2008 Geneva – Honda FCX Clarity Makes European Debut
Do you like this Story?
Geneva sees the European debut of the Honda FCX Clarity fuel cell vehicle, which emits no pollution, only clean water vapour. The FCX Clarity will be available to lease in the US from this summer and in Japan in the Autumn
The FCX Clarity is a next-generation, zero-emission, hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicle based on and entirely new V flow fuel cell platform, and powered by the highly compact, efficient and powerful V Flow fuel cell stack. The latest FCX features tremendous improvements to driving range, power, weight and efficiency and boasts a low-slung, dynamic and sophisticated appearance, previously unachievable in a fuel cell vehicle due to limitations of the size of the fuell cell stack. The FCX Clarity is a significant landmark as Honda continues building the real-world performance and appeal of the hydrogen-powered fuel cell car.
How the FCX Clarity got its name
Honda chose this name to express the idea that the company is creating a fuel cell vehicle that will offer a clear solution to the challenges of the future, helping society achieve sustainable mobility.
How the FCX Clarity works
The FCX Clarity utilises a V Flow stack in combination with a new compact and efficient lithium ion battery pack and a single hydrogen storage tank to power the vehicle’s 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 energy from the reaction is converted into electric power used to propel the vehicle. Additional energy is also generated through the capture of kinetic energy from vehicle braking and deceleration (regenerative braking), which is stored along with surplus energy from the fuel cell in the lithium ion battery pack, and is used to supplement power from the fuel cell, when needed. The vehicle’s only emission is water vapour.
V Flow FC Stack
The V Flow FC Stack features an entirely new cell structure that achieves a higher output of 100kW, smaller size and lower weight, with a 50% improvement in output density by volume, and a 67% increase in output density by mass, compared to the previous Honda FC stack.
Improved Startup Capability at Low Temperatures
Improved water drainage due to the V Flow cell structure facilitates better output immediately after startup. The reduced coolant volume and single-box design made possible by the wave flow-channel separators results in heat mass 40% lower than previous stacks. As a result, startup is now possible at temperatures as low as -30° C.
V Flow Fuel Cell Platform
The FCX Clarity’s revolutionary new V Flow platform packages the ultra-compact, lightweight and powerful V Flow fuel cell stack in the vehicle’s centre tunnel, between the two front seats. The compact size of the new V Flow FC Stack allows for a more spacious interior and more efficient packaging of other powertrain components, which would otherwise be unattainable in a sleek, low-slung sedan.
FCX Clarity Design
More than just a fuel cell vehicle – the FCX Clarity portrays Honda’s vision of the future of automobile design and performance freed from the constraints of conventional powertrain technologies. The FCX Clarity’s four-door sedan platform features a short-nose body and spacious cabin with comfortable accommodation 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 are distributed throughout the vehicle to further optimise space, comfort and total vehicle performance.
Advanced Materials and Components
In keeping with its theme as an environmentally-advanced automobile, the FCX Clarity features seat upholstery and door linings made from Honda Bio-Fabric – a newly-developed, plant-based material that offers CO2 reductions as an alternative to traditional interior materials, along with outstanding durability and resistance to wear, stretching, and damage from sunlight.
Designed to appeal to forward-thinking customers seeking the ultimate in zero-emissions, alternative-fuel vehicle performance, the FCX Clarity is also equipped with a full compliment of advanced safety, comfort and convenience features. These features consist of a state-of-the-art navigation system with hydrogen station locations, a rear view camera, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Collision Mitigation Brake System (CMBS), a premium sound system, climate controlled seats and Bluetooth® connectivity.
Other improvements, such as shift-by-wire, electric power steering (EPS), and a newly designed instrument panel with easy-to-read display of hydrogen fuel consumption, further improve its customer appeal and ease of operation.
The FCX Clarity’s only emission is water vapour. CO2 emissions related to the production of hydrogen vary by source; however, well-to-wheel CO2 emissions using hydrogen reformed from natural gas – the most widely used method of production today – are less than half that of a conventional petrol vehicle. With the production of hydrogen from water by electrolysis, CO2 emissions can be further reduced and ultimately approach zero if the electricity is generated from sustainable sources, such as solar, wind, hydro or wave power.
In the area of solar technology, Honda has developed its own solar cells, with half the CO2 emissions in the production stage compared to conventional crystalline silicon cells; and has begun mass-production and retail sales of this technology in Japan for both commercial and residential use. These panels are also used to generate electricity for the Torrance R&D refuelling station.
Fuel Cell Leadership
For forty years Honda has worked hard to reduce the environmental impact of the automobile, including efforts to reduce emissions, boost fuel efficiency and, now, many industry-leading efforts to advance the hydrogen fuel cell vehicle – a technology and fuel that Honda believes may hold the ultimate promise for a clean and sustainable transportation future. Honda’s pioneering achievements in this area include the first U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB) certification of a fuel cell vehicle (2002); the first lease of a fuel cell vehicle (2002); the first fuel cell vehicle to receive an EPA fuel economy rating (2002); the first cold-weather customer (2004); the first and still only individual retail customers (2005, 2007).