Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Cars To Come From Toyota, Hyundai, Honda Page 2

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Honda FCEV Concept

At last week's Los Angeles Auto Show, Honda showed the FCEV Concept, a design study for a successor to the FCX Clarity fuel-cell sedan that it has produced in tiny numbers since July 2008.

With huge wheels, blade-like front and rear fenders, and entirely covered rear wheel wells, the styling of the FCEV Concept will likely be considerably refined before emerging as a production vehicle.

Honda said its next-generation fuel-cell vehicle will launch in 2015 in the U.S. and Japan, followed by Europe.

The existing FCX Clarity program reportedly was intended to produce only 200 cars from 2008 through 2014, of which Honda has so far delivered 40 in the U.S.

MORE: Honda FCEV Concept Previews Next-Gen Production Fuel Cell Car: Live Photos

The upcoming car will have its powertrain packaged entirely in the engine compartment, giving more passenger compartment volume, and future model design flexibility as well. The FCX Clarity's fuel-cell stack was contained in the tunnel between its seats.

The output of Honda's fuel-cell stack is said to be "more than 100 kW," with a 60-percent increase in power density in a stack that's one-third smaller than that of the FCX Clarity.

The car's range will be more than 300 miles, and refueling time at 10,000 psi (70 MPa) will be about three minutes.

Interestingly, according to Mike Accavitti, senior vice president of American Honda, the concept "not only sets our direction for our next generation fuel-cell vehicle in 2015, but for future improvements in electric drive technology."

That's likely a hint that Honda will share electric-drive components among the 2015 fuel-cell car and various of its hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles, likely including the SH-AWD three-motor hybrid system used in a model of its large Acura RLX sedan and the upcoming Acura NSX mid-engine sports car.

Honda and General Motors recently announced a fuel-cell partnership to share costs and development expenses.

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