Both the EPA and CARB (California Air Resource Board) have certified the 2005 Honda FCX fuel cell vehicle as ready for commercial use.
The second generation of the model, the 2005 FCX is the first to be powered by a Honda designed and manufactured fuel cell stack, and offers some performance improvements over the first model. The basic stats for each:
|2004 FCX||2005 FCX||%Δ|
|Peak Power (hp)||80||107||33%|
|Max Speed (mph)||93||93||–|
|Maximum torque (ft-lbs)||201||201||–|
|Fuel Cell Stack type||PEFC (Polymer Electrolyte)||PEMFC (Proton Exchange Membrane)|
|Fuel Cell Max Output (kW)||78||86||10%|
|Fuel type||Compressed H2||Compressed H2|
|Fuel Storage||High-pressure tank||High-pressure tank|
|Max pressure (psi)||5,000||5,000|
(In terms of energy efficiency, one mile per kilogram (mpkg) of hydrogen is almost equivalent to one mile per gallon (mpg) of gasoline.)
The improvements in power and range stem from the new Honda FC stack. It also allows the 2005 FCX to start and operate in temperatures as low as -20 C (-4 F). (Clearly a necessary hurdle to overcome.)
“The 2005 Honda FCX achieves a significant milestone in the progress toward a hydrogen economy,” said Terry Tamminen, Agency Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency. “This second generation fuel cell from Honda makes further simultaneous progress in key areas including performance, range, efficiency and cold weather operability while achieving zero emissions.”
According to Honda, the new FC stack utilizes a new structure made of stamped metal separators and new aromatic membrane material, features 50% percent fewer components than its predecessor, and is easier to manufacture.
There still remains much work to do in power, storage (range) and fuel infrastructure—but the steady pace of innovation and development is very encouraging.