Toyota: Mirai “Flying Off Virtual Shelf”, Order Requests Hit 1,900

OCT 9 2015 BY MARK KANE 73

2016 Toyota Mirai Fuel Cell Sedan

2016 Toyota Mirai Fuel Cell Sedan

Toyota seems quite pleased with the response for the Mirai in America, as its hydrogen fuel cell car has seen demand exceed production plans in the U.S. according to the company.

Toyota stated:

“While the Toyota Mirai cannot literally fly, it is flying off the virtual shelf!”

1,900 order requests were registered by the end of September on a special website that opened on 20th July (here). Toyota only intends to deliver 1,000 2016 Mirais to the U.S..

“The existing order requests are being reviewed, and Toyota will begin placing the first trailblazing customers in the Mirai driver’s seat this month.”

As “Trailblazing customers” soon will get the chance to order their Mirai for real, that will provide us with an answer of real demand, as the 1,900 requests did not require any deposit or vetting of the persons applying.

In a previous story, we noted that plug-ins enjoyed a larger initial interest:

For reference: The Nissan LEAF netted 2,700 $99 deposits in the first three hours, while the Chevrolet Volt had a private list of more than 50,000 interested in the extended range EV – even before the company made the car available.

Production for Japan, US and Europe is limited to total 700 Mirai this year, 2,000 in 2016 and 3,000 in 2017.

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73 Comments on "Toyota: Mirai “Flying Off Virtual Shelf”, Order Requests Hit 1,900"

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“as the 1,900 requests did not require any deposit or vetting of the persons applying.”

That says it all.

While Toyota’s form is low friction (reminiscent of Tesla’s Powerwall form, which also requires no deposit and the numbers for which were widely trumpeted) it also states that the Mirai is sold out for 2016. So, regardless of the number of actual orders, it appears they have enough demand to be production constrained for at least a year and a half. That sounds familar.

By the way, the practice of requiring large deposits for cars is not the norm. Tesla does it because they need the cash. Dealers will ask for small deposits ($500) when there is a risk the car won’t sell–but every time one has been asked of me, the check was never cashed

I’m not sure I get your point. The Tesla Powerwall numbers of 55,000 Powerwall reservations and 25,000 of the larger Powerpacks in the first few days is a notable number and does get ones attention even if they are non deposit reservations of interest.

Under 2,000 units reserved without deposit after 3 months is not really that interesting.

That Toyota says, “Sorry, but all of our 2016 model year Mirai vehicles are sold out. Please fill out the form to get on the waiting list for late 2016 availability.”

… is fairly interesting, at least to me, because:

– sales are restricted to only eight dealerships
– sales are restricted to CA

… and yet they still sold out. The number of requests works out to be 237 per dealership. Toyota has 1000 dealers in the U.S. 237,000 is thus an upper bound on the interest in the U.S., though of course California is more affluent, has more incentives, has more hydrogen stations, and has a greener populace than most any other state.

I should also note that Toyota asks for your ZIP code at the first stage, and if you do not live near the chosen dealerships, you are prevented from continuing any further.

They are hoping for 1k Mirai in US for 2015, 2k in 2016 and only 3k for 2017? How slow is that? How will they ever get people to buy into this? Tesla went from 5k sold to 50k sold in 3 years and its considered tiny…

Toyota spokesmen have called the Mirai more important to the company than the Prius has been.

What with expensive ($9.09 / kg) fuel, extremely limited availability, and huge cost of neighborhood station construction, I frankly don’t see the supposed advantages that Toyota does.

The extra hardships we EV owners put up with have been negated by several fine PHEV products on the market. In a pinch, or for vacations, we can use the ubiquitous corner station already in existance, at a ‘value’ price.

This is the situation Hydrogen fueled cars have to enter.

If there were absolutely NOTHING else besides horse and buggy, the Mirai would do fine. But it will be competing with several fine, low priced ev’s such as the 203 mile BOLT.

Selling out the first 700 or anything isn’t that newsworthy. The performance of the next several thousand will tell everyone exactly where these vehicles are needed, and also where they are superfluous.

Bill Howland said:

“Toyota spokesmen have called the Mirai more important to the company than the Prius has been.”

Quite possibly that will turn out to be true. Toyota obviously didn’t learn the lesson from its Prius, once the #1 best selling car in the world. They failed to learn the lesson, didn’t follow up on their success, and now they’ve fallen behind in the EV revolution.

Perhaps with the failure of the Mirai, they will actually learn something. So perhaps the Mirai will turn out to be “important” for Toyota, in the way that the Edsel became an important lesson for Ford.

Exactly correct. A write off of a few billion and some resignations should help them see more clearly.

A few billion dollars invested in hydrogen, while a lot of money, is “chump change” for Toyota.

I believe that the last time I checked, they had $150 billion in the bank, much like Google and Apple.

Different estimates of Toyota’s cash reserves vary so widely that I question the value of any one of them.

Here’s a very recent article which states it’s only $37 billion, which according to the same article is still more than GM, Ford, or Fiat-Chrysler:

Call me old fashioned, but you could always lookup Toyota’s balance sheet, add up the numbers, then convert zen to dollars.

Edsel stands for Every Day Something Else Leaks.

I would like to point that thatmath is invalid.

Firstl. California have those cleam air programs going on for a while.

Second. Only California will have ANY comercially usable hydro stations in next few years.

Hence california populance is on average more aware of ‘alternatives’, and everybody else can only exhibit empty interest. As no sales will be made under any conditions for few next years…

So its like saying that interest in the trip to mars is high 😉

Lest our Canadian friends get confused, in this case I assume hydro = hydrogen and not electricity.

The rest of us can comment on the vehicle, since if this vehicle is as important as Toyota thinks it is, then they’ll have to sell it in 50 states.

Hydrogen production in the states keeps setting production records, so in one sense there is no shortage of the product.

Now who is going to put up the money to build a hugely expensive service station? That’s a key question.

I guess it’s good you didn’t preorder at Toyota of Sunnyvale. They not only required a $500 deposit, they couldn’t be bothered to invite me to their Mirai event (even though I had made a deposit). Fortunately, the deposit was refunded.

It will be quite difficult to fuel these vehicles in NoCal in 2015, whether that changes in 2016 is (literally) up in the air.

Polish that turd.

No amount of polishing will save that Mirai turd.

It’s not a turd, it’s a dog. Morning Musume (a girl band from Japan) knew it in 2003:

Orwellian: Failure is Success.

We have always been aiming for 1,000 units.

We have always been at war with plug-in EVs.

…and then it hit me. Remember how funky the first generation Prius looked in 1999? It’s a Toyota tradition to make the first ones ugly, just to make people gossip: how dare they make such an ugly car and claim it to be superior! Hmm, batteries &fuel cells…I think we’re going to want & need both sooner than most folks are realizing. Big oil still has future harvesting and cracking CH4 and C3H8 into hydrogen fuel. Heaven knows what else those evil & ugly refineries can do for us.

Considering that this car has no upsides for the consumer the 1900 number is actually quite baffling except they are just order requests, no real commitments and many of those orders are likely to come from government agencies with a policy to support hydrogen.

The Torrance Exxon refinery, employs approximately 650 employees. That must be a big chunk of those 1900 along with other similar companies.

People said Volt 1.0 looked like a “science experiment”.

The Mirai looks like Frankenstein’s monster gone horribly wrong. Simply putrid.

The Toyota EDSEL.

Having seen both cars, I’d say calling the Mirai an Edsel is an INSULT to FORD. If Edsel Ford had had other than an early death, and/or Ford Motor Company decided to stay with the Edsel, it would have been similar to other premium cars at the time. This Mirai, I’m sorry for its supporters, but looks like a super-stinker to me. I’m sure Toyota is gaining some needed expertise by actually trying to make it, but as opposed to Ubiquitous, inexpensive electricity, Hydrogen cars have a huge hill in front of them. Its true that factory hydrogen production may be breaking records lately. Its quite another thing to say this ‘industrial product’ will be economically available to fill the family car. EV Batteries seem to be slowly improving over time, and getting less costly – supposedly the only ‘claim to fame’ H2 vehicles will have is a 300-400 mile driving range which probably will be bested by EV vehicles in the next decade. SO H2 should mainly stay where it is right now – as an intermediate product in a chemical factory. If they are only planning to make so few Mirai’s over the next several years, perhaps they… Read more »
It’s certainly true that the Edsel was a more practical car than the Mirai is. But there is a close parallel in the decision to put the car into production, and the marketing of it. Ford knew that the U.S. economy was at the time in a slump, but ignored the clear signs that Americans were looking for economy in a car. But Ford went forward, despite all the red flags, in the belief that if they heavily advertised the car, they could get a lot of people to buy it car despite the economic reality. Of course, Ford was wrong. Toyota is ignoring even more clear-cut signs that the Mirai is a car which isn’t going to find a market. Just like Ford with the Edsel, they’re spending a lot of money to promote a car that virtually* nobody wants to buy. I also predict that the Mirai will parallel the Edsel in another respect: The Edsel was made in moderate numbers in the first year of production (63,110 U.S. sales), fewer the second (44,891 U.S. sales), and only a small number (2,846) were produced the third and final year. I hereby predict the second year of Mirai sales… Read more »

I predict the usual hydrogen shills here will soon make an appearance.

I am not sure that ‘trailblazing’ was the best choice to describe future owners.

It’s probably Marketing 101 to never associate the word “blazing” with hydrogen. The Hindenburg jokes write themselves.

Like everyone else, calling BS on this. undoubtedly pure rubbish or best case marketing sleight of hand.

Why anyone would buy one of these only shows you can find fools everywhere.
I bet they don’t sell 200 of them to not gov, orgs, to private people.
Anyone buying a car who’s fuel is $10-15/gal gas equivalent isn’t playing with a full deck.
Especially when it is such a boring noisy car that fuel is hard to find as many stations are broken or slow or will only fill it 50% full, the few there are.

New technologies, especially those that depend on the existence of a standardized infrastructure, establish dominance by securing market share faster than the alternatives.

In the US, there are now 500,000 EVs on the road. There will be nearly 1,500,000 by 2020.

By that time Toyota plans to have a few thousand Mirai on US streets, almost all of them in California, the majority in Los Angeles. A road trip for those cars will be constrained to a small network of some 50 H2 fuel stations, at best, stretching from San Diego to San Francisco.

Hydrogen refuling stations are rather tricky to site and get permitted and cost $2.5 million to $4 million each. They are also fairly expensive to operate (fuel trucks) and to maintain (12,500 PSI pumps, tanks and pipes).

EV chargers, especially the new wireless chargers, can be installed in any parking space for a few thousand dollars. Permitting is simple, because they are safer. No setback required. Operation and maintenance is easy and cheap.

Toyota’s senior engineers have said that hydrogen will not be competitive with ICEs until 2030.

If you like 500:1 long shots, hydrogen is a very exciting roll of the dice.

The current plans in CA are for 100 fueling stations by 2020, in order to support a fleet of 18,500 cars. Fueling station growth is, for the most part, limited by car sales, and vice versa. It’s foolish to build out stations in advance of demand, as stations only get cheaper over time.

That doesn’t change the lead EVs have, it doesn’t change the fact that EV infrastructure is cheaper, and the fact that hydrogen vehicles are inherently less efficient.

The stations cost nearly 2 Million Dollars, vs. electric charge points.

They’re not going to get cheaper to handle hydrogen.

Are you implying that hydrogen fueling stations have a huge setback requirement? I’ve found the DOE setback requirements for hydrogen fueling stations on this interactive webpage. The setbacks are only 10 to 25 feet. Roll your cursor over the colored bars to see the various setback requirements. Also click on the “Show All Setback Areas” and “Go To Setback Details” buttons.

– Lot line – 10 foot setback.
– Public sidewalks and vehicles – 15 foot setback
– Wall openings – 20 foot setback
– Building (with combustible walls), air intake openings, and liquid hydrogen tank – 25 foot setback requirement

Excellent info, thank you for posting Sven.

Versus zero, yes I consider the 10-25 foot setback requirements to be a competitive disadvantage.

When you consider the convenience of home and work (and gym, etc etc) charging – soon to be wireless or automated; park and walk away – vs having to go to a dedicated fueling station 15-30 minutes or more out of your way, that’s a pretty big competitive advantage for EV charging.

Once mainstream cost EVs have 200 miles range, any purported advantage of H2 vehicle (range, refuel time) is going to be so minimal, its really hard to see how they recover from that and compete.

Faster? No
Cheaper? Not for the forseeable future
More interior or cargo space? No, big difficulty there.
Cheaper fuel? Heavens no. 7x more at least. Limited supply ensure high prices for a very long time.
Longer lasting? Nope, life limited components.
Cheaper maintenence? Oh, boy. That’s gonna be a toughie. Hydrogen plumbing and air pumps. Special tools, special training. Hope you got a NASA budget, fella.
Carbon neutral. Uh-oh. Not for a while, if ever, at a competitive cost.

If hydrogen was a winning ZEV technology, I’d be a huge champion. But really.

Well put. People focus on the inconvenience of the very occasional 25-30 minute long distance, 125 mile, shot into a Tesla, while taking their eyes away from the fact they’ll never stop some place to “re-fuel” in their daily routine.

Sounds convenient enough, for me. You don’t have to sell me on the benefits EVs and convenience of home charging. I’m pro EV, but not anti HFCV. If anything, I’m pro ZEV and don’t care if cars run on batteries, hydrogen, or alien technology, as long as it’s a ZEV. NYC has replaced a lane of traffic or street parking on most every major avenue, boulevard, and street with a segregated bike lane. With my annual unlimited bike-sharing pass, I’m biking more than ever to get around the city after jumping off the subway or after street parking in Brooklyn for a short bike ride into Manhattan over one of the East River Bridges. I just don’t want to breathe in any NOx emissions or particulate matter while I bike, hence the desire for ZEVs regardless of which flavor tech they use. I pay $0.31/kWh on average for electricity in NYC. But I drive on electric even through it would be significantly cheaper to drive a high-mileage hydrid, and slightly cheaper to drive on my gasoline-powered REx. I don’t care about the price that much, because I prefer driving in EV mode. I’m putting in a PV system and a deck on my flat… Read more »
Thanks for the context, Sven, it does help me understand you point of view, which has often puzzled me. I also ride daily (Gocycle, WaveCrest Tidalforce) and like you, exposure to tailpipe emissions is not just unpleasant, it’s a genuine health concern. I don’t hate hydrogen vehicles, I generally keep my arguments to the merits (or lack thereof) of the technology under discussion. I do object strenuously to dirty technologies being fraudulently promoted as clean. So-called Clean Diesel, for example, which has turned out to be an outright fraud. Marketing hydrogen made from BS, or lemonade, or spring water seems fraudulent when it’s pretty clear that consumers will not be obtaining hydrogen fuel from those sources, but instead from energy and carbon intense methane obtained mostly from fracking, which has its own serious environmental degredation. If a city can install street lights and parking meters, they are certainly capable of providing large scale public charging infrastructure, especially now that wireless charging is a viable technology (soon to be OEM equipment). Even if you believe that street charging is unworkable in the near term, workplace charging is completely viable, and there are a whole lot of parking lots that could be… Read more »

Thanks for the response. I’m personally withholding judgement on hydrogen until I see what Japan’s nationwide effort reveals about their hydrogen economy at the showcase Japanese Olympics in 2020, and what Germany’s efforts have accomplished by 2020. Until then, it’ll be a lot of teething pains, hopefully progress, maybe even some breakthroughs, and maybe a lot of failure. Five years may seem like an eternity to some, but I think it’s a reasonable time frame to see if the nationwide hydrogen efforts in Japan and Germany bear fruit. Shutting down it all down now without giving hydrogen proponents the chance to overcome technological, economic, and safety hurdles seems premature to me.

Those are some pretty big setbacks for a residence. Won’t be able to put one in your garage or 25 feet from your house or a neighbor. I have an L2 charger now in my garage that cost $600.

Sure not everyone ows a dedicated spot to charge but to know that if you ever do own a dedicated parking spot someday you could never fill your car at home like an EV, would always be a deal breaker. Once the cat is out of the bag and you get used to filling up at home then you can never go back.

Plus charging will get faster to the point that there will be stations that can charge in 5-10 minutes AND you will be able to charge at home if you are able to do so.

> Toyota’s senior engineers have said that hydrogen will not be competitive with ICEs until 2030.

Yes, and by 2030 the vehicle to be competitive with will not be ICE (on the way out), it will be BEV.

Hope those lucky customers enjoy virtual refueling of their Mirai’s, considering the current state of the hydrogen refueling infrastructure.

Ask the Hyundai Tucson owners, already experiencing this problem.

…among other problems

1,900 suckers

Nah, many of those 1,900 will be cancelled… by TOYOTA, due to admission of insufficient hydrogen infrastructure.

1,900 0n 0rder…ha Ha Ha ….If You Buy that..Elaphants Can Fly Too.., I got some nice building lots in the Everglades That I can Sell You …….Cheap;;;;;………….l o l ……..

I also call BS regarding this car because I have a good “herd instinct” 🙂

Sure, a couple of Toyota fanboys, car collectors and rich technology minded people are probably interested in the car as a curiosity but I wouldn’t say 1900 “interests” is very much to brag about. The model X has 30k prepaid reservations.

According to this thread:

… the reservation count is at only 20K. I follow this very closely, as I am one of them. Worldwide there are 30K, but this article only quotes U.S. Mirai sales.

I’m just curious, 3E, do you have a financial interest in H2 transportation, or just a keen interest?

No brickbats if you do, I just have to wonder why someone with a Model X reservation would be interested in Hydrogen, which has such a modest amount of interest/support by comparison.

If I had to guess, this is “epirali” from the LEAF forum. He claimed to have a Tesla Roadster and a Model X on order,

He was considering canceling his order because he wanted to drive to Colorado, and the only source of electricity in the entire town he wanted to go to was a 120 volt wall outlet.

He also claimed to have a physics degree, yet somehow his numbers favored hydrogen over anything else.

Looks like 3E is a poseur. He claims to follow Model X reservations “closely”, and reports them at 20,000. Yet in less than 5 minutes of Googling the Tesla Motors Club forum, I find in a post from four days ago that Tesla has officially reported 25,000 reservations, and the current unofficial estimate by those who actually are following this closely is ~28,000… that’s net, including estimated cancellations.

But it would hardly be a surprise to find that 3M is a poseur, as he claims to be driving an EV yet is one of the very few diehards still proclaiming, in InsideEVs posts, that the hydrogen economy will somehow, magically, defy the Laws of Physics and become viable. So either he’s a believer in perpetual motion, or else he has a hidden agenda in promoting hydrogen fuel and/or fuel cell cars.

WOW… 1900 well meaning… h2 enthusiasts about to be parted from their money… hope they can afford the loss. They will be losing more everytime they fill up with the overpriced , very resource intensive fuel… then when the leases are up… to the crushers…
Even the fuel tanks of these cars have expiration dates for safety. These cars are like eco rolls royce… hand built eco cars that are not really very well to wheels efficient.
Toyota is wasting alot of time and effort here IMO.

Toyota, like Hyundai, is completely subsidizing the hydrogen fueling cost for three years (with limits).

So, if you wanted to pay $499 per month, plus taxes, and have a car that couldn’t drive outside of Los Angeles (and return), and you enjoy getting your fuel in the gasoline model, this would be ok… except:

For a commuter, almost any of the 80 mile range EVs on the market are cheaper and you can fully refuel them for very lost cost at your house.

Honestly, I don’t even see the commuter arguement with FREE hydrogen.

So in the span of 46 days they got another 800 “requests” (1900-1100). The pace has slowed compared to the start at 40 days for 1100.

“While the Toyota Mirai cannot literally fly, it is flying off the virtual shelf!”

Hmmm, didn’t we read recently that Toyota found response to its Mirai offering to be disappointing; even lower than one would expect for an extremely niche product which is soon to be obsolete?

Pardon me if I find the claim of “flying off the virtual shelf” to be a rather desperate attempt at spin by a PR department.

I’m completely in support of hydrogen. I think it’s a cool technology- a sort of science experiment on wheels. But that’s where my appreciation for hydrogen ends.

As a transportation energy storage device, hydrogen makes absolutely no sense. It would make more sense if Toyota just used the root sources of hydrogen (natural gas or electricity) to fuel the cars instead, since both of those require fewer modifications to infrastructure. But no.

Hence the energy industry’s conclusion: Hydrogen cannot compete with hydrogen sources. Or at least, that’s the conclusion of energy _analysts_, since many in the racket have an interest in bilking as many states as they can dupe into subsidizing the scam.

Truly hideous. I can’t believe 1900 people actually expressed an interest in it.

2030? We need ZEVs now not by 2030.

Seems Toyota sold 2,000 Mirai’s in Japan by March 2015. That’s impressive.

Whether they can ramp up the production to meet all these orders swiftly needs to be seen.

FCV’s may give some competition to BEV’s, but the rapidly falling prices of batteries may give a bigger edge to BEV / Plugins.

“Flying off the virtual shelf?”

Sounds like their marketing runs on bullsh!t, too.

The Toyota Mirai is going to end up like the Chrysler turbine car of the early 1960s. Chrysler sent most of them to the crusher. There’s a rare running Chrysler turbine in The Missouri Museum of Transportation, near my house. Perhaps an auto collector could profit by buying a Toyota Mirai and selling it to a museum in the future.

The Americans that ordered these must be really gullible or stupid or both.
I’m starting to think the world is stuffed.

Monkeys have more brains.

They don’t buy a plug in but buy a Hydrogen powered car? Marketing must be working overtime to sugar coat this horrible hydrogen technology.

So all the Toyota executives will have one. Then what?

Does anyone know why someone would buy FC car? I mean, it’s slower, more expensive to buy, more expensive to fuel, and you don’t get the convenience of charging almost anywhere like BEV. It does have longer range per fueling, but so do gas cars.

In effect, you’re buying a gas car that’s slower and “burns” far more expensive fuel. Unless one is total eco-nut (H could be better than oil in long run), I don’t see why anyone would buy it.

So I am genuinely curious, for what reason would anyone get FCV?

Before the recent push to promote “fool cell” cars by Toyota et al, there were about two dozen fleets of FCEVs, each with their own private (not open to the public) H2 fueling station. If you look around on the Internet, you can find maps of H2 fueling stations nationwide (USA). Be sure to look for flags which indicate whether or not they’re public. I know that doesn’t really answer your question. Looks like most of those fleets are government owned, and my guess is they are part of some sort of ongoing feasibility study (see article linked below). One thing to keep in mind is that legacy auto makers have been experimenting with FCEVs about as long as they’ve been experimenting with BEVs. So they’ve got a lot of money invested in them by now, which may be one of several motives pushing Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, and perhaps other auto makers to promote them. Maybe these auto makers look at it this way: “Well, we’ve spent a lot of money on the tech, so might as well make a compliance car so we can get at least a bit of money with carbon credits, before we write off a… Read more »

I’m surprised with general public who didn’t get BEV or EREV are open to hydrogen because it emits only H20

Little do these stupids know that to make Hydrogen – alot more wasted electricity has to be either made or used.

Which idiot high office channeled money into this and which bigger idiots urged the auto manufactures to go down this path?

Japanese / Korean / USA along with Toyota / Honda & Hyundai all worthy of the face palm moment of all time.

I so wish high capacity / range batteries are in production EV’s soon so Hydrogen Fuel cells for automotive use end up in Museums – where they rightfully belong as true engineering bureaucratic Foley.

Chevy Built at least 1(?) Fuel Cell ‘VOLT’ which I have seen a cutaway at a GM event – and here is an article on the idea – From the Picture Caption: “Close up view of early engineering illustration of the hydrogen fuel cell version of Chevy Volt E-Flex electric car. Powered by a Fifth Generation GM fuel cell stack the same size as a four-cylinder gasoline engine, the 70kW (94hp) electric power plant produces the same output as the Fourth Generation version found in the fuel cell Chevy Equinox but is half its size.” Funny thing is – I remember ~ 2010 ~ when I saw the one I saw – they said it was 80 kW output from that Fuel Cell, not the 70 kW in this article! The Linked article Opens with “Dr. Larry Burns began the second press briefing [GM battery briefing] by enumerating all the reasons why General Motors is focusing billions of precious research dollars on electric-drive vehicles, both hybrid, plug-in and hydrogen fuel cell.” … 60% of the way down the article – “While the hydrogen variant of the Volt hasn’t yet been built, GM has embarked on production engineering of the… Read more »