Daimler will launch its first fuel-cell vehicle in Europe this summer, research and development executive Thomas Weber has said.

Daimler originally planned to unveil the F-Cell model in 2010 and production will begin with small quantities in the three-digit range, Weber told Financial Times Deutschland. In 2012 or 2013, output should reach the four-digit range.

The vehicle will be rather expensive, therefore, Daimler will offer a leasing programme. This is a similar move to Honda which has a ‘production’ FCX Clarity model on lease to selected customers (mostly, it seems, in the movie business) in California and Japan.

F-Cell is Daimler’s response to criticism that it lags behind BMW in terms of the development of innovative, eco-friendly cars, an analyst told the paper.