This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

December 04, 2002

Honda and Toyota Deliver Fuel Cell Cars to California

Honda Motor Company, Ltd. and Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. both delivered their first fuel-cell-powered cars to customers in California on December 2nd.

The City of Los Angeles took delivery of a Honda FCX, a hydrogen-fueled vehicle that seats four, has a range of up to 170 miles, and performs much like a standard Honda Civic. Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. will provide the hydrogen fuel and fueling infrastructure for the city. Los Angeles is leasing the vehicle for $500 per month and plans to lease four more in 2003. Honda plans to lease about 30 vehicles in California and Japan in the next two years, but has no current plans for mass-market sales of fuel cell vehicles. See the Honda press release.

Meanwhile, Toyota delivered two of its hydrogen-fueled Toyota FCHVs to the University of California (UC), Irvine and UC Davis. Based on the Highlander, a mid-sized SUV, the FCHV combines improved aerodynamics, aluminum components, and a 109-horsepower motor to achieve excellent acceleration and a range of up to 180 miles. Both cars are under 30-month leases to the universities, which are leaders in fuel-cell research. Toyota plans to deliver four more FCHVs to the universities next year. The company has provided more than $2 million in research grants to UC campuses over the past five years, and plans to double that figure over the next three and a half years. See the Toyota press release.

The combined efforts of Toyota, Honda, the City of Los Angeles, the California Fuel Cell Partnership, and state organizations like the California Air Resources Board and South Coast Air Quality Management Board are leading to the establishment of hydrogen fueling infrastructure in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Los Angeles and Orange counties. According to Toyota, these two "model communities" will have a network of six refueling stations up and running within the next six months. Toyota's contribution includes a new refueling station at Toyota's national headquarters in Torrance, 40 miles northwest of the UC Irvine campus. See the Stuart Energy press release.

A fuel-cell-powered bus already hit the streets in Southern California in mid-November. The SunLine Transit Agency, which serves the Palm Springs area, is operating a 30-foot "ThunderPower" bus, built through a joint venture of Thor Industries and ISE Research. The hydrogen-fueled bus draws on a 75-kilowatt fuel cell from UTC Fuel Cells and is serving a route that will demand 100 miles of travel each day. UTC is also working with the Northeast Advanced Vehicle Consortium to develop a 200-kilowatt fuel cell power plant for buses. See the UTC Fuel Cells press releases from November 11th and November 14th.

The market for fuel cell vehicles has yielded good news for Ballard Power Corporation in recent weeks. Ballard received a $1.88 million order for its Mark 902 fuel-cell engines from an undisclosed automotive company in late November, then signed a three-year supply agreement with Honda on Monday. And according to a new study from Allied Business Intelligence (ABI), the Ballard news is part of a trend: ABI predicts a rapidly growing market that will reach 800,000 fuel cell vehicles worldwide by 2012. See the press releases from Ballard (PDF 13 KB and PDF 20 KB) and ABI (PDF 16 KB). Download Acrobat Reader.