Mirai, which means “future” in Japanese, is designed to be as convenient to drive as a petrol-powered car. It takes three to five minutes to be refuelled and has a driving range similar to conventional cars. Above all, it only emits the water vapour produced by the reaction between hydrogen and oxygen.

The four-door Mirai is currently being offered in the UK, Germany and Denmark, where infrastructure for fuel cell cars is being developed. The attractiveness of the saloon car has already been felt in the UK, where the cars were quick to be picked up by business and corporate customers after arriving in Bristol earlier this fall.

Karl Schlicht, executive vice president of Toyota Motor Europe, says the introduction of the world’s first mass-produced fuel cell car marks the debut of a new age for clean mobility.

“With Mirai and its fuel cell technology, Toyota is working on delivering clean, safe and enjoyable mobility for the next 100 years,” he says.

Toyota used the experience and technical know-how from its hybrid car, the Prius, to develop the fuel cell system, and it hopes the introduction of the Mirai will lead to greater understanding and acceptance of this new technology globally.