The Honda FCX (commonly referred to as Fuel Cell eXperimental) is a family of hydrogen fuel cell automobiles manufactured by Honda.
As of March 2007, there are more than twenty Honda FCX vehicles in the hands of customers , including the state of New York, cities of Las Vegas, Chula Vista, San Francisco and the South Coast Air Quality Management Districtin three different American states.
Limited marketing of a latest fuel cell vehicle named FCX Clarity, based on the 2007 concept model, began in June 19, 2008 in Japan and the United States. Honda believes it could start mass producing the next model evolved from the FCX concept by the year 2018.
At the 2006 Detroit Auto Show, Honda announced that it would make a production version of the concept FCX it had shown at the 2005 Tokyo Motor Show. On 25 September 2006 this new version was unveiled. The updated four-door sedan version looks sleeker and more futuristic, and has a high focus on comfort and interior space. It has a much more spacious interior with a mixture of plastic, wood and leather.
Production is expected to begin in 2008 in Japan and the U.S. The production version will closely resemble the concept, although it is unknown if some of the concept’s more radical features, such as a tilting instrument panel, will be included.
According to Honda, the new fuel-cell stack is 20% smaller, 30% lighter and has a higher output of 100 kW (136 PS; 134 bhp) . The new powerplant is 180 kg lighter, 40% smaller in volume and has a high energy efficiency of 60%, compared with 20% for most internal combustion engines, 30% for most hybrid powerplants and 50% for the previous generation FCX.
The new powerplant utilizes three electric motors: one front-drive motor with an output of up to 80 kW, this motor’s shaft is coaxial with the gearbox for a more compact front-end, and two smaller motors with a maximum output of 25 kW driving one of the rear wheels each. This layout makes the FCX technically an all-wheel-drive vehicle. The updated FCX has a maximum speed of 160 km/h (100 mph).
The new FCX utilizes several interesting new features. The new V Flow fuel cell stack can operate at temperatures as low as −30 °C. This is achieved by allowing the hydrogen to flow vertically in the fuel cell stack. The tanks can store up to 5 kg (171 litres) of hydrogen at a pressure of 350 atmospheres, thanks to the new hydrogen absorption materials used. This allows a longer range of up to 350 miles (570 km).
To support the hydrogen fuel-cell technology, Honda also introduced the Home Energy Station (HES). This home solution can convert natural gas to electricity, heat and hydrogen to refuel fuel-cell vehicles. This allows consumers to refuel vehicles with hydrogen at home, important until hydrogen stations become widespread.
Alternatively, the hydrogen can be used in the HES’s built-in hydrogen fuel cell, providing up to 5 kW of normal or backup electricity and/or hot water for the home. According to Honda, this solution is highly efficient and reduces running costs of electricity, gas and vehicle fuel by up to 50%.