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“What a Gas!”: NYT Reviews the Honda FCX


Jim Motavalli of The New York Times reviews the Honda FCX after an unsupervised week of driving.

This is a street-ready hydrogen car with license plates and no rough edges, a test bed for green technology worth well over $1 million.

[...]Given my experience with fuel-cell prototypes that were noisy, balky and incapable of going very far between refuelings, the FCX was something of a surprise. Featuring the latest generation of Honda’s own fuel cells (hundreds of them are arrayed in two multiple sets, called stacks) and a body and electric motor derived from the company’s unsuccessful EV Plus battery vehicle, the FCX felt like a real car, not a high-strung test mule.

[...] Honda hasn’t publicly disclosed its investment in hydrogen technology, but General Motors has committed more than $1 billion and produced only a handful of cars. When vehicles are hand-made by Ph.D.s as part of blue-sky research projects, can you even speculate on how much they are “worth”?

[...]At my daughters’ school, the youngsters were happy to squeeze into the back seat like college students in a phone booth. Their questions about fuel cells were simple.

“Is this the car of the future?” they asked. “Maybe,” I said.

An interesting sidenote—at least according the article, hybrid owners who encountered Motavalli and his FCX apparently asked “Do you have to plug it in?” A successful plug-in hybrid strategy will have some major PR work to do to counter the apparently automatic (and from what I can tell, unwarranted) bias against a plug-in architecture.

(A hat-tip to Robert B.!)


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