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    First Fuel-Cell Car Goes to L.A.

    Honda will lease 30 in California and Japan.

    LOS ANGELES -- The City of Los Angeles yesterday took delivery of the nation's first certified fuel-cell car, the Honda FCX. The car is being leased by the city and will be used in normal, everyday use. It was delivered at a ceremony to city Mayor Jim Hahn by Hiroyuki Yoshino, president and CEO of Honda Motor Co. Ltd.

    The hydrogen-powered Honda FCX is the only fuel-cell vehicle certified by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and U.S. EPA for every day commercial use. Under the two-year lease agreement, the city will pay $500 a month to lease the first of five Honda FCX models with the other four vehicles being delivered in 2003. In addition, Honda has contracted with Air Products and Chemicals Inc. in El Segundo, Calif., to provide the hydrogen fuel and refueling infrastructure.

    Honda plans to lease about 30 fuel-cell cars in California and Japan during the next two to three years. The company currently has no plans, however, for mass-market sales of fuel-cell vehicles or sales to individuals. "The future of the fuel-cell vehicle shows great promise in reducing the global dependence on oil, and our association with the great city of Los Angeles is an important step in the pursuit of this goal," said Yoshino.

    Both CARB and the EPA have certified the Honda FCX as a Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV). The FCX uses hydrogen supplied to a fuel-cell "stack" to generate electricity that powers its electric motor. With an output of up to 80 horsepower and 201 foot-pounds of torque, acceleration is similar to that of a Honda Civic. Water vapor is the only exhaust. The FCX has an EPA certified range of 170 miles and seating for four people.

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