Honda's zero-emission fuel cell supercar concept - the FC Sport design study model - has been revealed at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
The hydrogen-powered, three-seat sports car concept demonstrates the design potential and flexibility of Honda's fuel cell technology, already used in the FCX Clarity, and offers a glimpse at how supercars of the future may look.
The concept shows how Honda could re-invent car design rules with its fuel cell powertrain that negates the need for bulky car components like an internal combustion engine and gearbox.
The FC Sport concept is a lightweight, fuel cell sports car with zero-emissions and supercar performance levels through a powerful electric motor and ultra-low centre of gravity. Inspired by and built for people who love sports cars it explores how to satisfy performance enthusiasts in a world beyond petrol and diesel engines.
"This stunning concept is a great example of how the development of fuel cells could revolutionise car design," said John Kingston, Government Affairs and Environment Manager, Honda (UK).
"The FC Stack is smaller than your average powerplant and without the restrictions of having to accommodate a big engine and transmission, designers are free to explore much more radical styling directions to reflect the performance of the car."
The high-powered Honda fuel cell powertrain and sleek, aerodynamic body contribute to the vehicle's overall performance potential. Modular packaging of fuel cell components and the electric drivetrain allow for the FC Sport's low centre of gravity, with the majority of vehicle mass distributed between the axles, creating the balanced weight distribution sought after in sports cars.
The ideal placement of the Honda V-Flow fuel cell stack and related components demonstrates the benefits of a platform-specific, hydrogen-powered fuel cell powertrain.
The Honda FC Sport is designed to accommodate a custom-formed high-power fuel cell stack, located between the rear seats, and a battery pack placed low in the middle of the vehicle. The electric motor sits just forward of the rear axle. Two fuel storage tanks, visible from above, are located above the rear axle.
The location of the fuel cell components not only allows for enhanced performance but also for a large cabin by conventional supercar standards, with enough space for three people.
The interior layout focuses on the driver with a racecar-like centre driving position. The enclosed canopy opens upward from the rear to allow for entry and exit. Two rear passenger seats flank the driver's seat.
The sleek, low-profile body is designed to convey a high-tech appearance with sculpting that combines angular shapes in the front of the vehicle, tapering into geometric shapes at the rear. These hexagonal forms house cooling radiators for the fuel cell. Formula 1-style barge boards behind the front wheels enhance high speed aerodynamics and showcase the vehicle's racing pedigree as do the hydrogen storage tanks, visible from the rear deck.
The Glacier White body colour illustrates the Honda FC Sport's clean environmental credentials while the contrasting dark wheels and deeply tinted glass symbolise the vehicle's unique combination of clean power and high performance.
Green construction techniques further contribute to a reduced carbon footprint. An organic, bio-structure theme is carried through to the body construction where exterior panels are intended to use plant-derived bio-plastics.
At present, the Honda FC Sport is a design study model, and there are no plans for it to enter production. Honda has no plans to replace the FCX Clarity - the world's first fuel cell production car already on sale in the US - but is exploring what could happen in years to come.
The Honda FC Sport concept was developed at the Advanced Design Studio of Honda R&D Americas, in Pasadena, California.Published 24 November 2008