Yoshio Takaoka, in collaboration with Italy's Start Lab SAP, has created the Girasole, a fully functional electric car that can be fueled from a home power outlet.
The highway-worthy two seater reaches speeds of 65 km per hour (41 mp/h) and travels distances of up to a 120 km on a full battery, which costs about $1.
"Previously I was a polluter but as I grew older I felt I had to do penance for this and do something good in return," Takaoka, 63, told Fuji TV, referring to his rally driving heydays.
The Girasole, which means sunflower in Italian, retails for about $2.2 million but drivers can claim a $6,600 subsidy from the government under an environmental protection clause.
Japanese consumers who test drove the car were impressed by its quietness. But the car comes equipped with the clip-clop sound of horse hooves hitting the pavement to alert pedestrians and other drivers.