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Lottery opens for first Toyota fuel-cell vehicle

Environmental organization EMA sponsors a contest to win Toyota's first production fuel-cell vehicle, at $100 per entry.

Toyota FCV Concept
Toyota took the wraps off its Fuel Cell Vehicle (FCV) Concept, a hydrogen-powered four-seater with a range of at least 310 miles and a refueling time of three minutes. When fully fueled, the FCV can provide enough electricity to meet the needs of an average home in Japan, according to Toyota, which plans to launch the car in 2015.
Tim Hornyak/CNET
Toyota FCV Concept
Toyota took the wraps off its Fuel Cell Vehicle (FCV) Concept at CES 2014. Tim Hornyak/CNET

Toyota showed the world its upcoming FCV fuel-cell vehicle during CES earlier this year, and now the first owner will be decided through a drawing being conducted by the Environmental Media Association (EMA). Restricted to California residents, entries can be registered at the Bidding For Good site for a fee of $100 each.

The car is being used to raise funds for the EMA, an organization that raises environmental awareness through the use of celebrities and media. Only 1,000 entries are available on the site, and the contest closes on October 18.

During a press conference at CES, Toyota showed a prototype of the FCV, and said it will go on sale in 2015. Presumably, at this time the winner of the contest will also receive the car.

The FCV prototype shown at CES was a four-door sedan with exterior lines that appear optimized for aerodynamics. As a fuel-cell vehicle, the car will use an electric motor to drive the wheels, with electricity generated from a fuel cell. The fuel cell harnesses the reaction of combining hydrogen and oxygen to make electricity. That reaction produces water as its waste product.

Toyota's only details about the FCV note it can go 310 miles from its two tanks of hydrogen gas. Filling those tanks takes 3 to 5 minutes.

The contest is restricted to California residents due to the existing hydrogen filling infrastructure in the state.

Development of hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles hit a peak last decade, with most automakers exploring the technology. Recently, there has been a resurgence of interest in the technology from Toyota and Hyundai.

Honda has been offering leases of its FCX Clarity fuel-cell vehicle in Southern California since 2008, although fewer than 100 are on the road.