Priced at $70,000 and with a fueling infrastructure found only in Southern California, it’s safe to say the first hydrogen-powered Toyota FCV will have limited appeal. Maybe that’s why the first Toyota FCV will be raffled off with help from the Environmental Media Association to one lucky resident of Southern California.
It’ll likely be called the Toyota Mirai (which means “future” I’m told) when it does hit the market, and only residents of SoCal are eligible for the contest. It’ll also cost you $100 for a single raffle ticket, or $500 for six chances to win the hydrogen fuel cell sedan. It’s an unorthodox method of launching the car they’re pinning the company’s alternative fuel hopes on, though the proceeds will benefit the EMA, which harnesses media and celebrity star power to promote environmental causes. American automakers do something kinda similar though, routinely auction off the first VIN number of a major new car launch like the Ford Mustang or Chevy Corvette, the latter of which sold for $1 million with last year’s launch of the Stingray.
The winner will be announced on October 18th, which is just over a week away, though actual production of the Toyota FCV won’t begin until December. Hyundai was actually the first out of the gate with a production hydrogen fuel vehicle with the launch of the Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell crossover earlier this year, and the leases get free fuel with their purchase. The winner of Toyota’s raffle will actually get to own their vehicle, a nice change that is perhaps an indication of just how serious Toyota is about this technology. Other automakers think fuel cells are a dead end technology outside of Japan, where they will be heavily discounted, and you can cont me among the skeptics.
Unfortunately there aren’t any national level incentives in place for hydrogen vehicles just yet, though the Toyota FCV may qualify for California’s $2,500 ZEV credit. The Golden State is also helping fund the necessary hydrogen fueling infrastructure, but the hard part is going to be convincing the masses that hydrogen fuell cells are superior to electric vehicles, despite all the proof to the contrary.