The first Toyota Mirai fuel cell vehicles have arrived at Toyota’s import centre at Portbury, near Bristol in the UK. The cars, landed on Saturday, are part of the first consignment to reach Europe ahead of Mirai’s official launch there in September.

The world’s first mass-produced fuel cell saloon will be offered in selected European markets – the UK, Germany and Denmark – where hydrogen fuel supply and retail infrastructure is being developed. The limited units available in UK this year have already been snapped up, mainly by business and corporate customers.

“This marks the debut of a new age for clean mobility, a turning point in the history of the automobile. With Mirai and its fuel cell technology, Toyota is working on delivering clean, safe and enjoyable mobility for the next 100 years. As with Prius 15 years ago, we are proud to bring yet another ground-breaking innovation to the marketplace,” said Karl Schlicht, executive VP of Toyota Motor Europe.

Mirai – the name means “future” in Japanese – is designed to be as convenient to drive as a conventional petrol-powered car. Hydrogen fuel is stored on board in high pressure tanks and used to generate electricity in a chemical reaction with oxygen in a fuel cell stack. The energy produced is used to drive the car, with the only tailpipe emissions being water vapour.

The stack is located under the driver and front passenger seats and offers 3.1 kW/L of power output density, and other figures include a total output of 153 hp, a 0-100 km/h time of 9.0 seconds and a 40-60 km/h acceleration time of 3.0 seconds.

Refuelling from empty takes between three and five minutes at the pumps and Mirai has a driving range similar to conventionally powered vehicles. In the US, where the Mirai hit the market in the third quarter, it has an EPA-estimated driving range rating of 502 km on a single fill of hydrogen.