Honda reveals FCEV Concept, showing no plan to give up on fuel cell technology

Remember the Honda FCX Clarity? Don’t worry; we don’t, either.

The past three years in automotive industry have been so completely transfixed on electrified cars, like the Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt and Tesla Model S, that the noise around other alt-fuel vehicles has been nearly hushed. Honda hopes to change that, though, as evidenced by today’s debut of the hydrogen fuel-cell-powered FCEV Concept.

Unlike past fuel-cell vehicles, the FCEV Concept is the first-ever car to move the fuel-cell powertrain inside the engine bay. That change in design creates additional space for passengers, as well as the opportunity to potentially implement the technology across other vehicle segments in the future. By comparison to the current FCX Clarity, the FCEV Concept has a smaller fuel-cell stack that, despite its diminutive size, produces more electricity, upping the car’s efficiency and driving range.

To us, though, the FCEV looks a bit too much like the plug-in hybrid Volkswagen XL1. Yes, it’s a great design. But, c’mon, Honda, come up with your own bodylines!

“The Honda FCEV Concept not only sets our direction for our next generation fuel-cell vehicle in 2015, but for future improvements in electric drive technology,” said Mike Accavitti, senior vice president of American Honda Motor Co. “The advancements we are making are substantial, meaningful and very real.”

Like my editor Nick Jaynes loves to often say, “we at Digital Trends are big fans of hydrogen fuel-cell technology.” Although a lot more energy is being put toward the development of regular electric vehicles, we believe that hydrogen will be apart of the ever-diversifying vehicle powertrain world.

The production version of this FCEV Concept will first go on sale in Japan and the U.S. as a 2015 model. Following the U.S. and Japanese roll-out, the production FCEVs will make their way to Europe shortly thereafter. 

What do you think of the FCEV Concept? Let us know if the comments below. And while you’re at it, take a look at the rest of our coverage from the 2013 LA Auto Show.