Posts Tagged ‘fcx clarity’

New Honda FCV Concept Unveiled in Japan Ahead of LA

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

Toyota officially introduced us to their production-ready Mirai hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle this weekend, and they set an official ETA for mid-2015. At the same time, Honda has assured us that they aren’t too far behind by showing us the newest iteration of their future fuel-cell offering. This is the new Honda FCV Concept:

2016 Honda FCV Concept

Although Honda can’t hope to match Toyota’s mid-2015 launch date, they have promised to launch their own fuel-cell vehicle by March 2016 in Japan, followed by a US and European launch later that year.

As we said, this is the newest iteration of their fuel-cell concepts, which of course means that it’s not the first version we’ve seen. The original FCEV Concept was shown at last year’s LA Motor Show, pictured below. The FCEV Concept was in-turn a successor to the original 2002 Honda FCX Clarity sedan, which we’ll talk more about below.

Honda FCEV Concept

Even though there’s no denying that the new FCV Concept showcases some very aggressive styling, you can see that it’s actually been toned down quite a bit since the 2013 FCEV Concept. The new white line extending back from the A-pillar gives the car a distinct sense of boundary, and the removal of the rear wheel covers makes the car look a lot more realistic.

That being said, Honda tells us that the most noticeable changes from the FCX Clarity to today’s FCV Concept can be felt on the inside. They’ve successfully confined the newly developed powertrain to the normal front-end engine compartment, which means that there’s over 33% more room left for a spacious interior cabin. All that extra space will allow the Honda FCV to be a true five-seat sedan when it finally goes on sale in 2016.

Of course, Honda has to beat Toyota somewhere, so their press release specifically claims that their FCV will be able to drive more than 300 miles on a single tank (300 miles is the Toyota Mirai’s claimed driving range), although Honda doesn’t specify exactly how far their car will go. Honestly, it’s probably one of those, “Let’s make a promise now, figure it out later,” kind of situations; driving range will likely end up being 310 miles instead of 300.

Honda FCX Clarity

Honda FCX Clarity

As if to make up for the fact that their FCV will launch second to the Mirai, Honda made sure to remind customers that they’ve had a hand in hydrogen fuel-cell development from the start. In 2002, they opened the doors for an FCX leasing program, and they’ve also made individual sales to several consumers in the US for the sake of real-world testing and valuable feedback. So, even though the Mirai will be the first HFCV you’ll be able to buy in a conventional dealership, it won’t be the first FCV retail customers have ever had access to. You got us there, Honda – well played. (They fail to mention that Toyota partnered with them to create that leasing program, but we won’t nit-pick)

In all seriousness, whatever rivalry lies between Honda and Toyota, the truth is that both of their hydrogen-powered vehicles will have an equal impact on the industry, and they both have each other to thank for the progress they’ve made thus far. Both automakers have been openly collaborating with the Japanese government since the beginning of this year to ensure that Japan remains at the forefront of hydrogen technology development for at least the next two or three decades. In fact, the three parties have together pledged to get the entry-point for commercial HFCVs down to $20,000 within a decade.

If you’d like to learn more about the new Honda FCV Concept, you can get Honda’s official press release here.


Honda FCX Clarity Fuel Cell Car Powers Home for Up To 6 Days

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Ever since the earthquake and tsunami disaster this time last year, Japanese auto makers have been talking up the advantages of being able to switch power from your EV for use in your home in an emergency situation.

It’s a great idea. Not a feature you would use every day, but one which might just be the difference between making it and not making it when disaster strikes. And it’s not just for Japan, with its earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes … and nuke meltdowns. The same concept works in other parts of the world too. Like when a hurricane knocks out your power in Florida. Or snow brings down the power lines in Scotland.

The thing about using power from your EV is that it only gives you about 2 days worth of electricity. Of course, those two days could be crucial — and it’s better than nothing. But wouldn’t you rather have 6?

Honda FCX Clarity Hydrogen Fuel Cell Car

This is what Honda is promising with the latest development of the FCX Clarity fuel cell car. The addition of an inverter in the trunk of the car means that the Clarity can convert the hydrogen in its tank to electricity to power your home for up to 6 days. Of course, we are talking about a Japanese home, which is smaller than most Western homes, but that 6 days would be 6 days of normal levels of power consumption. The thing is I don’t think you’ll be wasting power watching too many movies on your big screen TV in a real emergency. So with sensible power conservation, you may even get more.

Honda gets to that 6 day figure by comparing the FCX Clarity’s peak power output of 9 kW available over 7 hours, with the amount of power a typical household consumes. In the real scenario, you would be using nowhere near 9 kW, so the power from the hydrogen in a full tank would last a lot longer – 3 times as long as other makers can extract from their EVs.

(And if your Clarity gets its hydrogen from a solar-powered fueling station like the one just installed at the Saitama Prefectural Offices, then you will also have the satisfaction of knowing that this power is completely clean. This solar hydrogen fuel station produces 1.5 kilograms of hydrogen per day from pure, freely-available sunshine.)

The FCX Clarity fuel cell car is slated to go on the market in 2015, so it will be interesting to see whether this emergency electrical supply feature will make it into the production version.

Source: Nikkei (Japanese-language)


Honda FCX Clarity Fuel Cell Limousine Service Comes To Narita Airport, Tokyo

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

Toyota is known for its hybrids, and Nissan for its EV agenda, but when it comes to hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, it is Honda who have been leading the way with their FCX Clarity model – a green car that even Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson likes.

Now Honda is teaming up with ANA (All Nippon Airways) at the request of HySUT (The Research Association of Hydrogen Supply/Utilization Technology) to offer the Clarity to passengers on international flights at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport from September 5th, 2011.

Honda FCX Clarity airport limousine service at Narita Airport, Tokyo

The Clarity has been available in limited lease programs around the world, but it seems that this latest move will have a number of benefits for Honda:

First of all, it will give a lot of people an opportunity to take what is likely to be their first ride in a hydrogen fuel cell car.

While most people have ridden in a hybrid, and with Nissan’s Leaf in particular greatly increasing the pool of people who have experienced an electric car, Honda does not want to be left behind and discover that they have invested a huge amount of capital in a power train that the public really don’t feel sure about.

A corollary of the first reason is that getting more people into the FCX Clarity (albeit as passengers, rather than drivers) will give an exponential return in customer feedback. I would be very surprised if the customers were not encouraged to complete some sort of survey during or after the journey, or at least the driver should be encouraged to elicit comments from his passengers as he drives. Of course, this would require an English-speaking driver, so I suspect some kind of online or written survey is more likely.

Finally, the route from Narita into Tokyo is going to give the Clarity a great workout on a variety of roads, from the faster more free-flowing expressways, to the congested urban stop-start of traffic light hopping that is the typical driving in Japanese built-up areas.

Whereas lease cars will often be used as commuters and so spend a lot of their day sitting idle in parking spaces, the Narita service is going to make much more stringent and constant demands on the Clarity, which I am sure will provide a wealth of data for Honda technicians to mull over.

The question is, though, when (if ever) will we see a fuel cell vehicle like this being sold in any real numbers as an ICE car alternative? Honda has been testing prototypes as well as running field trials of the FCX and now FCX Clarity for over 5 years now, but is it getting any closer to being the finished product – or will it simply be an evolutionary dead-end in the annals of automotive history?

We can but hope that this latest trial at Narita will be one of the last stages in this process of bringing this technology to market

Source: Nikkei (Japanese)