Honda FCV: This is Honda’s hydrogen Toyota Mirai fighter

Honda FCV

435-mile range promised ahead of Tokyo motor show unveiling

Honda is getting into the hydrogen fuel cell game in earnest, and the company has just previewed the production version of the FCV sedan ahead of its Tokyo motor show unveiling.

The styling has been turned down just a couple of notches from the 2015 FCV Concept that we saw nine months ago at the Detroit auto show, though predictably so. The raised bustle-back trunk and the tapered rear wheelarch have stayed — a vestige of futuristic concept cars of the 1980s that signaled exotic underpinnings.

Honda has added a two-tone color scheme to the production version, which now features a blacked-out greenhouse and more conventional front fascia, albeit with yet another touch of futurism. Still, the overall look is far less dramatic than the bodywork that Toyota gave the Mirai.

Speaking of the Mirai, Honda’s FCV will go up against the Toyota model in the States, at least in California — the only state in which the latter is available for now. The FCV will also go on sale home in Japan with a claimed range of 435 miles, at least in that market. U.S. figures have not been revealed yet, though they are expected to be approximately a hundred miles less than the published range for Japan — we’ll have to wait till the Tokyo motor show kicks off to get a better sense of what it will be able to do (and where it will be able to do it).

2015 Honda FCV concept

Honda has not shared other major details at this point, aside from announcing that the production version of the FCV will house the entire hydrogen fuel cell drivetrain in the traditional engine compartment, with the company managing to contain it all there as opposed to a sprawling complex of cylinders robbing the sedan of trunk room. For now, that’s one of the major leaps that the FCV has been able to achieve — giving the sedan five fully usable seats.

Honda is promoting one other feature of the FCV: The car will be able to act as a mobile power generator, which could come in handy during emergencies, providing electricity to a community power grid or other mobile electric equipment. This is, of course, a side benefit of modern fuel cell vehicles — they use powertrains borrowed from EVs. When propulsion is not needed, they can produce enough juice to power a dwelling.

We’ll have to wait till the Tokyo motor show starts to see more of the car.


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