honda-clarity.jpgToyota Motor Corp. said Friday it had developed a new zero-emission fuel-cell vehicle that has a longer cruising distance than previous models and can operate in freezing temperatures. Japanese companies have been working to create a viable zero-emission car running on fuel cells, which produce electricity through a chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen, leaving water as the only by-product.

Honda plans to begin leasing its hydrogen-powered fuel cell sedan, Clarity, in the United States starting next month, and is testing a home refueling station for it. MSNBC has a nice page here about the Honda plans and some interactive features, like a comparison of hybrid cars along with a list of greenest 2007 vehicles.

Anthony Eggert, a researcher at the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis, also sees it as promising. “Home refueling,” he says, “is one potentially attractive strategy to get fuel cell vehicles into the market without wide-scale infrastructure availability.”