DETROIT - Ford is joining with Diamler and Renault-Nissan to speed the development of cars that run on hydrogen.

The three companies expect their alliance to bring affordable hydrogen fuel cell vehicles to market as early as 2017.

Fuel cell vehicles run on electricity generated from hydrogen and oxygen. The only byproduct is water.

Under the alliance, each company will invest equally in the technology. They plan to develop a common fuel cell system that each company will use to power its own vehicles. The companies also plan to take advantage of their combined size to reduce costs.

The automakers say that together they have 60 years of experience developing fuel cell vehicles. Their test vehicles have travelled more than 6.2 million miles.

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