When it launches in December of 2015, the hydrogen powered Toyota Mirai will be priced at $57,900 before incentives and come with free fuel for up to three years. Not ready to commit that much to an unproven technology? Then the $499 a month lease (also with free fuel) might be more your speed.
While earlier quotes had priced the Mirai at closer to $70,000 in its native Japan, Toyota’s lower price point for the U.S. market (specifically, California) could make it more palatable to buyers wallets, the few Toyota is expecting at least. The automaker has plans to sell just 200 of its hydrogen fuel cell sedans in 2015, and a grand total of 3,000 through the end of 2017.
Initial sales will begin in California, where right now buyers can get up to $13,000 off of any hydrogen fuel cell vehicle purchase. Unfortunately for Toyota, the $8,000 Federal tax credit expires at the end of 2014, which leaves just the $5,000 California is willing to contribute. While Toyota seems confident California buyers will be able to own a Mirai for under $45,000 after total rebates, that all hinges on an extension of that generous Federal tax rebate. And buyers in other states (more specifically, New York and Massachusetts) may or may not be eligible for local rebates.
For all intents and purposes, that means the Mirai is still gonna cost in the $50,000 range, which more than likely means assertions that Toyota will lose a sizable amount of money on each Mirai it sells are true. That’s where the $499 a month lease ($3,649 down payment) comes in, along with the free fuel, which Toyota says will initially cost around $50 for a full tank worth about 300 miles of driving.
There’s also question regarding the look of the Mirai. It is, quite frankly, a polarizing design that people are likely to either love or loathe. I fall into the latter camp primarily because of the absolutely massive front air ducts that make the fenders look like wide-mouthed bass. Besides the slitted headlights and funky taillights, it looks like a Toyota Corolla to me. While Toyota is planning to rollout 48 fueling stations in California and the Northeast, though most of those won’t be online until 2016.
In order to be sure customers are happy with their cars, Toyota is including 24/7 roadside assistance, 24/7 concierge service, an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty, trip interruption reimbursement, and a loaner vehicle. That’s a lotta freebies for a money-losing car, and even Toyota’s own sales estimates are shockingly conservative at just 3,000 vehicles over the next two years. By comparison, the Nissan LEAF sold over 2,500 vehicles in the U.S. just last month.
If hydrogen really is the fuel of the future, it’s a future that’s going to take some time to get here.