Wanting to get some exercise late yesterday afternoon, I decided to ride my bike out to San Ramon and check out the new H2 station at Toyota's regional office. Prior to this one opening, only True Zero had any stations in the Bay Area, and at least the one in Hayward charges $16.78/kg, which is high compared to the Air Products-owned stations in SoCal that charge $9.99/kg. AFAIA this is the first station in California to use LH2 delivery, which is supposed to reduce transportation costs, so I was curious to see if this station, owned by Air Liquide (like Air Products an industrial gas company) would be less expensive. The station's right on Norris Canyon Road, a double-sided dispenser with 350 bar on the north side and 700 bar on the south side. But the price is $20.16/kg.! They've got to be kidding! While at that price the Mirai can still get free fuel for all 36k miles of a 3 year lease, a Clarity (60k miles on a 3-yr. lease) will have to start paying for fuel after about 48-50k miles.
More importantly, the window of opportunity for consumer H2/FCEVs in California has now narrowed considerably, with the advent of the 310 mile range Tesla Model 3 for $44k base MSRP. While real world range, especially in cold conditions, will still likely be less than a Mirai (312 miles EPA) ,the SC network is considerably more extensive than the H2 fueling network inside the state, and also outside it where FCEVs currently can't venture. The Mirai's a much less compelling car, having only four seats, pedestrian performance, a design that puts off many people, and a limited trunk space without folding rear seats. Comparably equipped the Model 3's more like $50k, and an FCEV gets double the CA. rebate bringing the cars closer together in price, but unless someone simply has no way to charge the Model 3 at low cost locally, the Model 3's a more useful car. Now that Tesla has begun to construct SCs in urban areas specifically to cater for apartment/condo dwellers in that situation, that advantage will dwindle. The sole other advantage the Mirai now has it that it can be leased (as it should be), and until Tesla offers lease deals on the Model 3 we won't know how it compares in that area.
The Clarity's a better deal than the Mirai, offering 5 seats, 20k miles/yr. lease vice 12k, 366 miles of EPA range, better performance and somewhat less off-putting looks, but its trunk is even more restricted than the Mirai's. So, for H2/FCEVs to have any hope of succeeding here, they have to increase the rate of installations of stations, especially those that allow access to more areas of the state, and they must also bring the prices of H2 and the cars down substantially, and improve their performance. Both the Mirai and Clarity are fully-equipped compared to the base Model 3, so they can be de-contented by several thousand dollars, but they really need to up their game performance-wise at the same time. And H2 still needs to be brought down to where the price/kg. is approximately double the price of gas/gallon for it to compete.
Guy [I have lots of experience designing/selling off-grid AE systems, some using EVs but don't own one. Local trips are by foot, bike and/or rapid transit].
The 'best' is the enemy of 'good enough'. Copper shot, not Silver bullets.