Nikkei reports that GM is planning to bring forward fuel-cell cars ahead of previously reported statements. GM has so far said publicly that the first GM fuel-cell powered car for the retail market is projected to be on sale by the end of the decade.

However, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun (Nikkei) says that GM plans to test a fuel-cell car in Japan by the end of this year and mass-produce such cars starting in 2008. Japan is seen as a major market for fuel cell powered vehicles.

Earlier this year, GM demonstrated the world’s first drivable fuel-cell vehicle that extracts hydrogen from gasoline to produce electricity. The Chevrolet S-10 fuel-cell pickup demonstrator was equipped with a fuel processor that reforms low-sulphur gasoline onboard by a series of chemical reactions.

At the time, Larry Burns, GM’s Vice President of Research and Development, and Planning, said: “I feel very good about where we are at this point in the fuel-cell race. We have leadership positions in stack technology, and vehicle systems and controls. We’ve made great progress on the fundamentals of fuel reforming and electrolyser technology. I’m confident we will come up with an optimal storage system soon. By the end of this decade, you can expect to see affordable, profitable fuel-cell vehicles on the road.”

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