California's proposed Hydrogen Highway may still be in its infancy, but starting next year Southern Californians will be able to lease the FCX Clarity, what Honda is touting to be a full-fledged production fuel cell vehicle. The announcement came at this year's Los Angeles Auto Show , where all the big automakers have unveiled their latest eco-models, including Chevy's new Tahoe Hybrid SUV, which just won Green Car of the Year . The Hybrid Tahoe is indicative of a general trend toward hybrid and flexfuel vehicles, and away from the greatly hyped hydrogen fuel cell car. Movies like "Who Killed the Electric Car" and negative press coverage, combined with the Big Threes reluctance to embrace the technology, had led many to believe hydrogen was a dead end.Honda, however, has been moving forward with fuel cell technology ever since they debuted the FCX back in 2002, despite the lack of fueling stations and questions about the environmental implications of hydrogen production. They have steadily tweaked and improved the vehicle, to the point that it now boasts a range of 270 miles per tank, fuel economy of 68 miles per gallon, and a lightweight lithium-ion battery pack. The big breakthrough seems to be in the 45% smaller powertrain,which frees up space for the larger hydrogen tank and battery pack, and increases the power-to-weight ratio by 25%. It is still unclear how many Clarities will be manufactured in 2008, but dont expect to see one in your neighborhood anytime soon; they will only be leased for three years to certain customers in Southern California, at a cost of $600 per month.
See also: ::Honda FCX-Concept Series Name to be Announced, ::Honda Shows Off FCX Fuel Cell Concept Car, ::Honda FCX Fuel Cell Vehicle: Production in 3-4 Years, ::More Details on Honda's 2006 FCX Fuel Cell Car, ::Honda's FCX Fuel Cell: Production in 2008?