Toyota targets London for hydrogen fleet sales
18 June 2015
Author: Daniel Puddicombe
Toyota is specifically targeting its forthcoming Mirai hydrogen fuel-cell car at fleets in London when it goes on sale in the third quarter of this year.
Jon Hunt, fleet marketing manager for Toyota, told BusinessCar the company chose London due to the refuelling infrastructure already in place. There are currently three hydrogen fuelling stations in London and 12 in the UK.
Hunt confirmed the Mirai would cost "in the £60,000s", and the company is in the process of creating a leasing plan for fleets.
For the first year, Toyota will sell the car directly as it wants to "develop the relationship centrally".
"With a pioneering new model, we plan to deliver a new level of personal service," Hunt claimed.
The Mirai has a range of 300 miles and Hunt said it takes around four minutes to fill its tank.
Globally, Mirai production is expected to reach 700 units this year with the majority of the vehicles going to America and Japan. In 2016, Toyota is expecting to produce 1600 Mirais. While the UK won't be the lead market globally, London and Copenhagen will lead for Europe.
Toyota is working with the European Union and the HyFive (Hydrogen for Innovative Vehicles) project to help businesses fund purchases.
HyFive is a consortium of Hyundai, BMW, Toyota, Daimler and Honda aims to deploy 110 fuel-cell EVs in Europe this year.
Hyundai recently announced its ix35 fuel cell vehicle will be priced from £53,105 with a part-subsidy from HyFive; however, Hunt was quick to distance the Mirai from the ix35.
"The Mirai is right-hand drive, compared to the ix35, which is left-hand drive and is built on an existing platform."We haven't just said 'this technology is expensive, let's recoup the cost immediately' - we know it will take some time to get it back," he added.
Hunt also suggested other hydrogen models would follow the Mirai. "We created it [the Mirai] as a saloon, which is the hardest to package, so it will be easy to put the tech into an SUV," Hunt said.
In March, the Department for Transport announced it is investing £6.6m in seven new hydrogen projects across the UK as part of its drive for greener vehicles. The money will be used to form a larger network of hydrogen refuelling stations.