Toyota will release the Mirai in Japan on Dec. 15. The company is planning to sell the hydrogen fuel cell sedan mainly in eight regions, including Tokyo, where hydrogen fuel cell vehicle charging facilities are being set up. At present, about 40 such stations are available in Japan, mainly in large cities. The Mirai is priced at 7.23 million yen (US$60,820) and the automaker is planning to sell 400 units of it next year while launching it in the United States as well.
In the meantime, Hyundai Motor Company has supplied the hydrogen fuel cell vehicle version of its Tucson ix to local governments in Korea. However, the price is approximately 150 million won (US$133,878), which is almost double that of the Mirai. Only two have been sold so far in Korea due to the lack of infrastructure, and only 190 or so in the United States and Europe, most of which went to public institutions. Its plan to sell 1,000 units of the model by 2015 seems to be unachievable.
Toyota is ahead of Hyundai in patent competitiveness, too. According to the Korean Intellectual Property Office, a total of 685 patents relating to hydrogen fuel cell cars are in effect in the United States, and Hyundai has less than 20 percent of Toyota’s in number.
“Hyundai is being outpaced by Toyota in the fuel cell vehicle as well as hybrid vehicle segment, even though the former succeeded in the manufacturing of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles for the first time in the world,” said an industry expert, adding, “Expansion of government subsidies and Hyundai’s efforts for higher price competitiveness are becoming more and more urgent.”