The first ever production FCX Clarity – Honda’s advanced hydrogen fuel cell car – came off the line in Japan today (Monday, 16 June). After 19 years of development, this ‘real world’ fuel cell car marks the beginning of a new era of cleaner motoring.
The FCX Clarity – which emits only water from its exhaust pipe – was presented to three of the first US customers in a line-off ceremony at the world’s first dedicated fuel cell vehicle factory: the Honda Automobile New Model Centre (Takanezawa-machi, Shioya-gun, Tochigi Prefecture).
Lease sales are scheduled to begin in July in the United States, and in Japan this autumn. The combined sales plan for Japan and the US will be approximately 70 cars per year, with a total of 200 units over three years. Customers will follow a three-year lease term, at a price of $600 per month (approx £290), including maintenance and collision insurance.
Among the early adopters are the actress Jamie Lee Curtis and her filmmaker husband Christopher Guest, and film producer Ron Yerxa.
How it works
At the heart of the FCX Clarity is a fuel cell stack – a device that uses an electrochemical reaction between hydrogen (H2) and oxygen (O2) to convert chemical energy into electrical energy to power a motor that drives the car’s wheels. Honda’s FC stack simultaneously generates electricity and water, emitting no CO2 or other harmful emissions.
A new dedicated fuel cell vehicle assembly line has been established for the production of FCX Clarity, which includes processes unique to a fuel cell car, such as the installation of the fuel cell stack and hydrogen tank.
The fuel cell stack itself is produced at Honda Engineering Co., Ltd. (Haga-machi, Haga-gun, Tochigi Prefecture). In manufacturing fuel cells, exclusively designed automated equipment was introduced to ensure quality of the highest precision while enabling mass production of cells, with several hundred cells required for each fuel cell stack.
“The arrival of the first hydrogen fuel cell car is particularly significant during this time of rapidly increasing oil prices,” says John Kingston, Environment Manager for Honda (UK). “Honda is proud to offer an alternative energy solution that could reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and the effect of motoring on climate change.”
As well as its work with hybrid technology and other alternative energy solutions, Honda has been at the forefront of developing fuel cell systems since 1989. Honda was the first manufacturer to receive commercial certification for a fuel cell car and has 10 previous-generation fuel cell vehicles in experimental use around the world – more than anyone else.
And while the start of FCX Clarity production is a significant milestone for Honda, the company’s short-term focus is the continued development of its low emission, petrol-electric hybrid vehicle.
Next year, Honda’s more affordable hybrid car goes on sale in the UK – a car so keenly priced, that more people around the world will be able to adopt cleaner motoring technology, thus significantly reducing global car emissions.