Honda presented a new concept car at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show that was powered by a hydrogen fuel cell.
Called the FCEV, the new concept is said to preview the potential styling of a successor to the FCX Clarity that is scheduled for launch in 2015, the same year close rival Toyota plans to launch its own fuel cell vehicle.
Showcasing exciting and modern styling, the FCEV features a futuristic design that builds on themes expressed by Honda’s new Exciting H Design!!! styling language. We can also see some similarities between the FCEV and the FCX Clarity, such as indented shoulder line and coupe-like profile.
In addition to looking good, The FCEV also delivers ample passenger space and seating for five passengers thanks to new powertrain packaging efficiencies. Those efficiencies are made possible thanks to Honda’s next-generation fuel cell stack.
The power density of the fuel cell stack is now 3 kilowatts/liter, an increase of 60 percent, with the stack size reduced 33 percent compared to the one in the FCX Clarity. Despite the smaller size, the stack yields more than 100 kW and by charging a lithium-ion battery enables the FCEV to drive more than 300 miles on a single fill of hydrogen.
Honda has been an industry leader in the development of fuel cell vehicles. In 2002, it was the first automaker to begin a retail initiative with the leasing of fuel cell vehicles to fleet customers. By 2005, it was leasing them to individual customers. Today, there are still roughly two dozen customers driving the FCX Clarity.
It’s not clear if Honda will lease its new fuel cell vehicle, but Toyota has already confirmed it’s willing to sell its own fuel cell vehicle, though a previous cost estimate of around $50,000 is looking unlikely. Instead, Toyota now estimates that its production fuel cell vehicle based on the FCV conceptshown at this week’s 2013 Tokyo Motor Show will cost almost double the original estimate.