01/28/2013 09:12 EST | Updated 03/30/2013 05:12 EDT

Hydrogen Cars To Be Developed By Ford, Daimler, Renault-Nissan

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Picture shows the refuelling hydrogen system of a Hyundai car during a presentation by French industrial gas group Air Liquide of Hydrogen electric cars in Marcoussis, near Paris on October 4, 2011 as part of tests in France of hydrogen electric vehicles. AFP PHOTO ERIC PIERMONT (Photo credit should read ERIC PIERMONT/AFP/Getty Images)
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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