In the meantime, Toyota and Hyundai are only allowing specialised fleets to run its test vehicles in trail scenarios, as there is only one refuelling point in Canberra and one in Melbourne. There is a third refuelling point behind Hyundai’s head office in Sydney.
However, other hydrogen refuelling stations are due to come on stream in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne in the next two to three years; in Europe hydrogen is available alongside petrol and diesel bowsers at selected service stations.
When asked if it would be at least five to 10 years before hydrogen-powered cars would be available for the public to buy locally, a senior Toyota Australia executive told CarAdvice “I think it’s probably less than that”.
“I think it’s a couple of years,” said Sean Hanley, Toyota Australia’s head of sales and marketing. “I’m not thinking it’s five years … I’m thinking it might be two to three years away.”
Toyota says it will handle the rollout of the Mirai hydrogen car at first, but eventually it will be sold alongside the Corolla, Camry, RAV4, and HiLux in suburban showrooms.
“We’ve said to our dealer network initially we’ll manage the Mirai launch, only because the infrastructure is limited,” said Mr Hanley.
“But it’s our full intention – and I’m on record as talking to our own dealer network – (that) as soon as we get some more widespread refuelling options, our intention is the Mirai will be sold as a mainstream vehicle by all our Toyota dealers.”
Market leader Toyota has dominated hybrid sales over the past 20 years, and says it now wants to lead the way with hydrogen power.