The Honda FCX Clarity
The Honda FCX Clarity, introduced in June 2008, was a game changer in the world of electric cars. With its zero emissions, 5-minute refueling times, and impressive range, this large sedan was the first hydrogen fuel cell vehicle available to retail customers.
Leasing in the US and Japan
Leasing of the FCX Clarity began in the US in July 2008, followed by its introduction in Japan in November of the same year. However, this innovative car was only available for lease to customers living in Southern California, where a number of hydrogen fuel stations were available.
In 2010, 7 FCX Clarity vehicles were leased for $600 a month, which included collision coverage, maintenance, roadside assistance, and hydrogen fuel. In addition to Southern California, there were approximately 10 others on lease in Japan and another 10 in Europe by 2009.
Challenges Faced in the US
One of the main challenges faced by the FCX Clarity in the US was the lack of hydrogen filling stations, which contributed to the low number of cars on the road. Despite its remarkable features, the limited infrastructure hindered its widespread adoption in the country.
The FCX Clarity’s Power Source
The FCX Clarity’s electrical power came from a 100 KW Honda vertical flow V flow hydrogen fuel cell stack. This stack supplied electricity on demand, similar to many electric vehicles. The car also employed regenerative braking and had a separate battery to store the energy recovered during braking.
Equipped with an electric motor rated at 134 horsepower and 189 lbft torque, the FCX Clarity delivered impressive performance. The motor, based on the one used in the EV plus, had a wide RPM range of 0 to 356, ensuring a smooth and powerful driving experience.
In 2014, Honda announced the phase-out of the FCX Clarity, after leasing a total of 48 units in the US between 2008 and 2015. Although this remarkable vehicle had a relatively short lifespan, it left a lasting impact on the development of hydrogen fuel cell technology.
Range and Efficiency
The Honda FCX Clarity boasts a range of approximately 240 miles (386 kilometers) on a full hydrogen tank, certified by the EPA. With a 4.1 kg capacity at 5000 PSI, this vehicle offers impressive performance. In terms of efficiency, it is estimated to achieve around 77 miles (124 kilometers) per kg of hydrogen in the city, 67 miles (108 kilometers) per kg on the highway, and 72 miles (116 kilometers) per kilogram in combined driving.
Design and Features
The FCX Clarity is slightly shorter, measuring about 4 inches (100 mm) less than the 2008 Honda Accord. The dashboard display includes a dynamic dot that changes color and size as hydrogen consumption increases, providing drivers with a clear indication of their driving efficiency. The vehicle also features separate displays for battery power level and motor output, while a conveniently placed speedometer keeps the driver focused on the road. The interior upholstery, including seats and door linings, is made using Honda’s plant-derived biofabric.
Production and Future Plans
The FCX Clarity was manufactured in Japan at a specialized fuel cell vehicle assembly line located in the Honda Automobile New Model Center in Takamatsu City, Kagawa Prefecture. The fuel cell stack itself is produced by Honda Engineering Company, Limited in Iida City, Nagano Prefecture.
Honda intends to make hydrogen fuel cell vehicles more affordable and competitive with gasoline midsize cars by 2020. However, it is worth noting that the handbuilt predecessor to the Clarity, produced in 2005, cost approximately 1 million dollars. In July 2014, Honda announced that the FCX Clarity would be discontinued and replaced by a new, higher volume hydrogen fuel cell vehicle.
While the initial cost of the FCX Clarity may have been steep, the running costs of a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle are considerably lower than those of conventional gasoline cars. As hydrogen becomes more accessible and infrastructure improves, the cost of fueling and maintaining these vehicles is expected to become even more affordable.
The Honda FCX Clarity: A Revolutionary Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle
In 2009, it was reported that the cost of hydrogen made from natural gas in California ranged from 5 to 10 per kilogram. After accounting for compression and transportation costs, the retail price increased to 12 to 14 per kilogram. Despite the higher cost, fuel cell cars were gaining popularity due to their superior efficiency compared to traditional gasoline engines.
Fuel cell vehicles, such as the Honda FCX Clarity, offered double the efficiency of similar models with a gasoline engine. This groundbreaking vehicle, based on the 2006 Honda FCX concept, was exclusively available as a hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle.
Zero Emissions and Quick Refueling
The FCX Clarity possessed all the qualities of an electric car, including zero emissions. Additionally, it offered the convenience of a typical gasoline-powered vehicle with its short 5-minute refueling times. This was a major advantage over other electric vehicles that required longer charging times.
Despite its eco-friendly features, the FCX Clarity did not compromise on function or performance. It boasted a long range capability, making it suitable for both city driving and long-distance trips. Its spacious interior and luxurious features made it a popular choice among customers looking for a full-function, large sedan.
An Industry First: Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle for Retail Customers
The FCX Clarity made history as the first hydrogen fuel cell vehicle available to retail customers. Production of the vehicle began in June 2008, with leasing options becoming available in the United States in July 2008. Japan followed suit in November 2008.
However, it’s important to note that the FCX Clarity was only available for lease to customers living in Southern California. This limitation was due to the availability of hydrogen fuel stations in the region. Southern California had a relatively higher number of hydrogen fuel stations compared to other areas, making it an ideal location for the initial release of the FCX Clarity.
The FCX Clarity paved the way for the future of clean and sustainable transportation. With its groundbreaking hydrogen fuel cell technology, this vehicle was a major step towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions and minimizing our dependence on fossil fuels.