03/28/2008 02:45 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Move Aside: The Hydrogen Car Has Arrived

Often, it is the smallest of gestures that deliver the most powerful messages. I was reminded of this last month when I settled into the driver's seat of the FCX Clarity, a sedan powered by fuel cells that Honda will begin leasing to a handful of private customers next summer. Fresh from a briefing that detailed the car's NASA-grade complexity, I wondered what procedures might be required to start the reaction of hydrogen and oxygen and bring the power supply to life.

In fact, it took nothing more than inserting an entirely conventional metal key into a normal-looking switch and pushing a power button much like the one that starts the Honda S2000 sports car. The familiarity of the steps -- deliberate gestures, I think, to convince drivers that the cars of our future aren't so frightening after all -- reinforced the message of the meeting I had just left: the FCX Clarity is ready now.

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