Honda Announces World's First Fuel Cell Car Deal

Honda FCX

 

U.S. City Of Los Angeles Becomes America’s First Customer For Fuel Cell Car Before Year End

Mayor Jim Hahn announced today an agreement between the City of Los Angeles and American Honda Motor Co. Inc. to make Los Angeles the first U.S. retail customer for a fuel cell car.

Under the agreement, City of Los Angeles employees will immediately begin a familiarisation programme with prototype versions of the Honda FCX. The City will take delivery of the first of five production vehicles before the end of 2002.

"Air quality in the Los Angeles basin has steadily improved in recent years, thanks in part to the deployment of new environmental technologies," said Mayor Hahn. "Hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles hold great promise for future clean air vehicles and it’s important that Los Angeles plays a leading role in development and early use of this technology."

The Honda FCX was recently the world’s first fuel cell vehicle certified by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the U.S. EPA, with both government agencies certifying it as a Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV).

The Honda FCX uses hydrogen supplied to a fuel cell "stack" to generate electricity and power its electric motor. With a maximum output of 60 kW (80 hp) and 272 Nm (201 lb-ft) of torque, acceleration is similar to a Honda Civic. The FCX has a range of up to 355 km (220 miles) and seating for four people, making it practical for a wide range of real-world applications. Los Angeles City employees will use the vehicles on the job as regular pool cars and for commuting. The City and Honda are finalising plans on refuelling support systems to supply hydrogen fuel for the vehicles.

"This vehicle is now ready for practical use," said Tom Elliott, American Honda executive vice president. "Using a fleet of advanced fuel cell vehicles in a real world environment will help us evaluate these vehicles and fuels with our customers. It also will help in the development of a refuelling infrastructure needed to support customers of hydrogen-powered vehicles."

Honda plans to lease about 30 fuel cell vehicles in California and Japan during the next two-to-three years. The company currently has no plans, however, for mass-market sales of fuel cell vehicles or sales to individuals.

Honda undertook fuel cell research in 1989 and has been road testing vehicles in the United States and Japan since 1999. Honda has been a member of the California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP) based in Sacramento, Calif., since 1999.

Honda has a long history of automotive environmental leadership, dating back to 1975 when the Honda Civic CVCC was the first vehicle to meet the amended Clean Air Act standard. Since then, Honda was the first company to market a gasoline vehicle (Civic) meeting the low emission vehicle (LEV) standard in all 50 states and the first to sell a gasoline car meeting California’s Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV) standard and subsequently the "Super" ULEV standard (Accord).

Honda was the first to sell a gasoline-electric "hybrid" car in the U.S. – the Insight – and earlier this year added the Civic Hybrid, the first mass market car with hybrid technology. The Civic GX, a natural gas powered vehicle, is the first and only car certified to the cleanest EPA engine standard (SULEV, Tier 2 Bin 2).

Honda FCX Specifications

Vehicle

Length: 4165 mm
Width: 1760 mm
Height: 1645 mm
Maximum speed: 150 km/h (93 mph)
Driving range: 355 km (220 miles)
Seating capacity: 4 adults

Motor

Maximum power output: 60 kW (80 hp)
Maximum drive torque: 272 Nm (201 lb-ft)
Motor type: AC synchronous

Fuel Cell Stack

Stack type: PEFC (proton exchange membrane type – Ballard)
Power output: 78 kW
Power Storage Honda Ultra Capacitor

Fuel

Type: Compressed gaseous hydrogen
Storage method: High-pressure hydrogen storage tank (5,000 psi)
Fuel capacity: 156.6 litres
Published 7 October 2002 Melanie Carter
 

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