Toyota Motor Corp. said Thursday it has received about 1,500 orders in Japan for its "Mirai" hydrogen fuel-cell sedan in the first month since its launch, nearly four times higher than expected.
Toyota released the world's first mass-produced hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle on December 15, 2014 with sales target of 400 units in Japan by the end of 2015, and 300 in the rest of the world in the first year.
According to Toyota, about 60 percent of the orders came from government offices and corporate fleets, while 40 percent from individual consumers. The world's largest automaker plans to start selling the Mirai in the US and Europe next Summer.
The four-door Mirai sedan will retail for JPY 7.24 million (USD 63,000), with the government planning to subsidize about JPY 2 million for each buyer.
Using hydrogen as fuel to generate electricity, the Mirai, which means future in Japanese, achieves superior environmental performance with the convenience and driving pleasure expected of any car. The Mirai can cruse 650 kilometers and hydrogen refueling time takes about three minutes, the auto giant said.
Fuel-cell vehicles are able to generate their own electricity from hydrogen, which can be generated using a wide range of natural resources and man-made byproducts such as sewage sludge. It can also be created from water using natural renewable energy sources like solar and wind power. When compressed, it has a higher energy density than batteries, and is relatively easy to store and transport.
Honda Motor Co. also announced a fuel-cell concept car last November.