• Kyodo

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Toyota Motor Corp. said Monday it will begin leasing two fuel-cell-powered cars to the University of California beginning Dec. 2, making it likely the Japanese automaker will become the first in the United States to put such vehicles into practical use.

The university’s Irvine and Davis campuses will each lease a fuel-cell car over a 30-month period at a cost of $10,000 per vehicle per month.

Earlier, Toyota announced in Japan that it will begin a similar leasing program with four Japanese government agencies on the same date.

Other auto manufacturers have also announced plans to promote clean-energy cars.

Honda Motor Co. plans to deliver its fuel-cell cars to the city of Los Angeles by the end of the year, and DaimlerChrysler Corp. has said it will launch its own fuel-cell cars next year.

A fuel-cell car is propelled by electricity generated by the chemical reaction between hydrogen stored in an onboard tank and oxygen it takes in from the air. Manufacturers claim that water is the only byproduct.

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