Toyota is still quoting retail prices on the hydrogen-powered Mirai as if a federal tax credit is available. Though the automaker doesn’t have any insight on when the credit will return, company representatives are working to have it renewed.
“We plan to work with the new Congress to restore the fuel cell vehicle consumer tax credit that unfortunately expired just as the these game-changing vehicles are set to come to market,” said Jana Hartline, Toyota’s environmental communications manager. “Zero emission vehicle credits are firmly in place for pure battery electric vehicles and we will work to ensure the zero emission fuel cell electric vehicle receives equal treatment.”
Though the automaker isn’t sharing any details on this plan, Toyota wants Congress to restore the credits by the time the Mirai goes on sale in the U.S. The federal credit, which expired at the end of 2014, gave FCV buyers an extra $8,000 rebate.
“Conversations are ongoing with the hope of credits in place before vehicles arrive in California, October 2015,” Hartline said.
Manufacturers of hydrogen cars, including Toyota and Honda, have said a lack of FCV credits will create an unfair advantage for plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and battery electric vehicles (BEV).
“We think that the federal credit expiration last year puts those customers in a fairly disadvantageous position. A plug-in electric hybrid vehicle today can receive $7,500 of incentives, whereas a customer who wants to buy a fuel cell electric vehicle will get zero,” said Nihar Patel, vice president of North American Business Strategy for Toyota Motor Sales.
Patel spoke at the 2015 Washington Auto Show last week, where he still quoted a net price of $44,000 for the Mirai, which included both federal and California rebates.
“We believe that this inequity needs to be fixed. Consumers should have a choice. The investment community needs a very clear signal that the government is not going to choose winners and losers on their own. And that all these vehicles should be treated fairly equally and that we should allow the consumers and the market to make that decision.”
California still offers rebates for FCVs under its Clean Vehicle Rebate Project. Only one new FCV model – the 2015 Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell – currently qualifies for the $2,500 rebate. That amount is twice the credit available for BEVs and far more than the $1,500 credit for PHEVs.