Production of the 2015 hydrogen fuel cell Toyota Mirai will be increased by 75 per cent over originally forecasts thanks to strong interest from buyers in Japan.
The revised Toyota Mirai production plan calls for 700 fuel cell sedans to be built this year (up from 400). The company then plans to make around 2000 Mirais in 2016 and roughly 3000 in 2017.
Toyota claims it has received 1500 orders for the car since the Mirai went on sale in its homeland in the middle of December 2014. According to the company, it decided “the supply structure should be adjusted to reflect the level of demand for the vehicle”, especially considering that the Mirai will be launched in select markets throughout the US and Europe this year.
The 1850kg front-wheel-drive Toyota Mirai features a hydrogen fuel cell stack that draws oxygen from the atmosphere and hydrogen from two on-board high pressure gas tanks. When the oxygen and hydrogen meet within the fuel cell they combine to form water, emitted as exhaust, and electricity that’s used to power the car’s 113kW/335Nm electric motor.
Unlike a pure electric car, the Mirai takes roughly three minutes to refuel. Depending on the measurement standard used, the Mirai is said to have a range of between 480 and 600 kilometres.
The Mirai is the first hydrogen fuel cell vehicle from a major car maker to be made available for purchase rather than lease, and in Japan carries an asking price of 7.24 million yen ($74,700).
Earlier this month, at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Toyota announced that it hoped to speed up the development of hydrogen fuel cell technology and infrastructure by making its hydrogen fuel cell patents available on a free licence.