Honda fuelcell car rolls off line and into celebrity driveways USATODAY com

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Honda FCX Clarity

By Tomoko A. Hosaka, AP Writer

Japan Honda’s new green fuel-cell car rolled off a Japanese line Monday, headed to

The FCX Clarity, which runs on and electricity, emits only and none of the noxious fumes to induce global warming. It is two times more energy than a gas-electric hybrid and times more than a gasoline-powered car, the company

Honda expects to lease a few units this year and 200 units within three In California, a three-year lease run $600 a month, which maintenance and collision coverage.

the first customers are actress Lee Curtis and filmmaker husband Guest, actress Laura film producer Ron Yerxa, as as businessmen Jon Spallino and Jim Salomon.

so smooth, said Harris, who villainness Marie Warner on the hit TV 24 and was flown over by Honda for the It’s like a future but it’s not.

The FCX Clarity is an improvement of its previous-generation vehicle, the FCX, introduced in

A breakthrough in the design of the fuel-cell the unit that powers the motor, allowed engineers to the body, expand the interior and efficiency, Honda said.

The cell draws on energy through a chemical reaction hydrogen gas and oxygen in the air, and a battery pack provides power. The FCX Clarity has a range of 270 miles per tank with consumption equivalent to 74 miles per according to the carmaker.

The 3,600-pound can reach speeds up to 100 miles per

John Mendel, executive president of America Honda said at a morning ceremony it is an especially significant day for American as we plant firm footsteps the mainstreaming of fuel cell

However, the cost of the car and scarcity of fuel stations are still For the Clarity’s release in California, said it received 50,000 through its website but could consider those living stations in Torrance, Santa and Irvine.

Initially, however, the will go only to a chosen few in July and then launch in this fall.

California Arnold Schwarzenegger has called for a network of hydrogen stations, but has been slow.

The state has recently relaxed a mandate for the of zero-emission cars it aims to on roads. By 2014, automakers now sell 7,500 electric and fuel- cell vehicles, a of 70%.

Spallino, who currently drives older FCX and was also flown in for the said he will use the Clarity to to and from work and for destinations the Los Angeles area. The small of hydrogen fuel stations is the limiting factor for fuel-cell he said.

It’s more and it handles well, said of Redondo Beach. It’s got You’re not sacrificing anything range.

The world’s major have been making investments in fuel cells and alternative fuel vehicles climbing oil prices and concerns climate change.

Although Motor was the first Japanese to launch a gas-electric hybrid in the U.S. in 1999, it has been by the dominance of Toyota’s popular

Honda FCX Clarity

Toyota announced in May that it has more than 1 million hybrids, while both the Insight and the hybrid Accord been discontinued due to poor

The FCX Clarity is part of Honda’s to compete keep pace rivals in green technology. It plans to launch several hybrid-only models, as well as versions of the Civic and Fit subcompact.

has announced that it would a plug-in hybrid with lithium-ion batteries by 2010 and a fuel-cell vehicle later in later this year.

carmaker General Motors to introduce a Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle in 2010. It introduced a test-fleet of hydrogen cell Equinox SUVs.

has no plans for a plug-in electric President Takeo Fukui he does not believe current technology is good enough to a feasible car.

The company has not revealed how much car costs to make, and it is unclear or if, the car will be available for mass-market Takeo has set a target for 2018, but that goal will on whether Honda can significantly development and assembly costs as as market reaction to fuel

In the meantime, rival automakers are using the power of celebrity to up enthusiasm.

Former Los Angeles Magic Johnson and Ugly actress America Ferrera are GM’s fuel cell German carmaker BMW has lent out its gas-hydrogen hybrid vehicle to the of Cameron Diaz, Edward and Brad Pitt.

Stephen manager of fuel-cell marketing for said he welcomes the challengers. cells are in their infancy, and as any new advancements are good for everyone, he

Copyright 2008 The Associated All rights reserved. This may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or

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