Toyota and Honda Fuel Cell Vehicles Gain Japan Certification

June 19, 2005 by Jeff Shepard

Toyota Motor Corp. (Nagoya, Japan) and Honda Motor Co. Inc. (Tokyo, Japan) obtained formal Japanese government certification that clears them for unrestricted sale. Japan's Transport Ministry issued certificates that allow unlimited sales of Honda's FCX and Toyota's FCHV in the first such approval since a March regulatory change aimed at promoting fuel cell vehicles.

The certification means that the vehicles meet safety standards for vehicles that run on compressed hydrogen. Sales of fuel cell vehicles in Japan previously needed individual approval from the ministry. Both carmakers plan limited leasing of the vehicles as they compile information on performance in normal operation.

Honda said it will lease its FCX vehicles at ¥800,000 ($7,369) a month, for a one-year period. The fuel cell car will be able to run 430 km (267 miles) on one filling of its hydrogen tank. Toyota said it will release a new version of the FCHV with extended range, able to travel 330 km on a tank of pressurized hydrogen, at speeds of as fast as 155 kph (96 mph). The carmaker will offer 30-month leases to central and local government officials with payments of about ¥1.05 million a month starting July 1.