Toyota To Sell 30,000 Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars Annually By 2020

OCT 26 2015 BY MARK KANE 64

2016 Toyota Mirai Fuel Cell Sedan

2016 Toyota Mirai Fuel Cell Sedan

Toyota revealed more about its plans for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

The flagship Mirai, which is “Flying Off Virtual Shelf,” according to the manufacturer, should reach over 30,000 sales annually by 2020.

So let’s sum this up (year/Toyota’s expected sales of Mirai):

  • 2015: 700
  • 2016: 2,000
  • 2017: 3,000
  • 2018: ?
  • 2019: ?
  • 2020: >30,000

Because sales in Japan are expected to be 1,000 units a month, the island nation could be the largest market for Mirai.

The only potential roadblock we see to this expected sales level (besides demand) is that currently the Mirai is built ‘supercar-style’, like the $400,000 Lexus LFA before it at Toyota’s Motomachi factory – in other words, completely by hand.

As it currently takes 13 workers a full day to assemble every three cars, it is understandable how slow it is to produce the Mirai, and how expensive.   Despite the advanced nature of the fuel cell vehicle, Toyota’s facility to build them doesn’t employee any automation at all, and not even a conveyor belt.

So while some might say that 30,000 cars per year is not a particularly lofty goal in the gran scheme of things, Toyota will also need to drastically change the way they produce the Mirai today to hit these targets.

Toyota Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles

Toyota Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles

Toyota treats battery electric as a personal mobility tool, so we shouldn’t expect any BEVs from Toyota right now.

Toyota is aware that to sell more Mirai, its needs to lower costs. The graph seems to be indicating cost cuts of maybe 75%?

Toyota Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles

Toyota Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles

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64 Comments on "Toyota To Sell 30,000 Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars Annually By 2020"

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It’s funny how when you see the drivetrain in graphical form, instead of making it more clear to understand it just shows how overly complicated the drivetrain is.

Just get rid of the overly complicated stuff in the blue bar and keep everything in the green bar. Just make the battery bigger.

The travel distance axis on the first picture and the way they bin the fuels is certainly a riot.

I would totally take them up on that bet. Until a refueling station or a car blows up…

If they could do this to trucks though, I’m 110% behind them. Knock yourself out! Trucks are hard to solve in BEV mode.

On taking a second look at the “Fuel Diversity and Uses” graphic, it occurred to me that it’s actually a fairly exact description of a frozen status quo.

That is, you’d have to:
a) drop that blue FCV sedan thing from the green ellipse
a) ignore that nuisance, Tesla, pointing the way to the present/future
b) ignore the imminent promise of 150-200 mi. medium priced EVs

Keep up the good work Toyota!

ClarksonCote said:

“The travel distance axis on the first picture and the way they bin the fuels is certainly a riot.”

Yeah. The suggestion that you can actually drive further on hydrogen fuel than gasoline… Well, Toyota is certainly shoveling out the B.S., innit? :-/

I suppose that if challenged on the point, a Toyota engineer could point out that H2 actually has a higher energy density per pound than gasoline. But at best that’s lying by omission, as it ignores the much lower energy density by volume, as well as the necessity to limit the very high-pressure storage tanks to a rather small size, so that the amount of chemical energy the car can store in the “gas tank” is far lower than that of a gasmobile.

Mirai has around 300 miles range and around 122 liter total of 2 fuel tanks. Somewhat bigger than gas tank, e.g. Camry tank is 70 l, but nothing special, the same order of magnitude as regular car.
Sure it is too expensive for now, but what you can expect at this early stage when it is built by hand like some supercar. It still costs less than Model S and you can use it even if you live in rented apartment without chargers like most people in Tokyo.


That’s after subsidies. The Mirai is far more than the Model S in actual production cost, not including $1M stations- each. The indirect California ZEV credit (thus, subsidizing Toyota’s ICE vehicles) is many multiples of the BEV credit.

Lol is the only valid response.

I Agree., L M A 0 ….would be the other valid response. cheers!

Agree but why do some people need to post 9 or 10 times? maybe it is time to have a limit of 2 or 3 posts.

Perhaps a FCV with plug in hybrid capability with decent BEV range might be the way to go in the future.

Or not bother with the FCV bit and put a few more battery cells in the car?

Just a thought.

Toyota is a bit crazy, also with FCV buses, every few weeks a city adds battery buses and all are happy with running cost, they will never switch to FCV.

China is the biggest consumer of BEV buses, but is also buying fuel cell buses. I wouldn’t count them out. Busses don’t have the refueling infrastructure problems fc cars and SUVs do, since they can fill at the depot.

CNG busses seem the most cost effective way to drop tail pipe emissions today, but drive down the price of fc, and get them to run on cng or methanol, or cheaper hydrogen and it could roll out. BC transit (2010 winter olympics) just mothballed theirs because of maintenance and fuel costs.

Why is this so hard to understand? The real barrier to mass adoption of “fool cell” vehicles, whether they’re cars or buses, isn’t the cost of the vehicle, which can be brought down over time, with sufficient volume production. The real barrier is the prohibitively high cost of the fuel (including the astoundingly high cost per vehicle for fueling stations), which can’t.

Well, never is rather strong. I would say if they ever are able to bring costs down it still will be too little too late.

Again, why is this so hard to understand?

You can never improve hydrogen. Never. It has the chemical and physical properties it has, period. Trying to find a clever way around the limitations of the Laws of Thermodynamics is what those pursuing perpetual motion do. Trying to improve the properties of hydrogen is every bit as impossible, and just as pointless.

You don’t need to improve properties of hydrogen, just reduce its price. It is going to happen, the same as it is happening with battery prices, but it is slow process.

Nope, hydrogen fuel will never come down significantly in price, because it can’t. That’s not mere opinion; it’s how the universe works.

“If only the world weren’t governed by the unfair and cruel laws of thermodynamics and economics, the hydrogen economy could rule the world.” — HVACman

FCV like this make more sense where space isn’t at a premium and only one centralized pumping station is needed.

The article doesn’t state where or how the H2 is produced; a critical piece of data.

And for better or for worse, the first Ballard hydrogen FC bus produced under this deal has just been put into service in China.

Meanwhile Proterra and BYD are outselling them by several times. With Volvo, Wright, and other Europeans already rolling.

Keep flailing, pal. Keep flailing.


“Maybe ask China why they are adopting hydrogen fuel cell trams.”

Totalitarian governments are notorious for enormous amounts of wasteful spending and for promoting policies causing gross inefficiencies and waste in the economy. Fuel Cell trams/ buses seem a perfect fit for a country like China.

You realize you are saying this about the country leading the world in wind and solar power unit production. That also came from a totalitarian decision. You have to spend energy to save energy.

I’ll have whatever Toyota is smoking.

Nothing, That would be unsafe around high pressured tanks.

We’re getting a view of the Japanese corporate structure.
Clearly, Toyota is subject to bribery or extortion.

Is this from the Fracking Industry in Japan or the Yakuza?

Several commercial natural gas suppliers are among the companies backing the “hydrogen highway” in Japan.

This should come to a surprise to no one, except perhaps the few die-hards still claiming that “fool cell” vehicles might possibly be practical someday.

Because Tesla out performs, vastly, on the top end.
And the Volt is a FAR BETTER Hybrid.
And the Leaf is a good EV now, and will be Great in 3 years.

Dead ends everywhere.

By 2020 batteries should hold near 4x more energy, be far cheaper and recharge much faster (15 min quick charge). Toyota might as well spend billions on reviving Betamax.

“Toyota To Sell 30,000 Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars Annually By 2020”

The ad campaign for the Mirai has gone from absurd to downright embarrassing for Toyota. They should give away a gold-plated scoop shovel with every car, to commemorate how much pure B.S. they’re shoveling out!

Reminds me of an advertising campaign from a previous era:

“1959 Edsel: Makes history by making sense”

Yeah, I made that comparison a year ago, as so many have. The latest Toyota commercial is Play Now! Well that is the attitude Toyota seems to be adopting towards their business too in regards to the FCV.
What they don’t do in their “Play Now” commercial is complete the sentence. Play now, pay later.
The whole thought is an admonishment that if you goof off now, later on you will have to pay.
Toyota simply dropped the consequences from their foolish, fuel-cellish, play.

I won’t believe them until I see a credible plan to drastically reduce the cost of hydrogen. I really don’t understand how they can put out statements like this without addressing this crucial drawback of the technology.

They have not shown how they can actually mass produce their FC cars at this point.

Nor the stations. Just ask California Fuel Cell Partnership, whose headquarters installed two EVSEs from competing OEMs- but not a single
hydrogen pump.

30K Mirai, talk about flogging a dead horse.

No way. The card board Lexus will definitely keep the Mirai’s sales boxed in.

Unless it rains.

Wait, by 2020, it should be time for Mirai Gen 2 (now under development). They’re talking about it – It will be just like the Mirai Gen 1, but with the new “zero volume/zero cost” FC, hydrogen tank, and air compressor, and with a slightly larger battery (60 kWh). And the Gen 2 “all-electric” FCV will have both L2 and FCDC chargers to provide optimal electrical “backup” just in case the owner has problems finding affordable and local hydrogen fuel sources for the (now-zero volume/zero cost) FC/hydrogen fuel system.

Haha! Most consumers of the FCV would be clueless anyway, so they may as well do this and therefore, most importantly, not lose credibility.

By 2020, Plug-ins should be approaching widespread adoption with the curve really starting to take off because of 200 mile EVs and cheaper batteries starting to proliferate.

Outside of Japan, fool cell cars are going to be DOA by then.

Sorry to wake you up, but get real, battery electric vehicles are not going to be any more than 10% of the US market by 2020 at best, and few years afterwards. Or much less than 10% worldwide.
E.g. ReX generator for BMW i3 costs around $4000 extra RETAIL LIST PRICE and may give virtually unlimited range if BMW would increased tank size a bit. What battery you can buy for $4000 RETAIL price? 20-40 kWh at most even in 2020, and it would not have unlimited range, you would still need to spend hardly predictable amount of time in charging stations on longer road trip.

Unlimited range?
So you’re leaving to mars or Pluto?

Unlimited range sound just like unlimited foulness or anything for that matter.

The graphic that shows BEV’s only used for tiny golf cart sized local commuting is almost insulting. It’s like they’re trying to not see the potential of EV’s at all.

That’s what gets me too. If they made a Prius EV, they can easily sell every copy they make. I can turn a blind eye to the hydrogen promotion if they did that.

However, for them to continue claiming EVs will never be viable for anything other than essentially golf cart NEVs doesn’t make any sense to me.

They sold maybe 5 million Priuses total. Everything accounted, they are greener cars than Ultimate Hype Machine aka Model S, which got irrelevant niche market in comparison. Enthusiasts and fanatics don’t make mass-market. They may buy several thousands whatever vehicles at whatever price, but you need practical and rational arguments for mass market customers and LiIon battery technology is not yet read for the task yet. Though I’m not claiming it is not suitable for niche markets or that it will not improve in few years.

Somehow I doubt that BMW, Audi, or Lexus would agree that the Tesla Model S has an “irrelevant niche market”. 😉

Enthusiasts and fanatics are the ones who introduce the technology that later becomes mass-market. Fuel injection, turbocharging, disc brakes, antilock brakes, twin overhead camshafts, 4-valve heads, aluminum bodies & engine blocks, aerodynamics, need I go on? Those were all exotic technologies used in low-production sports cars a few decades ago, and now have been common in production cars for decades, making them faster and safer.

Show some respect for the enthusiasts who made our cars possible.

“The only potential roadblock we see to this expected sales level (besides demand) is . . .”

LOL! Great deadpan delivery Mark. 😀



I mean it!

Seriously and honestly.

Why wouldn’t I take seriously pace of ramping up production from biggest car oem on whole planet earth, that is equal to some smallish start up from USA? 😛 😛 😛

So it’s possible you’re being sarcastic (Poe’s Law and all).

Still, hydrogen networks and pumping stations don’t fly- each pump is a million dollars. And the “Japanese miracle”/”Toyota Way” does not apply to infrastructure or anything else built in onesy-twosies. Just ask their aerospace industry, and see how well they scale up in size, and down in quantity. Or rather, how poorly.

Hmmm, mass-produced, small-sized infrastructure… that sounds like… EVSEs!

And I would like to announce that by 2020 I will be the King of Canada, despite not being a Canadian citizen and Canada, you know, not having a king.


Well, I gotta hand it to Toyota for one thing: Their increasingly Ludicrous™ ad campaign for the Mirai is inspiring some of the best snarky comments I’ve ever read!

“and Canada, you know, not having a king”

Funniest (and most relevant and accurate) statement around. Kind of reminds me of “The Emperors New Clothes”, what with Toyota weaving “new clothes” for the Mirai.

Toyota can’t even produce windshield wipers that withstand the corrosive effects of the environment, so I have no idea how well their hydrogen drivetrain components will holdup.

Aerospace companies find hydrogen challenging to work with. And yet Toyota thinks they can pull off mass producing a 10,000 psi hydrogen fuel system without any mishaps?

With the “King of Recalls” building FCVs, what could possibly go wrong?

If only Toyota’s windshield wipers were as reliable as Tesla’s door handles.

That’s true. Then Toyota wouldn’t have had to issue a recall.

Huh? Tesla door handles have failed and needed replacing on just about every Model S sols, some more than once. And it costs $2,500 per each door handle to replace out of warranty. The only reason it wasn’t a safety recall is because unlike windshield wipers it doesn’t affect driveability. but be rest assured, the failure rate of Tesla door handles is orders of magnitudes greater than the failure rate of Toyota windshield wipers. Toyota is being proactive, while Tesla is being reactive. You’d be crazy not to get the extended warranty on a Model S. Replacing all four Tesla door handles out of warranty would cost you $10,000, while an extended warranty costs $4,000 with a $500 deductible.

Maybe they can sell 30,000 of these things in China, but with their economy slowing down, I haven’t heard any news of many electricity shortages lately.

So this rather upsets the economics for fuel-celled cars. I know China is big into Nuclear, so maybe they’ll get the hydrogen really cheap from the next generation Nuke plants since they operate at higher temperatures.

But I don’t see many sales in the states, and I don’t see how the ‘forced sales’ in California what with the generous subsidies given Fuel – Cell so called ‘zero emission’ vehicles can continue for a significant period of time, since the state is almost as broke as Illinois is.

Guess how many Electrics and Plugins will be sold by 2020.
Already China has taken top spot in EV/Plugin combo and intends to install 5 million chargers nationwide by 2020.
Lets see whether Toyota can stand alone in pushing FCVs.