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Honda Motor Co. said Thursday it has successfully tested its next-generation cold-resistant fuel cell for cars, which it said overcomes a major problem of past models and can operate at freezing temperatures.

Honda said the test was conducted on roads in Hokkaido in the morning and it confirmed the fuel cell works even at minus 11.

Fuel-cell cars are virtually pollution-free, as they run on electricity produced when hydrogen stored in a tank combines with the oxygen in the air, leaving water as a byproduct.

Honda said it plans to put cars powered by the fuel cell on the Japanese and U.S. markets next year.

The world’s major automakers, including General Motors Corp. of the United States and Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp., are working on the development of fuel-cell-powered vehicles.

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