TOCHIGI, JAPAN – Honda Motor Co. says it has developed the first diesel passenger car engine capable of meeting California’s tough 2009 air-quality standards, reported the Los Angeles Times. The automaker unveiled a four-cylinder engine capable of propelling an Accord sedan to speeds in excess of 120 mph during a weekend technology demonstration at its research center. The ‘super-clean’ diesel’s emissions will be no greater than those of a gasoline engine, Honda said, and the company intends to add four- and six-cylinder diesel engines to differentiate it from rivals in the competition for lower fuel consumption and emissions. Honda also showed off a new version of its fuel-cell electric power system that is smaller, lighter, and more powerful than the current model; and Honda Chief Executive Takeo Fukui promised a sleek hydrogen-powered, fuel-cell electric sports sedan by 2008. Honda said a production version of the long, low FCX concept fuel-cell sedan that it unveiled 11 months ago at the Tokyo Motor Show would be available for lease to selected government and private users in the U.S. and Japan in 2008, according to the Los Angeles Times. report. Also on display was a mock-up of a fueling appliance that would make hydrogen from natural gas and could be leased with the FCX, as the Phill is currently with the Civic GX. Honda engineers said the energy required to make hydrogen using natural gas wouldn’t exceed the energy saved by the fuel.