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The Future is Here: Japan Launches Fuel Cell Cars

December 3, 2002

It sounds too good to be true: a car that runs on an inexhaustible power source and doesn't harm the environment. But that's exactly what two Japanese automakers put on the road on Dec. 2, with the launch of what they said were the world's first fuel cell cars, according to a Reuters report.Toyota Motor and Honda Motor are leasing ahandful of the cars to the Japanese government and several public establishments in the United States in an experimental program that marks the biggest step yet towards the mass marketing of fuel cell vehicles (FCVs), Reuters said.The ultimate "green car," FCVs could be part of the solution to smog, global warming and other ecological problems that conventional cars help cause, according to Reuters.National Automobile Dealers Association Chief Economist Paul Taylor pointed out that fuel cellhybrids require much of the same technology used in the hybrid internal combustion motor engine/electric cars currently available. The end of this decade is the likely time when fuel cells will become a regular sight on U.S. highways, according to Taylor.The federal government has recently announcedplans to facilitate the creation of a hydrogen filling station infrastructure, which many analysts see as a key hurdle to fuel cell useby a large number of motorists, Taylor said.
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