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At the end of this month, Honda is planning to unveil its near-production fuel cell vehicle, currently named the FCV.
The debut – scheduled to occur at the Tokyo Motor Show – will feature a hydrogen-powered sedan very similar to the final version Honda is bringing to market next year. Honda said it has made a few changes to the FCV since introducing it as a prototype in November 2014.
The most significant improvement on the FCV is its range. Last November, Honda’s concept had an approximate range of more than 300 miles. That positioned it on even ground with the 312-mile rated Toyota Mirai.
With new developments, the FCV is estimated to reach 435 miles on a full tank of hydrogen. Its upgraded fuel cell stack also now yields 130 kilowatts of power. Other features of the FCV’s powertrain include lithium ion batteries for energy storage and a 130-kilowatt electric motor.
“Honda’s next-generation fuel-cell vehicle launching in 2016 applies a fuel-cell powertrain that fits completely within the front engine compartment of the vehicle, allowing for efficiencies in cabin space as well as flexibility in the potential application of fuel-cell technology to multiple vehicle models in the future,” Honda said in a statement. “The power density is now 3.1 kilowatts per liter, an increase of 60 percent, with the stack size reduced 33 percent compared to the Honda FCX Clarity.”
In addition to range, Honda also has a size advantage over the Mirai and the ability carry up to five passengers. Only four people can ride in the Mirai.
Honda said slight changes were made to the FCV design to give it a “bold and aero” appearance on the outside and an “advanced modern lounge” atmosphere in the cabin.
“We sought beauty as a sedan as well as a spirit of innovation befitting a model that breaks through to new age,” said Honda.
Sales for the FCV are expected to begin in Japan before April 2016. The FCV will be also be released in Europe and the U.S. at a later, unannounced date.