Honda Motor Co said on Thursday it will start selling its new hydrogen fuel cell vehicle in California by year's end. Honda is the latest automaker to bring a small number of hydrogen powered vehicles to market amid increasing zero emission vehicle mandates from California and other U.S. states.

The Japanese automaker made the announcement at the Washington auto show, saying the next-generation Honda Clarity Fuel Cell model will cost around $60,000 with a targeted monthly lease under $500. Honda declined to say how many it planned to sell.

The vehicle will go on sale in Japan in a few months and in the United States by end of the year. It will initially only be leased.

The vehicle's platform, or basic underpinings, will also be used for a new plug-in hybrid electric car due by 2018. Honda said it expects by 2020 that 20 percent of its U.S. vehicle sales will be hybrids. It will sell its 2017 Accord hybrid later this year.

One big issue for fuel cell vehicles is that there are only a handful of hydrogen refueling stations.

Sales will begin at some dealerships in Los Angeles and Orange counties, Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area. Honda did not offer details about planned sales elsewhere in the United States.

Toyota Motor Corp began offering hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in October in California. Hyundai Motor Co has also leased fuel cell vehicles to about 100 U.S. customers. Both offer leases of fuel cell vehicles for $499 a month.

Toyota has plans to sell 30,000 fuel cell vehicles globally by 2020, ramping up from an expected 2,000 in 2016. Fuel cell vehicles are a major component of the company's plans to curb polluting emissions to nearly zero by 2050.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Tom Brown)