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Barely any time has past since Toyota confirmed the “Mirai” name for its production hydrogen-powered car, and now Honda has fired a shot across the bow with its own fuel-cell vehicle. Called (very imaginatively) the Honda FCV Concept, the company’s latest flirtation with the lightest element on the periodic table is a development of LA 2013’s FCEV Concept, bringing the latter’s space-age design closer to sober reality.

Previewing a production model that will go on sale in Japan at the end of March 2016 (and in the US and Europe at a later date), the FCV Concept remains fairly faithful to the earlier showcar. The only significant differences include a larger cutout for the rear wheels (presumably to make tyre changes a lot easier), a reworked rear end design and the addition of fender vents and door mirrors.

The FCV Concept is said to be a successor to the FCX Clarity – the lease-only hydrogen-powered sedan introduced in 2008 – with better performance and lower cost. The new fuel-cell stack is 33% smaller than before, but power output is greater than the 100 kW produced by the Clarity, while its output density of 3.1 kW per litre trumps the Clarity’s 1.85 kW per litre by a staggering 60%.

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Honda says the FCV Concept is the world’s first fuel-cell vehicle to consolidate its entire powertrain – including the smaller fuel-cell stack – under the bonnet, enabling seating for five (the Mirai, by comparison, only holds four) as well as allowing the system to be adapted to a wider range of bodytypes.

A cruising range of over 700 km is made possible thanks to a 70 MPa high-pressure hydrogen tank, which can be refilled in just three minutes, about the same as a regular fuel fill-up. Try doing that in your electric car.

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When the production FCV Concept goes on sale in Japan, it will also be available with an external power feeding function, effectively turning it into a tiny mobile power plant. This will make the car handy for certain occasions, and could be essential in the event of a disaster, a distinct boon in the wake of 2011’s catastrophic Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.

To that end, the company is also showcasing the Honda Power Exporter Concept – an external power feeding device which delivers AC power output from the FCV Concept at a maximum rate of 9 kW – alongside the FCV Concept.