Honda says it will offer a California-legal diesel and a fuel-cell sports car by 2009.

The 4-cylinder diesel is promising to be the first engine to meet EPA and California diesel exhaust requirements. Officials also boast it will get 30 percent better fuel economy than a comparable gas engine. Since Mercedes-Benz hasn't received diesel certificiation yet, analysts are cautious with their enthusiasm for Honda's announcement. Honda says it's diesel differs by using a new catalytic converter to generate and store ammonia on board to reduce NOx levels. Other systems store the ammonia separately and require regular maintenance.

Honda also unveiled a driveable version of the FCX sports car that was shown at the 2005 Tokyo Motor Show. Officals say sales could begin within two years. That would take some of the shine of GM's goal to have production fuel-cell vehicles ready by 2010. The FCX would be much more expensive, of course, but it would have the bragging rights and might be an easier sale considering the market base.

[Source: Bloomberg]

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