Japanese carmaker Mazda Motor Corp said on Monday it is to join in a project that is developing vehicles powered by fuel cells along with a Japanese unit of DaimlerChrysler AG and Nippon Mitsubishi Oil Corp.

Mazda said it will join a test run of fuel cell vehicles planned for early 2001 in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, by DaimlerChrysler Japan Holding Ltd and Nippon Mitsubishi Oil. Such vehicles, powered by electricity generated by hydrogen or methanol, have low-level emissions and are regarded as quiet and energy-efficient. Last October, DaimlerChrysler's Japanese unit and Nippon Mitsubishi started working together in Japan to promote fuel cell vehicles.

Mazda, Japan's fifth-largest automaker, said it would be the second time it had participated in a project to develop fuel-cell vehicles. In 1998, Mazda joined the alliance to develop the technology, which was established by Ford MotorCo, which owns a 33 percent stake in Mazda, DaimlerChrysler and Canada-based fuel-cell maker Ballard Power Systems Inc

On the Tokyo Stock Exchange, Mazda ended four yen or 1.15 percent lower at 344. Nippon Mitsubishi Oil was down 18 yen or 4.62 percent at 372.