Having officially debuted the Toyota Mirai, the automaker needs a place to build its hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. But with extremely limited sales expectations, they can’t exactly devote an entire factory floor to production of a few hundred vehicles. Instead, the Toyota Mirai will be built in the same skunk works facility once devoted to production of the Lexus LFA supercar, reports Automotive News.
Relegated to a facility behind Toyota’s massive Motomachi assembly plant in Toyota City, the former LFA works will be turned over to the Mirai team, which will hand build each of the fuel cell vehicles as they’re ordered. With 200 orders already, the facility already has plenty of work ahead of it, though it’s been fairly quiet since LFA production ended in December 2012 with 500 vehicles built. Toyota has tested out other ideas at the facility since then, including carbon fiber roofs, though a hybrid replacement for the LFA is said to be in the works too.
Toyota has much bigger ambitions for the Mirai though, as the automaker sees some 3,000 of its FCVs on roads by the end of 2017. Those placing an order today won’t see a delivery until next summer, though Toyota admits that almost all of the initial orders come from government or private vehicle fleets. Actual consumers it seems are hard to come by. That’s a good problem for Toyota to have though, as even at peak production, the former LFA factory will be producing just Mirai every day. Toyota is aiming for 700 sales by the end of 2015, and with 200 sales already into things are off to a good start.
Then again, there were some 500 orders for the Tesla Model X within 4 days of its debut, and anybody wanting to buy the $136,000 BMW i8 hybrid supercar will have to wait up to 18 months before taking delivery. The Mirai is cheaper than both by a wide margin, but people aren’t in nearly as much of a rush to order one.
With Toyota already warning of production delays after just 200 orders, it doesn’t seem like the automaker is in any rush to usher in the age of hydrogen vehicles. Maybe its waiting for the economics of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles to make a little more sense?