(Bloomberg) -- Honda Motor Co. will introduce a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle that can also be recharged, becoming the first Japanese automaker to bring the technology to market.

The five-seat crossover, based on the popular CR-V, will be manufactured in Ohio and sold in North America this spring, and imported to Japan this summer, Honda said Wednesday. 

Japan’s automakers, most notably Toyota Motor Corp., have embraced hydrogen as one option to reduce emissions, although the technology has been slow to gain adoption due to high prices and the lack of refueling infrastructure. By adding electric recharging capabilities, Honda is betting that it can ease drivers’ anxiety over finding hydrogen stations. 

“There is no right answer for FCEVs (fuel-cell electric vehicles) as yet,” said Koichi Ikoma, project leader for the new crossover. “We want to provide it as one of the options to customers who are willing to ride the zero-emission wave.”

Honda is accepting advance orders for the CR-V e:FCEV from Thursday. The carmaker didn’t disclose prices or a sales target. The crossover will use fuel-cell technology developed by Fuel Cell System Manufacturing LLC, a joint venture between Honda and General Motors Co. It can run more than 60 kilometers (37.3 miles) on a battery charge and more than 600 kilometers on hydrogen.

Japan was one of the first countries to formulate a national hydrogen strategy, pledging back in 2017 to promote production, transportation and storage technologies. Fuel cells using the element produce water and electricity. 

Japan’s second-largest carmaker aims to sell 100% electrified cars by 2040 and reach carbon neutrality by 2050. Hydrogen stations are increasing in Japan as well as in “California, where the model will be sold and as many people use FCEVs there,” Ikoma said.

Honda came up with the plug-in feature “to deal with the negative aspect” of fewer hydrogen stations, according to Junichi Miyahara, the Honda manager in charge of CR-V e’s product planning. The new model can be charged at battery charging stations and at home.

--With assistance from Tsuyoshi Inajima.

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