What Is It?
Honda FCEV Concept
What's Special About It?
A fanciful expression of what's to come, the Honda FCEV Concept hints at the styling of the company's production fuel cell vehicle, slated for launch in the U.S. and Japan in 2015. If the production car looks anything like this concept, it will be the most dramatic-looking, futuristic car on the road: well, as long as Honda doesn't pull a Volt on us and water it down for production.
The most significant aspects about the production car (which replaces the FCX Clarity) are the numerous enhancements to its fuel cell powertrain. The fuel cell stack itself is a third smaller than the one in the FCX Clarity, yet it produces 60 percent more power. This compact fuel cell stack has enabled the entire powertrain — stack, motor, power electronics, etc. — to fit in the engine bay rather than be scattered throughout the vehicle. As a result, this powertrain takes one big step toward becoming a modular unit, or at minimum reduces the extent of platform changes necessary to accommodate it.
Honda says this next-gen fuel cell car will have a range greater than 300 miles and can be refueled in less than 3 minutes. This appears to be a shot across the bow of traditional EV manufacturers, of which only Tesla has anything approaching that range, and none of which have such quick refueling capability now or in the foreseeable future.
The hydrogen infrastructure continues to be a challenge, of course, but Honda is figuring that it's better to build the car and worry about the stations later.
What Edmunds Says: Honda's been honing its fuel cell craft for many years and has become an industry leader in the field. There are still significant hurdles in rolling out a viable refueling infrastructure, but the range, power and refueling times of this latest powertrain are eye-opening.
Range: Less than 300 miles
Refueling Time: 3 minutes