Well, it looks like Honda is doing a real test of their fuel-cell car.

You would never guess that Jon Spallino drives what is probably the most expensive car in this city, known for its automotive excess. Or that he is the world’s most technologically advanced commuter.

“When the cars pull up to me, the Porsches and the Bentleys and all that, I just sort of say, well, that’s nice, but for what this costs I could buy 10 of those,” said Spallino, while driving up the Route 405 freeway from his office in Irvine, California, toward his home in Redondo Beach.

Spallino was at the wheel of his silver Honda FCX, a car worth about $1 million that looks like a cross between a compact – say, a Volkswagen Golf – and a cinder block.

The FCX is powered by hydrogen fuel cells, the futuristic technology that many automakers see as an eventual solution to the world’s energy woes, though the viability of the technology is a subject of vigorous debate inside and outside the auto industry.

In one of the more unusual experiments in the auto industry’s history, Spallino – a 40-year-old executive at a California construction and engineering company – and his wife, Sandy, have been leasing the FCX since July, for $500 a month.

The Spallinos, with their daughters Adrianna, 11, and Anna, 9, “aren’t just the first fuel-cell family on their block,” as one Honda ad recently put it. “They’re the first in the world.”

So grandiose is the experiment that Honda has made arrangements with a distributor of hydrogen to have a refueling station built near the Spallinos’ house.

More here.