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Honda, Toyota to Launch Fuel Cell Cars

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Honda Motor Co., Ltd. (HMC) and Toyota Motor Corporation (TM) have plans to introduce fuel-cell vehicles in the consumer market by 2015, according to sources. Both automakers intend to produce around 1,000 eco-friendly vehicles per year.

Honda and Toyota’s fuel cell vehicles will provide better mileage compared to the electric vehicles. Fuel cells utilize hydrogen in order to generate electricity. The hydrogen together with air creates water and electricity. The fuel cell then channelizes the electricity to a start motor. The initial price of the vehicle is estimated to be around 10 million yen or $97,700.

Honda plans to launch the five-passenger sedan deploying fuel cell in Nov 2015. The vehicle will have a hydrogen tank made of carbon fiber and will cover a distance of 500 kilometer on a single charge, which is double the mileage provided by the electric sedan. The company plans to sell 5,000 vehicles over the next five years in Japan, the U.S and Europe.

Toyota’s fuel cell vehicles will also target the Japanese, European and U.S market in 2015. Toyota plans to increase the annual output to 10,000 vehicles by 2020. In addition, to capture a larger market, Toyota intends to slash prices by about 3-5 million yen or $29,300–$48,900 in 2020.

Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. (NSANY) and Renault SA have cited obstacles like lack of recharging infrastructure and an expensive hydrogen infrastructure that impede the sale of fuel cell cars. Consequently, Nissan and Renault have deferred the launch of fuel cell vehicles.  

In order to reduce costs, automakers are developing fuel cell vehicles jointly. Honda and General Motors Company (GM) are collaborating to develop fuel cell vehicles while Nissan has formed alliances with other automakers to launch fuel-cell vehicles within the next five years.

Currently, Honda and Toyota both retain a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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