SMART TECHNOLOGY: Honda has unveiled its fuell-cell concept vehicle, the FCV, in Tokyo, Japan. Image: Honda ~ Supplied
TOKYO, Japan - Honda has unveiled a concept fuel-cell vehicle, the Honda FCV, and a power exporter concept (read mini-power station), an external device to enable alternating current from the FCV with maximum output of 9kW, as measured by Honda.
The production FCV, Honda says, is scheduled to go on sale in Japan by the end of March 2016 and then in the US and Europe.
In addition to the FCV and external power-feeding device, Honda will further promote the application of the its smart hydrogen station - a packaged unit that adopts Honda’s original high-differential pressure electrolyser.
Honda says it will work toward the "forthcoming hydrogen society" under three key concepts – ‘generate’, ‘use’ and ‘get connected’ – in its pursuing of a CO2-free society.
Honda views hydrogen as a high-potential, next-generation, energy carrier because the gas can be generated from various energy sources and is easy to transport and store. Based on this, Honda has been positioning the FCV - which uses electricity generated through the chemical reaction of hydrogen and oxygen as a power source for the electric motor – as the ultimate environmentally responsible vehicle and taking a proactive approach to the research and development of FCVs since the late 1980's.
In 2002, as far as Honda knows, the Honda FCX became the first fuel-cell vehicle in the world to be certified by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board. With these certificates, Honda began leasing the FCX in Japan and the US.
A year later the automaker had developed the Honda FC Stack, the world’s first fuel-cell stack able to start at below-freezing temperatures.
Then, in 2005, Honda became the world’s first to begin lease sales of FCVs to individual customers in the US.
In 2008, Honda began leasing FCX Clarity units, an unprecedented fuel-cell vehicle that offers not only the ultimate in clean performance but also the appeal of a car, including an innovative sedan package and driving feel far beyond conventional vehicles.
As demonstrated by this track record to date, Honda claims it has been a leading company in the field of FCV development, amassing real-world data through lease sales in Japan and the US, including actual feedback from individual users and also driving data from the vehicles.
The Honda FCV Concept is a concept car for Honda’s next-generation FCV, a successor model to the FCX Clarity, with which Honda strives to achieve a further improvement in performance and a reduction in cost.
The newly-developed fuel-cell stack installed to this concept car is 33% smaller than the previous fuel-cell stack and yet achieves output of more than 100kW and output density as high as 3.1kW/L, improving the overall performance by approximately 60% compared to the previous version of the fuel-cell stack.
Honda’s next-generation FCV will be the world’s first FCV sedan with the entire power train, including the downsized fuel-cell stack, consolidated under the bonnet of a sedan vehicle, a layout that allowed a normal passenger cabin for five adults.
That could evolve into multiple models when the more widespread use of FCV's requires enhanced choices for customers.
The Honda FCV Concept is also equipped with a 70MPa high-pressure hydrogen storage tank that provides a cruising range of more than 700km. The tank can be refilled in approximately three minutes, making refuelling as quick and easy as a petrol vehicles.
Furthermore, the Honda FCV Concept features an external power feeding function, which underwent a large number of verification tests with the FCX Clarity. When combined with an external power feeding device, this FCV can function as a small-sized mobile power plant that generates and provides electricity to the community in times of disaster or other events.
Striving to make a contribution to the forthcoming ‘hydrogen energy society’, Honda will continue taking on new challenges in the area of hydrogen technologies including the Smart Hydrogen Station, FCVs and external power feeding devices.