We've now got live photos of the updated Honda FCV hydrogen fuel-cell concept, which made its North American debut at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show this week.

A design evolution of 2013's FCEV concept, the Honda FCV was first unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show back in November.

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Honda will launch a production fuel-cell vehicle--at least somewhat influenced by this concept--in the U.S. next year, following its March 2016 launch in Japan.

The design of the FCV retains the low, sleek look of its predecessor, but with some concessions to practicality--like rear wheel openings and side-view mirrors.

Honda FCV Concept

Honda FCV Concept

It has more conventional rear doors as well, providing easier access to the five-seat cabin--which will offer more interior space than the previous FCX Clarity, Honda says.

That's due to a more compact fuel-cell stack. Honda says it is one-third smaller, with a power density 60 percent higher, than the one in the Clarity.

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Range is estimated at more than 300 miles, with an anticipated refueling time of 3 to 5 minutes at stations that can deliver hydrogen at 10,000 psi (70MegaPascals or MPa).

The entire powertrain fits under the hood of the FCV, which not only frees up interior space, but also lets the fuel-cell package be used in a variety of vehicle designs.

Honda FCV Concept live photos, 2015 Detroit Auto Show

Honda FCV Concept live photos, 2015 Detroit Auto Show

Honda did not say exactly when its fuel-cell production car will arrive in the U.S.

But as with the 2016 Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell, sales will likely be limited to certain regions of California at first.

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The Golden State is the only part of the U.S. with any substantial hydrogen fueling infrastructure--a problem that will have to be addressed if hydrogen cars are to become a viable alternative to battery-electrics or internal combustion.

At the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show, Honda announced that would provide FirstElement Fuel with $13.8 million in funding to build hydrogen fueling stations in California.


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