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IPFS News Link • Transportation

Toyota's Hydrogen Future Is Crumbling As Owners File Lawsuits, Call For Buybacks

•, By: Rob Stumpf

Mirai means "future" in Japanese. When Toyota made a big bet that hydrogen was the future of driving, naming its first hydrogen-powered Fuel Cell EV the Toyota Mirai seemed a fitting move for those huge ambitions.

Things haven't worked out that way. As early adopters found out, the Mirai wasn't the ideal future that so many wanted it to be. In fact, the crumbling infrastructure and depreciation have some owners calling on Toyota for a buyback—and even filing lawsuits over their experience. Today, many of them are furious, feeling deceived over buying a car they felt had immense potential but never got the fueling infrastructure necessary to back it up. 

"There [is] no longer any hydrogen fuel available in San Francisco where I live. Toyota continues to sell this vehicle. How is this acceptable?" said Shawn Hall, one of several Mirai owners who spoke to InsideEVs. "Besides the South San Francisco station, the next closest stations are 40 miles one way to Sunnyvale, or 15 miles [across either the Golden Gate or Bay Bridges, which means] paying a bridge toll of $8.75 or $7 in addition to traffic, time, and wasted fuel. And even though the online map or Fuel app within the Mirai console says there is available fuel, there's no guarantee that is true."

It's a common outcome: owners like Hall would find themselves driving to these hydrogen stations only to find them offline or out of order, sometimes for days while the station was waiting for a repair or even just a delivery of hydrogen.

In some cases, drivers would pull up to a pump only to find another car frozen to the hydrogen nozzle due to the extremely low temperatures where hydrogen is stored. This turned five-minute fueling sessions into an hour or more of being stuck while waiting for a station tech to arrive and unfreeze the car. Meanwhile, other cars running next to empty are lining up for multiple hours and unable to reach the next station due to lack of fuel.

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