Honda to launch new hydrogen fuel cell vehicle in 2015

Honda FCX ClarityHydrogen fuel cells were once touted as the path to zero-emission motoring, but advances in battery technology made hybrids and battery-powered electric vehicles more practical. Still Honda, which has built two fuel cell vehicles in the past, isn’t giving up on the universe’s most abundant element. It will launch a new fuel cell car in 2015.

“This new fuel cell vehicle will showcase further technological advancement and significant cost reduction that Honda has accomplished,” Honda CEO and president Takanobu Ito said at his mid-year speech in Japan.

Ito said the new fuel cell vehicle will be sold in the United States, Europe, and Japan. Development at North American Honda’s Research & Development Center in Liberty, Ohio is ongoing.

Honda has already put two fuel cell vehicles, the FCX and FCX Clarity (pictured) into limited production. These cars constituted a “pilot program,” similar to what Honda and other companies such as BMW and Audi are using to develop battery-powered electric vehicles. The data gleaned from the FCX models will help Honda’s engineers design a mass-market fuel cell vehicle.

While the first FCX was more of a science project than a practical car, the FCX Clarity has everything the average buyer could want. Launched in 2009, it is about the same size as the outgoing Accord sedan, and its 134 horsepower electric motor offers similar performance to a midsize sedan with a four-cylinder gasoline engine.

Ito did not reveal any technical specifications, but the new Honda will most likely be powered by an electric motor, with the fuel cell in place of a conventional EV’s battery.

In fuel cell cars, hydrogen is stored under high pressure, then run through the fuel cell to generate electricity. The system emits nothing but water.

The fuel cell car will be built as either a four-door sedan or a five-door hatchback like the FCX Clarity.

Honda may have perfected fuel cell technology, but that doesn’t mean everyone will be filling their cars with hydrogen by 2015. Fuel cells come with the same range and availability issues as batteries.

Honda claimed a 270-mile range for the FCX Clarity, about the same as the most powerful Tesla Model S. However, there are virtually no hydrogen filling stations, while EV charging stations are slowly springing up across the country.

Making battery-powered cars more practical is just a matter of building more stations, and hooking them up to an existing electrical infrastructure. Things get more complicated with hydrogen.

Hydrogen may be the most abundant element in the universe, but it usually comes bonded to something else. An environmentally responsible way of refining industrial quantities of hydrogen has not been devised.

Still, fuel cells offer the possibility of eliminating emissions without heavy batteries and long charging times. It may be a gamble for Honda, but it will offer consumers yet another alternative to fossil fuels.


Mercedes wants to turn your car into a comfortable shopping mall on wheels

Mercedes-Benz designed its MBUX infotainment system with e-commerce in mind. Motorists can upgrade compatible cars via an over-the-air software updating system, but the brand wants to take this technology to the next level.

FWD vs. RWD vs. AWD: How the wheels that turn change the way you drive

Let's face it, you've likely heard front-, rear-, and all-wheel drive mentioned before in some context or another. But what do these terms mean, especially in terms of performance? We’ve got the answers.

Amazon and Kia team up to simplify EV home-charging station installs

Kia Motors announced a new program with Amazon for electric vehicles. Customers planning to purchase a new Kia EV or PHEV can check out recommended Level 2 240-volt home charging stations and arrange installation in their homes.

Adventurous and electric, Porsche’s second station wagon will arrive in 2020

The Mission E Cross Turismo concept Porsche unveiled during the 2018 Geneva Auto Show will morph into a production model tentatively named Taycan Cross Turismo. This 600-horsepower electric station wagon will arrive in showrooms by 2021.

Tesla wirelessly gives the Model 3 a 5-percent increase in power

Tesla again showed the potential of its innovative over-the-air software updating system by making the Model 3 five percent more powerful via a firmware update. The Performance model gained 23 horsepower.

Fiat wants to transform the cheeky 500 city car into an urban Tesla

Fiat is finally preparing a new 500. Scheduled to make its debut in early 2020, the retro-chic city car will go electric in part to comply with looming emissions regulations.
Product Review

Who needs a Range Rover? BMW’s X7 has better tech and just as much luxury

The 2019 BMW X7 is the German automaker’s long-overdue entry into the full-size luxury SUV segment. Packing three rows of seats and plenty of tech, can the new BMW take on Mercedes-Benz and Land Rover?

Say goodbye to Uber for good: Here's how to cut ties with the ridesharing service

If you thought that deleting the Uber app would also delete your account, think again. You'll have to deactivate your account, then wait 30 days in order to do so. Here, we outlined how to delete your Uber account once and for all.

Shift it yourself: How to drive stick in a manual transmission car

Driving a manual transmission car might seem intimidating at first, but it's not as difficult as you might think. Knowing how to operate this type of gearbox will serve you well. Here's everything you need to know to learn how to drive…

Waymo boosts robo-taxi plans with new service center in Arizona

Waymo has announced plans for a facility in Phoenix, Arizona, that will help to service, maintain, and grow its fleet of autonomous Waymo One cars. The vehicles operate as part of the company's robo-taxi ridesharing service.

Vivint’s Car Guard keeps tabs on your vehicle when you’re not in it

A simple plug-in that you can place in just about any vehicle, Vivint's new Car Guard will automatically detect if your car is bumped, towed, or stolen and will alert you about it.

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC coupe gets a tech upgrade, keeps quirky styling

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC coupe debuts at the 2019 New York Auto Show with an upgraded infotainment system that incorporates Mercedes' digital assistant. The SUV launches later this year with turbocharged four-cylinder power.

This modified Land Rover Discovery is heading to Africa to help fight malaria

A Land Rover Discovery will be used by the Mobile Malaria Project for a 3,900-mile trek across Africa to study malaria. The SUV is equipped with a mobile gene-sequencing laboratory, as well as everything necessary for serious off-roading.

Volvo wants to use speed limiters, in-car cameras, and data to reduce crashes

Volvo believes new tech is the best way to improve car safety. The Swedish automaker will let owners set speed limits when loaning out their cars, install cameras to monitor drivers, and use data to design better safety features.