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Toyota moves up date for hydrogen-powered cars

LAS VEGAS — Toyota said Monday that a hydrogen-powered vehicle that emits only water vapor as exhaust will go on sale in the U.S. in 2015, a year earlier than it promised just two months ago.

Toyota, FCV hydrogen electric concept car

A production crew member dusts off Toyota’s FCV hydrogen electric concept car during the International Consumer Electronics Show, Monday, Jan. 6, 2014, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

The Japanese automaker made the announcement Monday at the International CES, the technology industry’s annual gadget show. The shift came months after rival automakers Hyundai and Honda both said they’d start selling cars with that technology in the U.S. in 2015.

The electric car, which Toyota calls FCV, uses hydrogen as fuel for a battery. Toyota says it will have a range of 300 miles, can accelerate from standstill to 60 mph in 10 seconds and can refuel its hydrogen tank in three to five minutes.

Toyota says it will focus on selling cars in California at first. Working with researchers at the University of California, Irvine, Toyota said the first 10,000 vehicles can be supported with only 68 refueling stations from San Francisco to San Diego. It noted that California has approved $200 million to build about 20 fueling stations by 2015, 40 by 2016 and 100 by 2024.

“Stay tuned because this infrastructure thing is going to happen,” Bob Carter, senior vice president of automotive operations for Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc., said in a statement.

Toyota Motor Corp. has promised to sell its fuel cell cars for $50,000 to $100,000.

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