What the $57,900 Toyota Mirai rolled out last month, executives said that with current state and federal incentives, the Mirai could sell for as little as $45,000. However, Autoblog Green reports that Congress has let the $8,000 tax rebate for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles quietly expire, meaning the Toyota Mirai and other FCVs will have to go it alone in the effort to win hearts and minds.
Enacted in 2005 under then-President George W. Bush, the $8,000 tax credit applied to any vehicle between between the end of 2005 and the end of 2014. See, automakers like Toyota and Honda have been pledging that hydrogen cars are always “right around the corner” and convinced legislators to enact favorable laws to make the high prices more palatable. But what’s the point if you can’t even buy an applicable vehicle? Nevermind that the economies of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles just don’t make a lot of sense.
Surely there are those of you who will say “But that’s not fair! Electric cars like the Tesla Model S get a $7,500 tax credit!” To which I would reply that Toyota has had almost a decade to sell applicable fuel cell vehicles…and they just didn’t. At least not until electric and plug-in hybrids started making their way onto dealership lots and people actually bought them. Then all of the sudden it’s “LOOK OUR HYDROGEN CAR IS READY!!11” But even automakers like BMW believe that batteries, not hydrogen, is the fuel of the future.
Of course that won’t stop Toyota, Honda, and other believers in hydrogen from trying to get the tax credit reinstated. But facing four years of plug-in cars already on the roads and the first-mover disadvantage, even with the tax credit it will still likely be too little, too late.