Not long after Honda began testing ‘production’ fuel cell cars in California, General Motors’ Japan unit has displayed the fuel-cell powered Chevrolet Equinox in Japan and plans to start testing the vehicle on roads there after approval from authorities.

The Equinox can drive about 320km (about 210 miles) on a hydrogen fill and can reach 160km/h (100mph), GM told Kyodo News .

Driving performance is said to be almost equivalent to petrol-powered vehicles, filling with hydrogen takes less than five minutes and the car can start in freezing temperatures.

GM Japan head Rick Brown told Kyodo that GM also aims to out the electric Chevrolet Volt on sale in Japan by 2013.

Brown also said he hopes to help reinvigorate GM’s sluggish sales through new car launches and focused alliances with Japanese automakers.

”Although there is a possibility that we may encounter (cost-cut and other) issues seen in other markets, we intend to revitalise (our operations) by releasing new cars next year and after,” Brown said.

Discussing GM’s business alliances with Suzuki and Isuzu , he told Kyodo News: ”Focused alliances in somewhat selected areas will likely move forward.”