"FCX Concept"
"FCX Concept"
[Click to enlarge image]

Honda Motor Co Ltd made a speech about its "FCX Clarity" fuel cell vehicle at the Hydrogen Expo (open: March 30 to Apr 1, 2008).

The FCX Clarity was first announced at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November 2007. The car will be offered for lease starting summer 2008.

In its booth at the Hydrogen Expo, Honda handed out brochures detailing some of the specifications of the FCX Clarity. For example, the Li-ion rechargeable battery on the car has a voltage of 288V.

The rechargeable battery unit is 40% lighter and 50% smaller in volume compared with the battery unit on the 2005 model FCX, which has an electric double layer capacitor. The electric control unit (ECU) of the battery unit is not provided integrally with the battery unit but is separately installed on the upper side of the unit.

In view of environment, Honda not just used hydrogen fuel but also gave consideration to the materials used in the interior. Specifically, polytrimethylen terephthalate (PTT) made from corn is used for the seat surface, the door surface on the interior side (lining), the tray of the console box and the fabric on the armrests.

Furthermore, the company used plant-derived polylactic acid (PLA) for the ceiling in the interior, the floor carpet and the lining of the trunk.

The company made a lecture in the Parallel Session 5 titled "Moving Hydrogen Vehicle into Commercialization" in NHA Annual Hydrogen Conference on the afternoon of April 2, 2008. In the lecture, the company announced that it will start leasing the car to residents in Los Angeles County and Orange County in South California from summer 2008.

The cost of a three-year lease is US$600 a month. Meanwhile, the existing model is leased at US$500 a month.

An interesting description about the fuel tank was found in Honda's presentation, although the company did not mention about it in the lecture. According to the presentation, the new FCX Clarity uses a 35MPa high-pressure tank for the fuel tank.

However, the tank can withstand a charging pressure of up to 42MPa with the adoption of an algorithm jointly developed by Honda and Air Products and Chemical Inc. Although the details were not unveiled, software processing on a device equipped with a dispenser enabled charging to 42MPa.

Correction Notice: Because of a reporting error, we incorrectly used the caption "The FCX Clarity on display" for the photo in the article, which is actually "FCX Concept."