Honda launches new Clarity Fuel Cell at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show

Article by Christian Andrei, on October 31, 2015

Honda’s CLARITY FUEL CELL has finally made its debut at the 44th Tokyo Motor Show 2015. A production model has been made available to the public beginning October 30th and it will be on display to attendees of the event until November 8, 2015.

Honda’s plans for the new fuel cell vehicle (FCV) include setting a new standard that similar vehicles will be following in the future. People who remain attached to the capabilities of a conventional gasoline-powered vehicle will feel right at home with the CLARITY FUEL CELL, while enjoying the benefits that an FCV has in store for its users.

Despite having a fuel cell stack that has been reduced in size by 33%, the CLARITY FUEL CELL still gives an output that exceeds 100 kW. The FCV’s output density also improved by about 60%, achieving 3.1KW/L in this new model.

The reductions in size resulted to a fuel cell stack that is comparable in size to a V6 engine and fits under the sedan-type hood, the first of its kind to do so. As a result, the reduction has allowed Honda to design a sedan interior that gives enough space for five passengers including the driver.

The boosted output of the new fuel cell stack, combined with a 70MPa high-pressure hydrogen storage tank, gives the CLARITY FUEL CELL enough juice to travel to more than 700 km. This cruising is by far the longest an FCV can cruise.

Refilling is also a breeze when one is driving a CLARITY FUEL CELL, as the tank can be replenished in about 3 minutes only. Despite having an immense 130kW power output, the power plant for the FCV is surprisingly quiet, but also very responsive to driver input from the steering wheel.

The FCV can even perform a unique humanitarian function – installing an external power feeding device called the Power Exporter 9000 that will allow owners of the FCV to provide electricity to households after a natural disaster.

Because of this, Honda has set its eyes on selling the FCV mainly to business entities and local government units, during the year immediately following the Japanese release of the CLARITY FUEL CELL in March 2016. The Power Exporter 9000 will also go on sale simultaneously as the CLARITY FUEL CELL.

Honda’s partnership with businesses and government agencies will allow it to gather important information about the actual application of the FCV and the Power Exporter 9000 in certain situations. After the first year, private customers will be able to purchase the CLARITY FUEL CELL.

The FCV will be assembled at its Production Supervisory Unit and Powertrain Production Supervisory Unit in in Takanezawa-machi, Shioya-gun, in Tochigi. When the CLARITY FUEL CELL is made available, it will carry a price tag of 7.66 million yen.

Honda intends to increase its production after regular sales to individual customers begin, and eventually introduce an evolved version of the CLARITY FUEL CELL to the American and European markets.

The company has been at the forefront of research and development of hydrogen-emitting vehicles as a response to global warming, as well as the dwindling supply of fossil fuels used to power conventional vehicles.

In fact, it has been involved in developing the concept of the FCV since the 1980s, making the CLARITY FUEL CELL the product of nearly 30 years of research and development. Honda introduced its first FCV in 2002 when it released the Honda FCX.

The company received a certification from both the federal U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state-level California Air Resources Board, allowing the sales of the Honda FCX in both the automaker’s home country of Japan and in the United States.

FCX was followed by a more improved version called the FCX Clarity, which came out in 2008. The data that the company gathered from feedbacks on the two vehicles eventually led to the developments featured in the CLARITY FUEL CELL.

The Japanese automaker has, of course, no intention to stop with the new FCV. It intends to continue to develop technologies centered on the emission of hydrogen, particularly for new FCVS in the future, as well as peripherals like the Smart Hydrogen Station and external power feeding devices. The company’s catch phrase for the project is to “generate, use and get connected.”

Press Release

Honda Exhibits World Premiere of CLARITY FUEL CELL, Planned Production Model of its All-new Fuel Cell Vehicle, at 44th Tokyo Motor Show 2015

Honda Motor Co., Ltd. today unveiled the world premiere of the planned production model of its all-new fuel cell vehicle (FCV), CLARITY FUEL CELL, at the 44th Tokyo Motor Show 2015. This model will be on display at the Honda booth during the Tokyo Motor Show. (Press days: October 28-29, 2015 / Public days: October 30 – November 8, 2015)

The all-new CLARITY FUEL CELL fuses the ease of use of a gasoline-powered vehicle and values that are unique to a FCV at a high level. This fusion gives this sedan-type FCV high value and potential to set a benchmark for FCVs now and in the future.

Employing original Honda technologies, the fuel cell stack for this model was downsized by 33% compared to the previous version of the fuel cell stack and yet output of more than 100kW and output density of 3.1kW/L*1 – approximately a 60% improvement – were achieved. The fuel cell powertrain was made as compact as a V6 engine*2, and thus it was made possible to consolidate it under the hood of a sedan-type vehicle for the first time in the world*3. This powertrain layout enabled a full cabin package that seats five adults comfortably .

Combined with improved efficiency of the powertrain and a reduced energy requirement for driving, a 70MPa high-pressure hydrogen storage tank installed to this vehicle provides a cruising range of more than 700 km*4(Honda internal measurement – for reference), the top- class cruising range among all FCVs. The tank can be refilled in approximately three minutes*5, realizing ease of use equivalent to that of a gasoline-powered vehicle. Furthermore, the high-output motor with maximum output of 130kW*1 realizes both direct, highly- responsive and exhilarating driving experience and excellent quietness at the same time. In addition, when combined with an external power feeding device, the Power Exporter 9000, the all-new CLARITY FUEL CELL can function as a "power plant on wheels" that generates and provides electricity to the community in times of a disaster or other events.

Honda will begin lease sales in Japan of this all-new CLARITY FUEL CELL in March 2016. For the first year after the start of sales in Japan, Honda will focus on sales mainly to local government bodies or business customers which Honda has already been working together for the popularization of FCVs. During this period, Honda will collect information about the in- market use situation, including the external power feeding device, and gather diverse opinions from customers and other relevant organizations, then later begin sales to individual customers.

Honda will begin with small-volume production at the Production Supervisory Unit and Powertrain Production Supervisory Unit (located in Takanezawa-machi, Shioya-gun, Tochigi, Japan.), then eventually expand production volume and begin regular sales along with lease sales. The sales price*6 of CLARITY FUEL CELL in Japan will be 7.66 million yen (including consumption tax). The Power Exporter 9000, which has the capacity to feed approximately seven-days' worth*7 of electricity for an average household, is scheduled to go on sale at the same time as the CLARITY FUEL CELL. CLARITY FUEL CELL will be sequentially evolved into the U.S. and Europe.

Honda was one of the first automakers to begin focusing attention to hydrogen as a possible solution for issues such as global warming and depletion of fossil fuels. Honda has been positioning the FCV, which emits only water, as the ultimate environmentally-responsible vehicle and has taken a proactive approach to the research and development of FCVs since the late 1980s.

In 2002, the Honda FCX became the first fuel cell vehicle in the world to be certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB). With these certifications, Honda began lease sales of the Honda FCX in Japan and the U.S. In 2008, Honda became the first automaker to begin lease sales of the FCX Clarity, which featured an innovative sedan-type package and unprecedented driving experience. The all-new CLARITY FUEL CELL was developed based on various data related to the ease of use and driving performance of these previous Honda FCVs.

With the goal to make a contribution to the forthcoming hydrogen energy society and to realize the joy and freedom of mobility and a sustainable society where people can enjoy life, Honda will continue taking on new challenges in the area of hydrogen technologies including the Smart Hydrogen Station, FCVs and external power feeding devices under the concept of "generate, use and get connected."

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