Honda's Next-Generation Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Vehicle Confirmed For 2016

Automotive

Published on November 22nd, 2014 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez

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Honda’s Next-Generation Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Vehicle Confirmed For 2016

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Honda will begin retailing its next-generation hydrogen fuel-cell-vehicle in March 2016 in Japan, with the car’s debut in the U.S. and Europe to follow. The 2016 timeframe is later than the 2015 introduction date Honda placed on the car a year ago when it detailed an FCV concept at the 2013 Los Angeles auto show. The technical specifications of the latest Honda concept, called FCV has a range of 300 miles (483 km), up from the 240-mile (386-km) range of Honda’s last production FCV, the FCX Clarity.

The projected range matches that of other FCVs, including the already-on-sale Hyundai Tucson. Honda describes the FCV Concept’s body as “low and wide” with “clean character lines.” It also says the car seats five people, up from four in the FCX Clarity. Honda says its production FCV launching in 2016 will boast a powertrain that fits entirely in the front-engine compartment, which allows it to be used in a variety of vehicles.

In the FCX Clarity, the stack was in the center tunnel and the electric motor placed low in the front. Honda pegs refueling time of its next-generation FCV at three to five minutes at a pressure of 10,153 psi (70 MPa), roughly the same metrics as the fuel cell driven Hyundai Tucson. The Japanese automaker has been working on FCVs in a public fashion for more than a decade.

In 2002, it introduced what it billed as the world’s first production fuel-cell vehicle, the FCX, which became the first FCV to be certified by the U.S. EPA and the California Air Resources Board.

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There were many firsts with the FCX and its successor, the FCX Clarity, such as the latter being the first dedicated-platform FCV, with a dedicated production line. But Honda, like other automakers with FCVs, still has struggled to find footing with them in the market.

In 2008, the automaker said it hoped to lease 200 FCX Claritys over a 3-year-period in the U.S. and Japan.

Getting sufficient infrastructure in place has been a key roadblock to greater consumer acceptance of FCVs, with most of the limited number of refueling stations in the U.S. located in California. Last year, Honda joined public-private partnership H2USA to help expand refueling stations throughout the U.S. In 2013, it also partnered with General Motors to develop next-gen fuel-cell technologies to be introduced around 2020.

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