whether fuel cells are really “fool cells” may be yet simmering, but what happens if the market positively responds regardless?
Granted, initial sales and production goals are quite small for the Toyota Mirai first being sold in Japan, with European and U.S. deliveries scheduled for next year, but Toyota is investing $165 million to triple production capacity.
Nikkei Asian Review reports strong government and corporate demand have prompted the production increase of fuel cell stacks and hydrogen tanks and addition of two assembly lines by next-year’s end at its headquarters factory in Aichi Prefecture.
Initial plans for Japan had been to sell 400 Mirais with deliveries beginning Monday, next week. Present orders look like they’ll put a strain on annual capacity of 700 units for the vehicle awaiting more infrastructure to make a more-viable business case.
It’s believed the case may be strengthening, as more capital investment in refueling stations and related products may follow the initial success. Other automakers will also spur demand including Honda which is partnered with General Motors, and due to release a five-seater in fiscal 2015.
Deloitte Tohmatsu Consulting estimated for the report that by 2030 $369 billion (4.4 trillion yen may come to the Japanese economy from fuel cell vehicle market growth.
The Mirai is due in Europe some time around September 2015, with a mere 50-100 units annually projected at this point. The U.S. is due to get the Mirai not long after the same year with 200 initial sales next year, and 3,000 by December 2017.