The city is getting the cars at a bargain price—the current market price is more than $1 million each—because [Honda] wants to see how the cars fare in a Las Vegas summer.
Cory Welch, a senior project manager at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo., said the fuel-cell powered cars in Las Vegas will be watched to see how a plastic membrane in the cell reacts to arid conditions.
The membranes, which are used to produce electricity in the cell, need to be humidified to work, Welch said.
“The dry air could damage the membrane and then it wouldn’t work," he said. "So it’s good to test the fuel cells in all sorts of climates.”
Of the 996 vehicles in Las Vegas’s fleet, 187 run on natural gas (19%), about 200 use biodiesel (20%) and 19 are hybrids (2%).
In the US, Honda also has two FCXs in New York (for cold weather testing), five in Los Angeles, two in San Francisco, and one in Chula Vista, Calif., which is south of San Diego.