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Toyota To Launch Production Fuel-Cell Vehicle At CES In Las Vegas

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Typically, the latest new vehicles are released at one of the year's major auto shows--January's Detroit Auto Show, for example, or the Geneva Motor Show in March.

For Toyota's production fuel-cell vehicle though, the Japanese automaker has chosen January's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

Toyota has previously showed several generations of fuel cell concept vehicles, with plans to release a production model by 2015. Most recently, its Fuel Cell Vehicle (FCV) concept was unveiled at Tokyo, looking significantly more production-ready than previous showings.

The company says launching at CES is "a big deal", San Jose Mercury News reports. John Hanson, national manager of advanced technology and business communications for Toyota Motor Sales USA, says it's a logical launching pad for a car as advanced as the FCV--introducing new technology into the market.

Toyota's most recent FCV concept featured a few advancements over previous vehicles, and a more production-realistic set of facts and figures. The company expects a range of around 300 miles from the car and a refueling time of around 3 minutes.

Unusually, the vehicle is expected to use fuel cells as the replacement for an internal combustion engine in a hybrid-style setup, rather than as the sole power source. That's partly to simplify its development, as Toyota already has experience with hybrid drivetrains, and partly to reduce the size of the heavy fuel cell components.

Toyota will be the first of several manufacturers to release a new fuel cell model over the next few years.

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