Posts Tagged ‘FCEV’

Honda Cars & Concepts from the 2013 LA & Tokyo Motor Shows

Posted by Stephen On Saturday, November 30th, 2013

If you’ve been following along with us this week, then you know the drill. We have two major motor shows to cover – the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show and 2013 LA Motor Show – and only one week to do so. Today, we’re looking at Honda and the new cars and concepts they’ve unveiled at this week’s automotive events.

No sense wasting time on an introduction…. Let’s jump right in:

Honda MC-β Concept (Tokyo Motor Show)

If this car looks familiar, it’s probably because you’ve already seen the Renault Twizy, Nissan Mobility Concept, or Honda’s own Micro Commuter from 2012. Or maybe it could even evoke the three-wheeled Toyota i-Road we saw earlier this year.

The cars listed above and the Honda MC-β Concept all fit in the same category – they’re city-friendly EV’s with short range and high convenience.

The Honda MC-β (Micro Commuter Beta) Concept can seat two adults with an “offset seat layout”, which apparently still offers enough utility space for some storage. However, the main focus of the vehicle is ease of handling and nimble performance across a diverse array of road conditions, as one might expect to meet in a bustling city. More specifically, the vehicle is targeted towards Japanese and European drivers who’ve set a precedent interest in these types of vehicles.

Mechanically, the Honda MC-β is more or less an electric motorcycle on four wheels. In fact, if it goes to production, it will be classified in Europe’s L7 category which is reserved for vehicles 400kg or less – almost exclusively motorcycles. It achieves this light weight with pipe-based construction beneath a boldly designed plastic panel. Under the hood (so to speak) you’ll find an AC100V/AC200V charging system that’s been developed to achieve a shorter overall charging time.

Honda FCEV Concept (LA Motor Show)

If you thought the Honda Micro Commuter Beta Concept looked futuristic, wait until you see this.

Across the Pacific, this was the primary showcase of Honda’s booth at the 2013 LA Motor Show. And what a showstopper it is.

Obviously, it’s safe to say that whatever hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle Honda does launch in 2015 won’t look anything like this, but we still appreciate the design. It lets us know that, deep down, Honda does have the chops to make a slick-looking sports car.

Moving past the design (no easy task), the mechanical goal of the FCEV Concept compared to its predecessor – the Honda FCX Clarity – is more power output and a higher driving range, all with a lower refueling time. In short, it should be more fun and more convenient to drive.

Despite all these improvements, the fuel-cell stacks in the FCEV are actually 33% smaller than those in the FCX, which should theoretically allow for a more economical production model.

Either way, we’ll reiterate that this is all conceptual at this point. What’s clear is that Honda intends to contest Toyota’s claim on the hydrogen fuel-cell market.

Honda S660 Concept (Tokyo Motor Show)

Here we go – the Honda S660 Concept is much easier to evaluate. What we have here is a new Japanese kei car, likely a successor to the Beat. Strangely, Honda made very little effort to tell us anything about the S660 roadster, so we don’t really have that much to say. All we know is that this will likely be a JDM-only car, although it will for sure make it to Japanese dealerships in 2015. So, good news for some of you, at least.

Honda Vezel Concept

Lastly, we have yet another rival to the ever-progressive Nissan Juke. The Vezel Concept is a small compact crossover that apparently “belongs to a new category of automobiles fusing multifaceted values at a high level.” Whatever that means.

Basically, here’s the deal – Honda, like many other automakers, has realized that there is a segment of customers that want something smaller than a normal SUV… In Honda’s case, that would be the CR-V. The problem is that ‘something’ doesn’t exist in Honda’s lineup. So, the Vezel Concept is to be the Japanese brand’s attempt at capturing some of that market, and what you see above is actually very close to production. In fact, it will go on sale in Japan next month, and it will likely make it into the US and Europe sometime next year.

Beyond that, all we know is that the Honda Vezel Concept will offer a hybrid option for fuel-conscious buyers. But, we should know more when the car officially hits dealerships next month.

Well, there you have it – the most newsworthy concepts and cars from Honda’s Tokyo and LA Motor Show booths. Not quite as exciting as Subaru’s lineup we looked at yesterday, at least in this writer’s opinion, but it’s hard to imagine being disappointed with any production cars born from the concepts we’ve seen here… The same can’t be said about Subaru’s.

Until next time, thanks for reading!

Honda FCEV Concept Confirmed for LA Auto Show

Posted by Stephen On Thursday, November 14th, 2013

Honda FCEV concept

While Toyota debuts their brand-new FCV Concept in Japan at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show, Honda will premiere their own hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle next week at the 2013 LA Motor Show in the US.

Being that both motor shows open doors on almost exactly the same date (next Wednesday vs. next Friday), it seems that we’re poised to officially begin the race for hydrogen fuel-cell dominance in the automotive market. The Toyota FCV Concept that we saw last week looks extremely promising. As you continue reading, we’ll explore whether or not Honda’s FCEV Concept holds any of the same potential.

Introducing the Honda FCEV Concept

The image at the top of this page is, unfortunately, the only one that we currently have of the Honda FCV Concept. As you can see, it’s markedly less detailed and realistic than the images of Toyota’s FCV Concept published earlier last week. But, it’s enough to allow the vaguest of expectations to be set.

For instance, the image depicts what looks to be a very sporty coupe with lots of stylistic goodies – a low ride, muscular wheels, an aggressively wide-set grille, and an overall aerodynamic design.  According to Mike Accavitti, VP of American Honda, “The Honda FCEV Concept demonstrates the company’s vision for the future of personal mobility and our commitment to developing advanced alternative fuel vehicles.”

In other words, it looks like Honda is acutely aware that driving a hydrogen-powered vehicle is frustrating at a time when fueling stations are few and far between. So, you might as well have a lot of fun driving between them — and that’s where the FCEV Concept comes in. It’s high-performance with zero-emissions.

Honda FCV Concept Set for 2015 Production

Interestingly, Honda claims that they’re aiming to make the FCEV Concept production-ready by 2015. This is interesting for two reasons:

First, 2015 is the same year that Toyota has promised to launch the production-version of their FCV Concept. They’ve been saying this all year.

Second, in January of this year (2013) Honda said that they expected their first commercial fuel-cell vehicle to be in production by 2017, not 2015. And, at the time they were planning to work with Daimler and Ford to make that date happen. However, there’s no mention of either partner in Honda’s official press release detailing the FCEV concept’s debut. So, not only have they abandoned the collaboration with Daimler and Ford, they’ve also somehow moved up the FCEV’s projected production date!

Weird, huh? I guess those guys were slowing things down. Who’da thunk too many cooks could spoil the eco-friendly broth?

Unfortunately, we won’t be able to clarify anything else about the Honda FCEV Concept until next Friday when they pull the curtains off the metal version at the 2013 LA Motor Show. The only other particularly interesting vehicle that Honda will showcase in LA is the revised 2014 Honda Civic Coupe. So, come back after November 22nd for the real deal.

Until then, thanks for reading and check back soon for more low down on Japanese cars.