Friday, January 23rd 2015. | Auto & Motor, Car

Surprising both critics and Toyota itself, demand for the hydrogen fuel-cell Mirai passenger car has tripled expectations, with 1,500 orders placed in just the first month of availability. Toyota originally planned on selling a mere 400 examples in 2015, but has now revised that projection to include 700 built examples for this year, 2,000 built for 2016, and 3,000 built for 2017.

According to a report from AutoExpress, 60 percent of the orders came from Japanese government/private fleet customers, while the remaining 40 percent came from private buyers.

Major automakers, including Toyota, Honda, and Nissan, have recently expressed interest in collaborating with the Japanese government to build the infrastructure needed to support these new vehicles, with 2015 set as the target date for construction.

The Mirai’s success comes amid growing competition from other hydrogen-powered vehicles rolling out from Honda and Hyundai, as well as the development of future fuel-cell cars from BMW, Mercedes, and General Motors.

Toyota plans on offering the Mirai to customers in Europe and the U.S. later this year.

This is a critical moment for hydrogen power. Many automakers are hedging their bets when it comes to that next step past petrol, and if hydrogen fuel cells are to succeed, they will require a good deal of consumer interest, not only in Japan, but throughout the world as well.

Click past the jump to read more about the Toyota Mirai.

Toyota Plans to Triple Mirai Production Due to Unexpected Demand originally appeared on topspeed.com on Friday, 23 January 2015 15:00 EST.

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