Honda Debuts FCX Clarity Advanced Fuel Cell Vehicle
November 17, 2007 // Published as a news service by IHS
The FCX Clarity is a next-generation, zero-emissions, hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicle based on the new Honda V Flow fuel cell platform and powered by the Honda V Flow fuel cell stack.
According to Honda, the FCX Clarity features improvements to driving range, power, weight and efficiency.
"The FCX Clarity is a shining symbol of the progress we've made with fuel cell vehicles and of our belief in the promise of this technology," said Tetsuo Iwamura, American Honda president and CEO.
"Step by step, with continuous effort, commitment and focus, we are working to overcome obstacles to the mass-market potential of zero-emissions hydrogen fuel cell automobiles," Iwamura said.
American Honda plans to lease the FCX Clarity to a limited number of retail consumers in Southern California with the first deliveries taking place in summer 2008.
The vehicle uses Honda's V Flow stack in combination with a new compact lithium ion battery pack and a single hydrogen storage tank to power its electric drive motor.
The fuel cell stack operates as the vehicle's main power source. Hydrogen combines with atmospheric oxygen in the fuel cell stack, where chemical energy from the reaction is converted into electric power used to propel the vehicle.
Additional energy captured through regenerative braking and deceleration is stored in the lithium ion battery pack and used to supplement power from the fuel cell, when needed. The vehicle's only emission is water.
The FCX Clarity's V Flow platform packages the fuel cell stack, which Honda said is 65% smaller than its previous Honda fuel cell stack, in the vehicle's center tunnel, between the two front seats. The vertically oriented stack achieves an output of 100 kilowatts (kW) (versus 86 kW in the current Honda stack) with a 50% increase in output density by volume (67% by mass), Honda said.
Compared with the current-generation FCX, the FCX clarity offers the following performance and packaging features:
- A 20% increase in fuel economy - to the approximate equivalent of 68 miles per gallon (mpg) combined fuel economy (about two to three times the fuel economy of a gasoline-powered car, and 1.5 times that of a gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle, of comparable size and performance).
- A 30% increase in vehicle range - to 270 miles.
- A 25% improvement in power-to-weight ratio, in part from an approximate 400-pound reduction in the fuel cell powertrain weight.
- A 45% reduction in the size of the fuel cell powertrain - nearly equivalent, in terms of volume, to a modern gas-electric hybrid powertrain.
- A new lithium-ion battery pack that is 40% lighter and 50% smaller than the current-generation FCX's ultra-capacitor.
- A single 5,000-psi hydrogen storage tank with 10% additional hydrogen capacity than the previous model.
The FCX Clarity four-door sedan platform features a short-nose body and spacious cabin with accommodations for four people and their luggage. Major powertrain components - including the electric motor, fuel cell stack, battery pack and hydrogen tank - have been made more compact and are distributed throughout the vehicle to optimize space, comfort and vehicle performance, Honda said.
The vehicle features seat upholstery and door linings made from Honda bio-fabric, a newly developed, plant-based material that offers carbon dioxide (CO2) reductions. It is also equipped with safety, comfort and convenience features, including a navigation system with hydrogen station locations, backup camera, audio, climate-controlled seats, Bluetooth connectivity, shift-by-wire, electric power steering (EPS) and a newly designed instrument panel with a hydrogen fuel-consumption display.