American Honda Motor has delivered its first leased hydrogen fuel cell-powered FCX Clarity to Ron Yerxa and Annette Ballester through Honda of Santa Monica, one of three southern California dealerships that are part of its first fuel cell vehicle dealership network.

Honda said Yerxa and Ballester are the world's first FCX Clarity customers and the first of approximately 200 who will lease the vehicle in the United States and Japan over the next three years, with the vast majority in southern California.

"The FCX Clarity lease programme is one more step toward meeting the societal goals of climate stability, renewable energy supplies and zero-emissions transportation," said John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda. "With this key step, we are advancing toward the goal of broader commercialisation," Mendel added. "Establishing a dedicated sales network and service infrastructure provides customers with the best balance of convenience and the highest level of satisfaction."

The Clarity improves over Honda's previous generation FCX with a 25% increase in combined fuel economy to 72 miles/kg-H2 (74mpg GGE miles per gasoline gallon equivalent) and a greater than 30% increase in driving range up to 280 miles.

The car, a highlight of recent Honda motor show displays, is a next-generation, hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehiclepropelled by an electric motor that runs on electricity generated in the fuel cell. Its only emission is water and fuel efficiency is three times that of a current petrol-powered car, the automaker said.