Toyota Mirai Production Ceiling Is 3,000 Units Per Year

APR 30 2015 BY MARK KANE 60

Toyota Mirai

Toyota Mirai

Toyota Mirai is the promised future of transportation, although it seems that Toyota is struggling to deliver on that promise.

Production goals are very low compared to current electric cars and in Japan the waiting queue for Mirai is already three years long! If you order Mirai now, delivery is expected in 2018.

One of the latest articles on Mirai states that Toyota can’t increase production, “even if it wants to.”

Mirai Chief Engineer Yoshikazu Tanaka said:

“Both in terms of design and manufacturing technology, we need to improve. We need to achieve a drastic technological evolution.”

After all those years of hydrogen fuel cell developments, they still need a drastic technological evolution, which sounds more like a call for a revolution.

In 2015, Toyota will produce 700 Mirai – 400 for Japan and 300 for the US (launch in September) and Europe (after the US launch). In 2016, production will triple to some 2,000 and then in 2017 production will reach 3,000. The problem is that 3,000 is the limit of “current manufacturing know-how“.

“Part of the challenge is the sensitivity of making the fuel cell stack, the costly chemical processor that combines hydrogen and oxygen to make the electricity that runs the car.

The stack has 370 cells, each just 1.34 millimeters thick. Etching the conduit channels on each of the fragile cells is a time-consuming and complex process, Tanaka said. Going beyond 3,000 vehicles a year would require a breakthrough in the way they are manufactured.”

On the hydrogen infrastructure side, Japan has 24 refueling stations (“19 are operating“). The government had aimed for 100 by the end of the year, but projects are moving slow and now the target is just 40.

One hydrogen refueling station costs up to ¥460 million ($3.86 million), which would would be enough to purchase and install 100-200 DC fast chargers (assuming $50,000-$100,000 each). It’s expected that costs of stations will “halve that construction cost by 2020“, but cost of DC fast chargers probably will be cut in half too.

Problems don’t end there:

“Another infrastructure quirk: Japan doesn’t allow self-serve hydrogen fueling. Only licensed station attendants are permitted to hook up the nozzles and hit the “refuel” button.

Hydrogen leaks, one attendant says, are the No. 1 concern: “It’s very dangerous.”

Source: Automotive News

Categories: Toyota

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60 Comments on "Toyota Mirai Production Ceiling Is 3,000 Units Per Year"

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Big Solar

so dumb

storky

Even the original Prius ramped up faster and it was limited to the Japan market when it first debuted.

When the Prius was finally made available to the American market for the 2001 model year, more than 30,000 were already produced and exports to the US were restricted to 12,000 units.

Steve

What a joke.
Dear Toyota, please stop deliberately confusing politicians, policy makers and consumers.
Hydrogen is dead.
Pls. Spend your money on a proper 200 mile EV.

PS. Hybrids are sooooo 2005…

Jo Jo

This Hydrogen Crap Is Nothing more than a Diversion Tactic from EV’s….You May Have Noticed that The hydrogen Tanks Resemble Hydrogen “BOMBS”//// In A Severe Collision that is Exactly What They Are …

gsned57

I just can’t see how this ends well for Toyota. Maybe Japan will be a hydrogen island but I see Hawaii being 100% powered by renewables and almost entirely populated with EV’s before Toyota can produce/sell 30K Mirage a year.

pjwood1

We’d need to unpack how well it’s been ending for Toyota, by looking at how much profit comes from less expensive hybrids and a small R&D budget, before we wash that against the pain of losing enlightened Prius owners. Is that last part an oxymoron?

Jouni Valkonen

It is just sad, because it is more and more obvious, that Toyota is putting the whole company in the stake to slow down the inevitable electric car revolution. This is good reminder how evil large companies can be when there is a conflict of interests between large company and environment.

On the other hand, also politicians have failed, because EV incentives did not force car companies to invest on research and infrastructure building of electric transportation.

In general governments have failed, because large companies can generate profits by polluting. Those companies that are pollutions should be forced to direct half of their profits into investments on cleantech.

Today, Toyota is generating half of their profits by selling expensive luxury cars – that could be well be all electric with 500-800 km range.

John Hansen

2015 Toyota = 1970 GM

Car Guy

Once you get behind in plug-ins there is no catching up. Toyota and Honda will both be bust in 2025.

Brian

Really? I’m not a betting man, but I would put money against that.

Toyota and Honda both have the resources to design and build plug-ins. The major hurdle is the battery and they can just buy the latest from LG Chem, just like anyone else.

Plus in 2025, both companies will still be making plenty of money on their ICE cars.

Jo Jo

I hope the “ICE” Is Completely Gone By 2025

Andrew

Honda publicly announced a BEV for the 2018 model year at the Detroit auto show, it just didn’t get much press. They simultaneously delayed their FCEV release by a year.

Honda likes to keep things very close to the vest and I don’t think they’re as married to FCEVs as Toyota is.

Evil Attorney

Between this and their questionable decision to relocate their headquarters from SoCal to Texas, I don’t know what the decision makers at Toyota are thinking. Last I heard from a Toyota employee at their headquarters, moral and productivity is way down, and some are estimating only a 30% after the move.

Alonso Perez

It’s so obvious Toyota is on the wrong side of history on this. I’ve lost all faith in the brand, which used to be a family staple.

John

This news surely means that the vehicle will be a total failure. The fact that Toyota either doesn’t see this or is in denial means they are much worse off than I thought. I thought they had seriously lost the edge, but this confirms a total disconnect from reality.

By 2018 we’ll have 150-200 mile range BEVs, probably several to choose from. And infrastructure will have improved significantly. No one will be serious about hydrogen, and I strongly believe even the politicians will have seen the way things are going and moved on. Toyota will be left in the dust unless they change course completely and very soon.

Agree with everything, except “…even the politicians will have seen the way things are going…”

Yes, like they are seeing global warming, for example.

In particular, I suspect lots of corruption in Japan around the sweet H2-subsidy deals handed out to Toyota and station builders.

Hopefully this won’t be only at the hands of the politicians.

John

You’re right. I was thinking of California and I think our politicians here will wake up. I should have specified that. I have much less hope for anything nationally in the U.S., and too little knowledge of politics in other countries.

Meanwhile, BMW reported that the production time required to build an i3 is 40% less than that for any other of their cars.
Go figure.

+1

CDAVIS

+1

Chris O

Wow…

Lensman

Shazam! 40% less production time for an EV than a gas guzzler? I wonder if the use of carbon fiber in the body makes production faster or slower?

I’d much rather see articles on the subject of EV production vs. gas guzzler production than yet another “fool cell car” article.

Guessing it’s due to fewer parts in the assembly process. CF is lighter and can take more complex shapes over a larger surface area. Also guessing the quality of parts meeting spec is higher so less ‘fitting’ required in assembly.

Often times the complex metal shapes need to be divided to get sharp curve details in stamping.

Double Wow,

Now if BMW would only give it some range and make it look normal, the i3 could really take off. I love the technology, performance and efficiency, but I hate the designer.

wavelet

CSS, do you have a link on that? I’d love to see more detail. For example, does this refer only to final assembly or to total production time.
I’m not surprised, since I suspect that just like a BEV has a lot fewer moving parts than an ICE/PHEV, it also has a lot fewer parts overall, so assembly should take less. This should be especially for a clean-slate BEV design like the i3, where ease of production could have been taken into account from the start, unlike ICE conversions.

Of course, more interesting than how long it takes is whether the production process itself is significantly _cheaper_ (for high volumes).

Anon

Toyota: “We can’t bleed too much money on this, till we win more hearts and minds on this Hydrogen BS”. 😉

Hahahahaha

too bad the joke is also at the expense of Japanese and Californian taxpayers.

Just wondering about the Math here: “One hydrogen refueling station costs up to ¥460 million ($3.86 million), which would would be enough to purchase and install 100-200 DC fast chargers (assuming $50,000-$100,000 each).”

At $100,000 (installed) each, that makes 38.6 Installs, and at $50,000 Each – that would be just 77 Stations! Still a lot – but it seems that math you quoted tripped up a bit, at least that’w what Excel math suggests!

> $3,860,000 / $100,000 = 38.6
> $3,860,000 / $50,000 = 77.2 (2X the above result)

Not quite 100, let alone 200, but – still – More than in Canada in Total for Quebec (11-14), Ontario (3), and British Columbia (12)!! (26-29 in all today!) Oh, +1 in Winnipeg = Max of 30 in Canada!

http://insideevs.com/infographic-data-electromobility-quebec/

http://www.plugshare.com/
Filtered for No Superchargers, but CHAdeMO and Combo Charging Stations on. (120V, NEMA 14-50, and J1772 Deselected for Clarity, as well as Tesla Charging HPWC Stations for Model S or Roadster Deselected!)

Lensman

Actually it’s much, much worse than that. The average U.S. gas station services about 1100 customers per day. How many cars can these publicly accessible H2 fueling station service per day?

At least some of the early “pilot” stations can’t service more than about 10-20 FCVs per day. But surely that will improve quickly, won’t it?

Well, Googling a bit, I find: “Hamburg… has Europe’s largest hydrogen refueling station in current operation. It supports 10 fuel-cell buses in daily operation and some 20 FCEVs.”

source: http://www.roadandtrack.com/new-cars/car-technology/news/a15807/road-signs-on-the-hydrogen-highway/

Not exactly a vision of the future, is it?

The amount of money being wasted here is simply mind-boggling. The only question is how long it will take for even those currently pushing the “hydrogen economy” to realize what a colossal waste of money it is.

Mr. Electric

Your numbers are way off. It’s hard to take your comment seriously.

There are 168,000 gas stations in the U.S. [1] and
254M cars [1]. That’s only 1500 cars per gas station *in total*. Assuming each car drives an average of 12K miles a year and gets 300 miles per tank, the average U.S. station services only 166 cars per day.

[1] http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/quizzes/answerQuiz16.shtml

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passenger_vehicles_in_the_United_States

Nick

You assume even distribution of vehicles using the huge number of stations?

pk

Yes, and of those 3 in Ontario, 1 is at Mitsubishi HQ and 1 is at Nissan HQ. They’re 1.3 km apart.
And the Nissan Chademo has been out of service for at least 3 weeks now.

The current cost of a CHAdeMO quick charging station is ~$16,500.

http://insideevs.com/current-cost-of-50-kw-chademo-dc-quick-charger-around-16500/

So, instead of one hydrogen filling station, we could have ~233 quick charging stations.

Instead of 10-20 cars per day, that is as many as 11,184 car per day (at one car every 30 minutes).

Hydrogen = !FAIL!

MDEV

3000 units per year is good enough to fill the needs of Toyota employees.

JakeY

I didn’t realize the process Toyota was using wasn’t scalable. I wonder if Hyundai has the same problem (haven’t heard any updates on the production rate right now on the Tuscon FCV).

Chris O

Anything can be scaled if you throw enough money at it. There is only so much Toyota can afford to lose on this red herring.

Francis L

A 3 years waiting list seems really impressive, but you understand the wait : only 5700 mirai to be produce in three years (if everything goes well)! This is like what Tesla, a new born automaker, makes in a month right now!

RS

Also 3000 a year would be less than 1% of the already small plug in market. It would be a niche inside a niche.

Or, stated another way … less than a month of either Model S’s or LEAFs at current production rate. (ie: expect to see over 100,000 S’s and LEAFs added to roads in same timeframe. (current S production alone is over 800/week and 1000/wk by year end)

If the Mirai was a plugin, that would make too much sense! It does have a battery, and charging it from the wall would be about 6X more efficient way to get energy to move the car forward.

David Murray

Sold out for the next 3 years? I’d like to find out who is buying them. I’d seriously love to talk to a person who is buying one and ask them to tell me what the appeal is of the vehicle.

Someone out there

Car collectors and rich technology geeks I guess.

Chris O

Most go to government fleets.

PVH

This fuel cell thing will probably fail but if it does let’s at least give credit to Toyota for closing a door. Its like communism, it failed but someone had to try.

Chris O

“Going beyond 3,000 vehicles a year would require a breakthrough in the way they are manufactured”

Sounds like a clever way of saying: building these cars costs us a fortune so until some miracle happens we just can’t afford to build more than 3000/year, just enough to make it all seem real.

Tman

This makes me wonder about BMWs decision to use toyota fuel cell as a REX for the upcoming i5. How is Toyota going to meet demand from BMW when they can’t make more than 3000.

Kaleb

Toyota, you had better hire one hell of a marketing department.

Chris O

Toyota’s marketing for this red herring is clever enough, it’s the technology that isn’t nowhere near ready for mass production.

One has to respect Toyota for its relative candour about this stuff though.

no comment

it appears to me that toyota is being very realistic here. it makes perfect sense to sell this car in low volumes because what they are selling is basically a prototype; and toyota recognizes that advances will have to be made to make this a viable automotive platform for the general public. that seems like a sensible approach to me and is fundamentally not that much different from what elon musk has been doing. i mean, even though the elon musk fanboys don’t realize it, the BEV is simply not a practical vehicle for the general public right now.

John Hollenberg

A BEV is an extremely practical vehicle for the general public right now, but not as a sole vehicle for a family. Most, like my Leaf, are commuter cars that end up being the primary car, with use of an ICE vehicle for special occasions. I often go two months without using the ICE vehicle.

no comment

i would agree with you on this.

Roger

As a Tesla Model S owner, I believe that you comment that a BEV is not practical as your only car. While this may be true about the Leaf, it is not true of a 250+ mile range Model S with the now nationwide Supercharger network. I have been exclusively driving the Model S locally and on road trips from NY to MI, NH, SC. The superchargers are so quick that it hardly slows you down at all. In less than a year there will be no place un the US that you can’t drive to using the Supercharger network (and the price of charging is included with the vehicle purchase).

Lensman

Seriously, they think they can sell 3000 a year?

Well, maybe to fleets that are already set up with a privately owned hydrogen fueling station. If you look at a map of H2 fueling stations in the USA, you quickly discover that the overwhelming majority don’t have public access, and I think most are government owned.

I don’t see these selling for private use, not even in Japan where the government is really pushing them. With the hydrogen fuel so expensive and so few stations dispensing H2 fuel to the public at large, why would anyone buy one? Even if a “fool cell” car was given away free, it wouldn’t be worth the ongoing expense and hassle of driving one.

Ryan

And they want our state governments to spend how much on hydrogen infrastructure for 800 Mirai to make it to California? W.T.F.

Lensman

Honda and Hyundai will also be selling “fool cell” vehicles, but don’t expect much larger production from them. Perhaps even smaller production.

Despite all the pro-hydrogen advertising coming from the three auto makers, their engineers understand what the politicians don’t: That hydrogen fueled cars are just a passing fad, and the fuel is much too expensive and too hard to generate and handle to ever be practical on a large scale basis.

Three auto makers are making FCVs to take advantage of government subsidies and carbon credits. Once reality sets in, and everyone can see what a colossal waste of money it is, the subsidies will disappear, and the auto makers will stop making them. The auto makers are quite aware the market is very limited and won’t last long, which is why they’re not investing in ramping up production.

Speculawyer

I think 3000 will be more than enough to satisfy the demand for this car.

Thomas J. Thias

The Feds, DoE, have a real time Alternative Fuel’s Fueling Station spreadsheet.

Know this, as of the last update the number of Public, H Fueling Stations, nationwide has rocketed to a total of 12. (Twelve)

Link Goes To DoE Alternative Fuels Data Center-

Last Updated 04.30.2015

http://www.afdc.energy.gov/fuels/stations_counts.html

Best-

Thomas J. Thias

517-749-0532

Publisher-

https://twitter.com/AmazingChevVolt

I’ll be very surprised if they sell / lease more than 1,000, and they may top out at a few hundred.

Toyota is a major disappointment – they have to know we are smarter than this. Hydrogen is just a pie in the sky energy delivery system.

wavelet

Volume production of the _car_ isn’t the issue here; Toyota has proven in the past to have good production engineering, and if they spend enough time & money on it they’ll improve the production process — this is after all a completely new kind of drivetrain in series production, and Toyota has a steep self-learning curve here.

The _current_ number of the refueling stations isn’t relevant either.

The real issue is of course that hydrogen FC-hybrid vehicles are a complete fail from the economic and environmental PoV.

Michael B.

I’m late to this game (article), but no one else mentioned the obvious, so I will: ‘Mirai’ is a very appropriate name for the car.

“…and in Japan the waiting queue for Mirai is already three years long! If you order Mirai now, delivery is expected in 2018.”