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Toyota recently announced it plans to begin consumer sales of a Fuel Cell Vehicle sometime around the beginning of 2015, which has the potential to be a huge step towards a more environmentally-friendly system of personal transportation. Rival carmaker Honda isn’t about to let Japan’s largest auto manufacturer have this new field all to itself, though, as it looks to be moving ahead with plans to start selling an FCV of its own within the country that aims to be the class leader in both performance and price.

Similar to Toyota’s upcoming FCV, the new Honda will carry a supply of hydrogen which will react with oxygen drawn from the surrounding air to power the car. Initially, predictions were leaning towards Honda’s FCV being available first in the U.S. market, but recent comments from company executives indicate the current plan is to sell the car in Japan before expanding its availability to other territories.

▼ Honda’s FCV concept from 2013

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Water is the only byproduct of the chemical reaction powering the FCV, resulting in the same lack of carbon dioxide emissions boasted by electric vehicles. Fuel Cell Vehicles have a couple of advantages over their all-electric counterparts, though. For starters, the hydrogen tank can be filled in about three minutes, putting FCV fueling time closer to that of gasoline-powered cars than the 20 to 30 minutes required for giving an electric vehicle a full charge.

▼ The concept version of Toyota’s soon-to-be-released Fuel Cell Vehicle

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More importantly, while electric vehicles can generally run for only about 200 kilometers (124 miles) on a full charge, fuel cell vehicles are said to run in the neighborhood of 500 kilometers (310 miles). Honda claims their model will have the even more impressive capability of traveling 800 kilometers (497 miles) between hydrogen filling sessions.

Honda is hoping to make deliveries of its FCV in 2015. Pricing is yet to be set, with the carmaker expected to wait and see the reaction to Toyota’s offering which is expected to cost 9.9 million yen (US $97,100). Industry analysts estimate Honda will be able to undercut its rival and price its Fuel Cell Vehicle in the 7 to 8 million yen range ($69,000 to $78,000). Lending credibility to this prediction are statements from Honda executives that their primary goal for the new model is not to make a profit, but to help develop the FCV segment by offering a practical fuel-cell-powered car.

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The final hit to buyers’ wallets might even be as low as six million yen if Honda’s FCV qualifies for the same government incentive programs that buyers of electric vehicles benefit from. This seems likely, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s recently announced economic growth strategy is seeking to promote the development of fuel cell and other advanced passenger vehicles through building a more comprehensive fueling station network and grants for drivers of eco-friendly cars.

But just as Honda is seeking to cut Toyota’s time as the lone FCV provider as short as possible, other companies are also looking to enter the fuel cell arena. Rumored to be next is Nissan, the other member of Japan’s big three of auto manufacturing, who’s expected to have its own FCV ready for drivers sometime in 2017.

▼ We’re keeping our fingers crossed that it’s a zero-emission R36 GT-R.

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Source: Huffington Post
Top image: YouTube/Honda
Insert images: YouTube/Honda, Toyota, Tommy Kaira