Propelled by an electric motor that runs on electricity generated in a fuel cell, the vehicle's only emission is water, and its fuel efficiency is three times that of a modern gasoline-powered automobile and two times that of a gasoline-powered hybrid vehicle. The compact and powerful Honda V Flow Fuel Cell Stack allows for unprecedented spaciousness and a futuristically-stylish, low-slung design previously unattainable in fuel cell vehicles and marks the significant progress that Honda continues to make in advancing the real-world performance and appeal of a fuel cell car.
Honda plans to deliver approximately 200 FCX Clarity hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles to customers in the first three years of production. The lease program marks the world's first large-scale retail initiative for fuel cell vehicle technology. The first FCX Clarity retail customer took possession of their vehicle on July 25, 2008. Honda will continue the process of identifying customers from a group of over 50,000 individuals who have expressed interest in the FCX Clarity on the vehicle's website, fcx.honda.com.
"The FCX Clarity lease program is one more step toward meeting the societal goals of climate stability, renewable energy supplies and zero-emissions transportation," said John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda. "With this key step, we are advancing toward the goal of broader commercialization."
Reinforcing its commitment to further advance Honda fuel cell technology, American Honda has specified three Southern California dealerships to create the world's first fuel cell automobile dealership network. Power Honda Costa Mesa, Honda of Santa Monica and Scott Robinson Honda in Torrance are each located in close proximity to hydrogen refueling stations and will be well-positioned to support Honda's growing base of FCX Clarity customers.
American Honda is working with its dealer partners to implement processes for fuel cell vehicle lease, delivery and service support for the duration of their leases. Establishing a dedicated sales network and service infrastructure provides customers with the best balance of convenience and the highest quality of service. When the FCX Clarity requires periodic maintenance, customers will simply schedule a visit with their local FCX Clarity dealer. American Honda will perform all required work at its specialized fuel cell service facility in the greater Los Angeles area. Upon completion of the work, the dealer will return the vehicle to the customer.
Honda Fuel Cell Vehicle Firsts
The original FCX became the first EPA- and CARB -certified fuel cell vehicle to also meet all safety standards in July 2002. The FCX was also the world's first production fuel cell vehicle, introduced to the U.S. and Japan in October 2002. Additional highlights include:
* The FCX was the first fuel cell vehicle to start and operate in sub-freezing temperatures (2003).
* The FCX was the first fuel cell vehicle placed in the hands of an individual customer, the Spallino family of Southern California (July 2005).
* The world's youngest fuel cell customer, 17-year-old actress Q'orianka Kilcher leased an FCX in March 2007, making her the first person ever whose first car was powered by hydrogen.
* Honda becomes the first auto manufacturer to manufacture a dedicated fuel cell vehicle on a production line solely dedicated to the production of hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles (2008)
* Honda becomes the first manufacturer to create a fuel cell vehicle dealer network
Hydrogen Home Energy Station and Improved Solar-Cell Technology
Uniquely, Honda is also developing technology to answer the "chicken and the egg" dilemma of hydrogen refueling by testing the fourth generation Home Energy Station, developed in partnership with Plug Power, Inc..
* The Home Energy Station is a home-based refueling unit that provides hydrogen from natural gas for vehicle refueling, heat for domestic hot water use and electricity for the home.
* Honda R&D is also operating an experimental solar cell-powered hydrogen refueling station in Torrance, California. The station employs next-generation CIGS solar cells, developed by Honda Engineering Co., Ltd., which lowers the amount of non-renewable energy required for hydrogen production.