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Honda first to market hydrogen car

Posted on: Thursday, June 19, 2008

Honda has announced the first limited production of a hydrogen car with 200 of its FCX Clarity model to be released in Japan and the US over the next three years.

The Clarity, like other such cars at the prototype stage at rival carmakers, is powered by a hydrogen fuel cell and boasts zero greenhouse gas and other pollutants. It's only emissions are of water vapour.

Honda ClarityHydrogen fuel-cell cars are said to be the next generation beyond plug-in electric cars, set to arrive in numbers from 2010, and the petrol-electric hybrids currently available.

Honda will only offer the Clarity under lease, at a cost of $600 per month to American motorists.

The company says the car has a range of 270 miles (430 kilometres) per tank, 30 per cent higher than the last model, and can reach a speed of 100 miles per hour (160kmh). Hydrogen consumption is equivalent to 74 miles per gallon, three times greater than that of gasoline.

The Clarity is not Honda's first hydrogen car but its cost of production has come down substantially from previous attempts after recent advances in fuel cell design. Honda President Takeo Fukui said the car still costs hundred of thousands of dollars to make but it could be made for under $100,000 well within ten years - at which point mass market production will be viable.

The Clarity is only being offered to US residents around Los Angeles where three existing hydrogen fuel stations are located. The lack of retail distribution network for hydrogen fuel is a major factor holding back the advance of the car to mass production.

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