Honda Motor Co., Ltd. has announced having begun production of the new FCX Clarity hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicle. The vehicle runs on a combination of hydrogen and electricity, and emits only water vapour.
Honda said the first four-seater, called FCX Clarity, built to US specification, had come off the off the line at the world's first dedicated production line for fuel-cell vehicles at Honda's New Model Centre at Tochigi Prefecture in Japan, from where it will make 200 cars over the next three years, starting with a "few dozen" cars this year.
These cars will initially be available only on lease for the next three years for $600 per month. Honda will make these cars available in California from July, and later this year in Japan. The first five customers, which include Hollywood actor Jamie Lee Curtiss, are all based in southern California because of the availability of hydrogen fuelling stations in.
The lack of hydrogen fuelling facilities has been a cited as a major impediment to faster acceptance of fuel-cell vehicles.
Honda delivered around 34 of these cars, mainly in the US, of which 10 remain in use.
The FCX Clarity is based on its previous-generation hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle, the FCX concept car, which marked the development of the world's first fuel cell car (Honda FCX) to be certified for regular commercial use by the US EPA and California Air Resources Board; the first deployment of a fuel cell car with a fleet customer; and the first individual retail customer for a fuel cell vehicle.
The FCX Clarity is propelled by an electric motor that runs on electricity generated in the fuel cell, with the vehicle's only emission being water.
Honda says the fuel efficiency of the FCX Clarity is three times that of a modern gasoline-powered automobile. Based on the entirely-new Honda V Flow fuel cell platform, and powered by a highly compact, efficient and powerful new Honda V Flow fuel cell stack.
Honda said the FCX Clarity marked significant progress in advancing the real-world performance and appeal of the fuel cell car.
Significant advances over Honda's previous generation FCX include:
- an advanced new four passenger sedan design
- a greater than 30 percent increase in driving range up to 280 miles1
- a 25 per cent increase in combined fuel economy to 72 miles/kg-H21 (74 mpg GGE <miles per gallon gasoline gallon equivalent energy>)
- a 50 per cent improvement in fuel stack power output density by volume
- a 40 per cent smaller and 50 per cent lighter new lithium ion battery pack.
A new dedicated fuel cell vehicle assembly line was established, which includes processes unique to a fuel cell vehicle such as the installation of the fuel cell stack and hydrogen tank. The fuel cell stack itself is produced at Honda Engineering Co., Ltd. In manufacturing fuel cells, exclusively designed automated equipment was introduced to ensure quality of the highest precision while enabling mass production of cells, with several hundred cells required for each fuel cell stack.
Through these initiatives, Honda says it is making steady progress in the area of fuel cell vehicle production, in addition to fuel cell and fuel cell vehicle technologies, thereby moving closer to achieving more widespread use of fuel cell vehicles.
The FCX Clarity was designed from scratch as a dedicated fuel cell vehicle. It is powered by the highly compact, efficient and powerful Honda V Flow fuel cell stack. Boasting a low-slung, dynamic and sophisticated appearance made possible by the innovative layout of the fuel cell power plant, the FCX Clarity offers superior design and driving performance as well as environmental responsibility.
Additionally, the FCX Clarity will be exhibited at the Environmental Showcase in the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit to begin 7 July as one of a group of advanced environmental technologies.
View: Auto videos | Auto picture galleries