|The new production FCX will be similar to this concept version.|
Honda Motor Co announced that it will begin production in Japan of its next-generation FCX hydrogen fuel cell vehicle (FCV) in three to four years, signalling rapid advancement in Honda’s fuel cell technology.
The recently introduced FCX Concept (earlier post), according to Honda President and CEO Takeo Fukui, “is very close to [that] next generation fuel cell vehicle...In fact, this fall ... we will begin limited driving opportunities with a prototype version of this vehicle.”
The new FCX Concept uses a new, compact 3V System fuel cell platform that enables the lowest-floor platform in a fuel cell vehicle yet. Oxygen and hydrogen flow from the top to the bottom of the fuel cell stack (Vertical gas flow) and the fuel cells are arranged vertically in the center tunnel (Vertebral layout) for new, high-efficiency fuel cell packaging (Volume efficiency).
The new stack delivers 100 kW of power, compared to the 86 kw of the 2006 FCX. The key to the fuel cell’s performance is water management; Honda’s new system takes full advantage of gravity to efficiently discharge water formed during electricity generation.
This improves performance in sub-zero temperatures, further solving the problem of cold-weather startup that has been a key obstacle to the commercialization of FCVs. With the 3V system, Honda has achieved ultra-low-temperature start-up performance on par with that of a gasoline engine.
The drivetrain uses three energy-efficient motors-one 80kW in the front and a 25kW space-efficient motor in each rear wheel. A newly developed hydrogen absorption material in the tank doubles capacity to 5 kg of hydrogen at 5000 PSI, extending cruising range to 350 miles, equivalent to that of a gasoline-engine car.