2016 honda fcv – DOC648898
Honda’ s first mass market fuel cell car has taken a lot of different forms as it evolves into something that you can buy at a dealership. The first prototypes were shown all of the way back in 1999, then there were a number of test vehicles build from there. Another concept showed up in 2006, followed by the FCX Clarity in 2008, which was produced and leased in very limited numbers for research purposes. Then Honda showed off a concept of an actual production model at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show, and the name of the project changed from FCX to FCV.
This represents a change from “Fuel Cell eXperimental” to “Fuel Cell Vehicle”, signaling that Honda is finally serious about putting the car into production, even if it does have a tremendously uncreative name. Now Honda is announcing that a production-ready version of the car will debut at the Tokyo Motor Show, along with a real name, and a few teaser photos have come out as well. The car has been toned down from the concept, obviously, but the evolution of the model is still evident in the new design. And although Toyota might has beaten Honda to market with its own fuel cell car, this is still a very important vehicle.
The design on the car’s exterior shares a lot with the Detroit concept, and is mostly just a functional version of the same design. The front fascia has been slightly revised, with a lower grille portion being added and the chrome strip running across the front having been made smaller to allow for more airflow. This is an improvement over the concept, as the strip was a bit much there, but the finished product doesn’t look all that different from any other Honda product. You certainly wouldn’t know that there was anything special about the car when looking at it head on.
They are reminiscent of the much more aggressive skirts on the first generation Insight
The wheels have carried over from the concept, and so has the glass roof and seemingly superfluous vents in the bodywork, but the more surprising feature to have been carried over is the skirts over the rear wheels. They are reminiscent of the much more aggressive skirts on the first generation Insight, and one wonders if Honda’s designers are look for customers to make a connection between alternative fuels and wheel skirts. Whatever the case, these skirts at least won’t be such a pain when the need arises to change a flat.
Honda hasn’t released any photos of the FCV’s interior yet, but the exterior design raises some interesting questions. The interior of the concept was the kind of futuristic wackiness that you expect from a concept, secure in the knowledge that it will never make it onto a production version of the car. But this is sort of true of the exterior as well, and more of that carried over than a lot of people expected. So we should at least consider the concept’s interior.
The dash is topped with what looks like cooling fins, which is an odd touch
Things like the concept’s U-shaped steering wheel hopefully won’t make it to production, and the center console (including gearshift) being replaced by a big touchscreen also seems needlessly complicated and expensive, though admittedly not impossible. The dash is topped with what looks like cooling fins, which is an odd touch, and the center stack is made entirely of looks like a tablet that was affixed as an afterthought. This could remain the entirety of the center stack in the production car, but hopefully the screen will be better integrated into the dash. One interesting thing on the concept was that the gauges were all replaced by one large heads-up screen. If this could be duplicated in a way that would make sense on a production car, it could be a cool design touch. The chrome-accented wood trim also looked good, and it would be nice to see it at least offered as an option.
This is obviously the whole reason for this car existing. The FCV is an electric car that uses hydrogen fuel cells in place of the batteries used by more conventional electrics. A Couple of other mass-market hydrogen cars already exist, in the form of Hyundai ’s fuel cell version of the Tucson, and the only dedicated fuel cell mass-market car, the Toyota Mirai . What will set the Honda apart from these other vehicles is that Honda intends to fit all of the fuel cell workings under the hood, with the fuel tank remaining at the back. This will allow for a layout and weight setup that is more like a conventional car, although whether or not that will actually be beneficial remains to be seen.
Toyota is saying the car will have of a range of more than 700km (437.5 miles) on one tank of fuel, and this is where we get into the advantage of a hydrogen vehicle. Not only is this range quite a bit better than even some of the very expensive battery vehicles out there, refueling also doesn’t take any longer than it would to fuel a car with an internal combustion engine. Infrastructure remains a hindrance to this, but that is expected to change as adoption picks up. The only emissions at point of operation are a bit of heat and water, although much like battery EVs, that doesn’t mean that the fuel’s point of origin doesn’t create emissions.
Honda hasn’t released any prices just yet, but don’t expect it to be cheap. Judging by the pricing of what little competition for this car at this point, a good estimate would put the price at around $60,000. There will likely be some relatively small incentives, but for most people who want to drive an electric car, a battery vehicle will be the only reasonably priced option for at least a few more years.
The first dedicated mass-market fuel cell vehicle in the world, the Mirai is the car that Toyota is using to feel out the hydrogen market. It’s a risk, but it’s the kind of risk that paid off big for Toyota with the Prius, and if Toyota can dominate the fuel cell market the way it dominates hybrids, then it will all have been worth it. Toyota has done job of publicizing the vehicle, even giving one to Shinzo Abe, the Prime Minister of Japan.
Hyundai Tucson FCEV
Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell
You would have to want to have a fuel cell vehicle a lot in order to pay somewhere around 60 grand for a Tucson. That said, this is the only choice there is for a fuel cell SUV. These were the actual first mass-market fuel cell vehicles in the world, it’s just a little different because they’re based on an existing model. That makes the Tucson FCEV a bit less sexy, but it’s still such a small market niche that that’s okay.
When it came to fuel cell vehicles, Honda must not have wanted to repeat the mistake it made with hybrids of not starting off with a mainstream dedicated model. The Insight was too niche, and the Civic Hybrid lacked the eco-sexiness that comes with dedicated models like the Prius or anything from Tesla . So for the company’s first mass-market hydrogen car, this seems to be the correct route to take. Moreover, the somewhat usual (and some might even say vaguely futuristic) look of the car should also be good for this, as this seems to be the best approach when it comes to selling alternative fuel cars.
- Electric driving without all of the waiting to charge
- Unique exterior design
- Potentially a very interesting interior
- Almost no infrastructure anywhere
- Much too expensive
- Wheel skirts are weird
Honda’s original technologies have made the tentatively-named FCV, the world’s first production model of a fuel-cell powered saloon to house the entire fuel-cell powertrain in the space normally occupied by the engine and transmission. This powertrain layout has enabled a full cabin package that seats five adults comfortably. Moreover, the all-new FCV features a cruising range of more than 700 km while exhilarating driving is made possible by the high-output motors. The Japanese specification FCV can also act as a mobile power plant thanks to its external power feeding inverter, meaning that it will generate and provide electricity to communities in the case of an emergency.