Los Angeles Mayor Jim Hahn has announced an agreement between the City of Los Angeles and American Honda Motor Co., Inc., to make Los Angeles the first U.S. retail customer for a fuel cell car…Los Angeles, California – October 8, 2002 [SolarAccess.com] Los Angeles Mayor Jim Hahn has announced an agreement between the City of Los Angeles and American Honda Motor Co., Inc., to make Los Angeles the first U.S. retail customer for a fuel cell car. Under the agreement, LA city employees will begin a familiarization program with prototype versions of the Honda FCX. The city will take delivery of the first of five production vehicles before the end of 2002. “Air quality in the Los Angeles basin has steadily improved in recent years, thanks in part to the deployment of new environmental technologies,” said Hahn. “Hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles hold great promise for future clean air vehicles and it’s important that Los Angeles play a leading role in development and early use of this technology.” The Honda FCX was the world’s first fuel cell vehicle to be certified by the California Air Resources Board and the U.S. EPA, with both government agencies certifying it as a Zero Emission Vehicle. The vehicle uses hydrogen supplied to a fuel cell stack to generate electricity and power its electric motor. With a maximum output of 80 horsepower and 201 foot-pounds of torque, acceleration is similar to a Honda Civic, according to Honda. The FCX has a range of up to 220 miles and seating for four people. Los Angeles city employees will use the vehicles on the job as regular pool cars and for commuting. The city and Honda are finalizing plans on refueling support systems to supply hydrogen fuel for the vehicles. “This vehicle is now ready for practical use,” said Tom Elliott, American Honda executive vice president. “Using a fleet of advanced fuel cell vehicles in a real world environment will help us evaluate these vehicles with our customers. It also will help in the development of a refueling infrastructure needed to support customers of hydrogen-powered vehicles.” Honda plans to lease about 30 fuel cell cars in California and Japan during the next two to three years. The company currently has no plans for mass-market sales of fuel cell vehicles or sales to individuals.