Facing Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz and Toyota, Honda is getting back in the hydrogen fuel cell vehicle battle and enters this fight with futuristic looks and a promise to come to market by 2016.
Honda revealed yesterday, November 17, in Japan, the FCV Concept, Honda’s fuel-cell vehicle concept. Honda did so a few days before the start of the Los Angeles auto show where Toyota is expected to unveil its production ready Mirai fuel cell vehicle.
Honda said the FCV Concept showcases the styling evolution of Honda’s fuel-cell vehicle anticipated to launch in Japan by March of 2016, followed by U.S. and Europe.
The Honda FCV Concept features a low and wide aerodynamic body with what the company defines as clean character lines. Honda added the interior strives to achieve harmony between man and machine by taking advantage of new powertrain packaging efficiencies delivering even greater passenger space than its predecessor, the FCX Clarity, including seating for up to five people.
In an effort to support the wider introduction of fuel-cell vehicles, Honda stated it will make an announcement at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show about its commitment to help expand and accelerate California’s public hydrogen refueling station network.
Honda explained its 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.
Banking on technological advancements to the fuel-cell stack, Honda said these now yield more than 100 kilowatt of power output. The power density is now 3.1 kilowatt per liter, an increase of 60 percent, with the stack size reduced 33 percent compared to the Honda FCX Clarity.
The next-generation Honda FCV is targeted to deliver a driving range of more than 300 miles with a quick refueling time of about three to five minutes at a pressure of 70 Mpa, added Honda.
Honda has been involved in the development and deployment of fuel-cell technology for nearly two decades through extensive real-world testing, including the first government fleet deployment and retail customer leasing program.
The company introduced its first generation fuel-cell vehicle, the FCX, in 2002 and has deployed vehicles in the U.S. and Japan, including the FCX Clarity, which was named the 2009 World Green Car. Honda explained it has delivered these vehicles to individual retail consumers in the U.S. and collected valuable feedback concerning real-world use of both fuel-cell vehicles and public hydrogen stations.
The company has been involved since May 2013 in the public-private partnership H2USA, which brings together automakers, government agencies, hydrogen suppliers, and the hydrogen and fuel-cell industries to coordinate research and identify cost-effective solutions to deploy infrastructure that can deliver affordable, clean hydrogen fuel in the United States.
In June 2013, Honda also entered into a long-term collaborative agreement with General Motors to co-develop the next-generation of fuel-cell systems and hydrogen storage technologies, aiming for the 2020 timeframe.