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.”