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Honda has started sales of its Clarity Fuel Cell vehicle in Japan. The spiritual successor to the FCX Clarity, a lease-only hydrogen-powered vehicle introduced in 2007, made its debut at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show in October last year.

The Clarity is the world’s first five-passenger sedan type fuel cell vehicle (FCV), realised by making the fuel cell powertrain more compact using original Honda technologies and fitting it entirely under the hood of the car, the company says. The Toyota Mirai is a four-seater.

Combined with improved powertrain efficiency and a reduced energy requirement for driving, a 70 MPa high-pressure hydrogen storage tank provides a cruising range of approximately 750 km in the Japanese cycle, an increase of around 30% compared to the previous FCV model. This also means that the Clarity has the best range among all zero emissions cars today, surpassing the Mirai FCV’s 502 km (US EPA-estimated) range. By the way, FCVs emit only water vapour from the tailpipe.

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The long range improves the practicality of the Clarity as an everyday car. Its hydrogen tank can be refilled in around three minutes, not too different from a regular internal combustion engined car.

Despite the reduction of the powertrain’s size, output is up. The motor in the Clarity is good for 130 kW at 500 volts, which is up from the 100 kW at 300 volts produced by the FCX Clarity. Its output density of 3.1 kW per litre, meanwhile, betters the FCX’s 1.85 kW per litre by a staggering 60%. Torque is also up, with 300 Nm of twist compared to the 256 Nm.

The Clarity Fuel Cell is even powerful enough to be a donor. In combination with a portable external power output device called the Power Exporter 9000, which also went on sale together with the car, the Clarity can function as a “power source on wheels” capable of supplying approximately seven-days’ worth of electricity for an average (Japanese) household.

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For the first year, Honda will focus on lease sales of around 200 units to local government bodies or businesses it has already been working with for the popularisation of FCVs. During this period, Honda will collect info and feedback before retail sales to individual customers begin.

Honda will start with small-volume production at Tochigi, eventually expanding production volume for the FCV. The company plans to introduce the Clarity Fuel Cell to Europe and the US before the end of 2016. In Japan, it is priced at 7.66 million yen (RM276,343). We’ve sampled this amazing machine and you can read our first impressions story for more.

GALLERY: Honda Clarity Fuel Cell at Tokyo 2015