Source: Toyota

Toyota Motor Corp (ADR) (NYSE:TM) knows well the challenges emanating from the nascent fuel cell infrastructure in the US. Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) as well as its Supercharger network is being challenged by Toyota in an attempt to triumph in the alternative fuel vehicle competition. Tesla has nearly 500 Supercharger stations worldwide including many in the US. Many more are set to open in 2016.

Mirai will be launched in October this year in the state of California. The vehicle comes with an asking price of $58,000. Tesla’s Model S can only travel 270 miles before requiring a fuel refill whereas Toyota’s hydrogen-powered Mirai can travel 312 miles without a fuel refill. It hardly takes 5 minutes to fill the Mirai with hydrogen. A Tesla Model S needs more than an hour to charge at a Supercharger Station.

The disadvantage of Mirai is there are hardly 12 filling stations in the US. An electric car such as Tesla’s can be charged at home or at public charging stations.

Toyota is presently restricting Mirai sales to California. In the state, there are 48 hydrogen filling stations in different stages of development. Two stations have been completed. Around eight are still in the construction phase. It is expected to have 10 to 15 stations in operation by the end of this year. In other words, they are ready to serve Mirai customers. Around 20 more will be ready in 2016.

Toyota has started taking orders for its hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicle from this month onwards. The target is to sell 3,000 vehicles by 2017.

It certainly looks like Mirai will pose a formidable challenge to Tesla in the alternative fuel vehicle segment. Tesla needs to pull up its shoes to stay ahead in the market. Hydrogen is very appealing because of its widespread availability and no emissions. But current technology indicates it will only be widely adopted in the distant future.

Sources: Forbes, Mashable