Honda FCX Clarity, Fueled by Hydrogen and Powered by a Fuel Cell
Honda is determined to take the lead in hydrogen-fueled vehicles by leasing a fleet of 200 FCX Clarity models as early as this July - a mere month after the production line begins cranking them out! It's a risky move for Honda as the cost of each 2008 FCX Clarity is a whopping $120,000 to $140,000 per vehicle, according to K.G. Duleep, managing director of Energy & Environmental Analysis Inc. of Arlington, VA.
Sleek as a Zeppelin... er, bad analogy
Don't worry about sticker shock, however. Honda intends to lease the cars at a very reasonable $600 per month over a three-year term. How reasonable is that? Well, since the FCX Clarity was announced last November (2007), approximately 50,000 people have inquired about the car via the company's website. That's a deep pool of potential buyers!
Interior space a-plenty - the fuel cell's between the seats
Sticking with the water analogy, the new FCX Clarity emits exhaust so clean you can drink it - it's water, after all, good old H2O produced by the oxidation of hydrogen inside the onboard fuel cell.
The FCX Clarity's engine... no fuelin'!
The engine, as it were, is assembled from layers of plastic, carbon fiber and platinum to form what Honda refers to as a "V Flow fuel cell stack". Electricity is produced through the combination of hydrogen and oxygen in the presence of a catalyst, with water vapor exiting through the tail pipe.
The FCX Clarity bolsters its power reserves using a tried & tested regenerative braking system which stores recovered electricity in a lithium-ion battery pack.
Gas cap not included... or needed
If you want to lease a new, 2008 FCX Clarity, you'll not only have to reside in California but will have to live in the vicinity of Santa Monica, Irvine or Torrance (where Honda's U.S. operations are based). This is a practical concern as owners will have convenient access to a new network of hydrogen fueling stations; part of what California's popular Governor calls the "hydrogen highway".
Honda FCX Clarity - headin' out on the Hydrogen Highway
Perhaps due to the support generated by "the Governator", California drivers will be slipping behind the wheels of new FCX Clarity's ahead of their Japanese counterparts, who won't have their turn until the end of the year. Congrats to the Gov - his efforts may just change people's association of hydrogen from one Germanic name (Hindenburg) to another (Schwarzenegger)!
(info via Honda USA and Bloomberg News, images via Top Speed)