Honda Unveils a New Fuel Cell Vehicle to be Leased Out in 2008
November 21, 2007
Honda unveiled its latest fuel cell car, the FCX Clarity, at the Los Angeles Auto Show on November 14th. The new vehicle includes a high-pressure hydrogen tank mounted over its rear axle, a 100-kilowatt fuel cell in the car's center tunnel (between the two front seats), and a lithium-ion battery pack tucked under the rear seat. The battery and fuel cell provide power to the FCX Clarity's 100-kilowatt motor, achieving a vehicle range of about 270 miles. Honda estimates the vehicle's fuel economy to be equivalent to 68 miles per gallon of gasoline. And thanks to Honda's unique vertical-flow fuel cell, the car is expected to start at temperatures as low as minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit.
But the FCX Clarity isn't just a concept car; it will hit U.S. roads next year. Honda is planning to lease the vehicle to a limited number of people in southern California starting in the summer. So if you live near Irvine, Santa Monica, or Torrance, and you're willing to shell out about $600 per month for a three-year lease, you could be driving a fuel cell vehicle in 2008. The lease will include collision insurance and will cover any maintenance costs. Maintenance can be scheduled with a local Honda dealer, which will transport the vehicle to Honda's fuel cell service, located in the greater Los Angeles area. See the Honda press release and the FCX Clarity Web site.
Honda also announced that it has developed a new experimental version of its home refueling station for fuel cell vehicles. The Home Energy Station IV converts natural gas into hydrogen, then purifies it and pressurizes it for use in a fuel cell vehicle. The system can also generate heat and electricity for a home, making it an all-in-one energy source. Honda is testing the refueling station at its facility in Torrance, but unfortunately, the company doesn't plan to provide the refueling station to those leasing its FCX Clarity. See the Honda press release.