Published on October 31st, 2015 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Honda unveils Clarity Fuel Cell Vehicle at TMS 2015
Incorporating Honda’s most advanced technologies, the Clarity Fuel Cell is the world’s first production model of a fuel cell powered sedan to house the entire fuel cell stack and drivetrain system in the space normally occupied by the engine and transmission. The Clarity Fuel Cell will be commercially available in Japan from early 2016. Further information on the European launch of the vehicle will follow in 2016.
The packaging of the Clarity Fuel Cell has been inspired by Honda’s principle of man maximum, machine minimum. Through minimising the space utilised by the powertrain, Honda has been able to achieve a level of interior space that allows five adults to be comfortably accommodated as would be expected in a conventionally powered sedan. The size of the fuel cell stack and the power generation unit have been reduced through Honda’s advanced technologies to a size comparable to a V6 engine.
Despite the compact nature of the fuel cell powertrain, Honda’s advanced technologies have ensured world-leading fuel cell stack performance. Honda’s original wave flow channel separators are more advanced than ever, while the cells now feature a higher output and a more slender shape thanks to a 1 mm (20%) reduction in the thickness of each cell. These advances combine to make the fuel cell stack 33% more compact than the stack used in the original FCX Clarity. This improvement is highly impressive as it has been achieved in parallel with an increase in maximum motor output to 130 kW (177ps) and a power density increased by 60% to 3.1 kW/L.
The Clarity Fuel Cell is equipped with a high-pressure tank capable of storing hydrogen gas at 70 MPa, increasing the mass of hydrogen that can be stored and extending the range of the vehicle. Coupled with the efficient powertrain and reduced vehicle energy consumption, the Clarity Fuel Cell achieves a best-in-class fuel cell vehicle range per full tank of over 700 km1 (435miles). In addition, the high-pressure tank can be quickly refilled, the process taking approximately three minutes at 70 MPa and 20oC. These and other benefits give the Clarity Fuel Cell a day-to-day convenience customers are used to with their traditional petrol or diesel powered vehicles.
Engineered to use the high output of Honda’s fuel cell stack and the power assist of the lithium-ion battery pack, a high-output motor provides power to the driven wheels together with instant and powerful acceleration. Due to the continuously increasing torque provided by the high-output 130 kW (177 PS) motor with no need for gears, the Clarity Fuel Cell achieves perfectly smooth acceleration anywhere from zero to maximum speed.