Honda to Introduce Production Version of 2008 FCX at LA Show; Greater Push on Hybrids
24 October 2007
|The CR-Z hybrid sportscar concept.|
Honda will unveil the production version of its FCX concept hydrogen fuel cell car next month at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Honda President and CEO Takeo Fukui made the announcement at the Tokyo Motor Show. The car will then be available for leasing in the US and Japan during 2008.
Honda also said that a car based on its hybrid sportscar CR-Z Concept will enter production. The hybrid coupe, equipped with Honda’s original gas-electric IMA hybrid system, will join Honda’s upcoming “global hybrid” family car due to launch in 2009.
The launch timing for the production version of the CR-Z Concept is yet to be announced.
Honda expects hybrids to account for 10% of its global vehicle sales by 2010—about 5 times the current level. The carmaker has an overall sales target of 4.5 million vehicles for 2010, Fukui said.
The company expects the rapid growth in hybrid sales to come from the new five-seat global hybrid and the production version of the CR-Z, with the five-seater contributing about 200,000 units of that.
the cr-z looks great. hopefully they will offer it in two versions:
with the Insight drivetrain
with the rsx-s 200hp 2.0
as for the fcx, i'll believe it when i see it.
Posted by: shaun | 24 October 2007 at 08:20 AM
I am one of the hydrogen "naysayers" so I am eager to follow the FCX production version stories as it is leased to customers.
CR-Z does look great...I hope it has more headroom than a CRX though. I always had to have my friend open the sunroof so I could be comfortable in her CRX even though I'm just under 6' tall.
Posted by: Patrick | 24 October 2007 at 08:48 AM
Can we send a copy of that CRZ photo to every other car company on the planet as a reminder that more efficient vehicles need not look like the illegitimate love child of a go-cart and a blender?
Posted by: Lou Grinzo | 24 October 2007 at 09:23 AM
If Hydrogen is the wave of the future (I'm also skeptical) then lets power our electric powerplants with it. Batteries, capacitors, and hydralics are more easily understood and can be applied to automobiles using today's technology.
LiFEPO4 (A123, and others) Firefly, EESTOR (maybe), etc..
Posted by: s dogood | 24 October 2007 at 10:19 AM
I have no problem if people prefer vehicles looking a certain way, but I have to say that I would NOT want automakers to cave in to that kind of thinking and just pump out the same crap over and over again.
Another point is that I would prefer form AND function, rather than form OVER function.
One thing that gets people excited is an aggressive front end, and/or long bonnet. If people never to have see around corners, I think every car would have the hood length of a Batmobile. Today's trucks with the giant grills probably have nothing to do with cooling of the engine. That "kewl" factor has the side effect of limiting visibility around the front of the truck.
The Honda Insight may not win the popular vote, but its shape helps make it one of the most aerodynamic car on the road. Honda certain will sell more CRZ, but in doing so, the consumers will just get another "acceptable" hybrid car, rather than a successor to Insight that could go further beyond the 70-mpg rating.
I understand that the Insight is considered a failure due to low sales. Honda may be at fault for building a car with features that historically do poorly in the US (2-seater, low-power, small size, etc), but in a society where households owns three cars or more, where people commute alone in the car most of the time, there SHOULD be a place where the Insight can fit the niche. The problem is that in 2000, given a choice between an Insight or a sports car or SUV, saving gas just really isn't all that important.
Today, the Insight will still do poorly since people will either go for a Prius (which is a fine choice) or sit and wait for who-knows-when plug-in hybrid. I'd still like to see a two-seater, ultra-high mileage vehicle in the future, rather than the one-size-fit-all Prius.
Posted by: Charles S | 24 October 2007 at 10:43 AM
Looks great! And to be entering the market so soon is also encouraging. Presumably the leases will be limited to areas where there is refueling available. It'll be interesting to hear the consumer reports on this vehicle.
Posted by: gr | 24 October 2007 at 10:46 AM
I'd still like to see a two-seater, ultra-high mileage vehicle in the future, rather than the one-size-fit-all Prius.
Posted by: jack | 24 October 2007 at 11:18 AM
Love the Aptera. It was featured in Rolling Stone, by the way.
As for Honda - way to let me down. Hydrogen is anything but environmentally friendly. The better solution is to take the electricity used in generating the hydrogen and pump it directly into the car, or electric cars.
And if they're producing the CRZ is being produced in 2009, why not just make it a plugin hybrid?
Posted by: Ross | 24 October 2007 at 12:12 PM
Hydrogen is anything but environmentally friendly.
Hydrogen hurts the environment? How?
Posted by: jack | 24 October 2007 at 12:15 PM
Hydrogen is produced by reforming natural gas (a fossil fuel) or from electricity (50% of which comes from coal). It is possible in theory however to produce hydrogen reasonably cleanly, some day.
Posted by: Sid Hoffman | 24 October 2007 at 12:24 PM
Quote: jack "Hydrogen hurts the environment? How?"
Further study would be needed to know for sure though.
Posted by: Patrick | 24 October 2007 at 12:29 PM
Even if you improved the road performance of the Insight with the same fuel mileage and price I doubt the sales would be much different.
Most major auto-manufacturers are not setup to create many different models to address ever single market. They go with the "one-size fits all" mantra because it is more economical (take a small hit on relative sales here and there but overall the economy of scale and absolute sales make it worthwhile).
Personally, I would never buy a 2-seater unless it were strictly a recreational vehicle. I need to be able to pick up 2 children at a moment's notice at any given time [if I had a long commute I'd have to go home and change from the 2-seater vehicle to the 3+ seater vehicle which is impractical]. The cost of one vehicle at $25,000 plus insurance & maintenance versus the cost of two $15,000 vehicles plus insurance & maintenance on both vehicles? No thanks, I'll stick to one vehicle.
Posted by: Patrick | 24 October 2007 at 12:37 PM
I was all excited about this car until I saw the back of it. It just is weird. Maybe they're trying to keep with their CR-X heritage, but I didn't like the looks of the hatchback on it either.
The front looks great! The front has a great, unique design that probably couldn't look much better!
Either way, I'm ready for a performance hybrid that I can soon afford, and preferably plug-in. Maybe these can be converted later if they don't come that way. This may be my next car, but I won't be running to the dealership and signing waitlists unless they fix the hatch and make it a plug-in.
Posted by: Elliot | 24 October 2007 at 01:02 PM
Hydrogen is produced by reforming natural gas (a fossil fuel) or from electricity (50% of which comes from coal).
The former probably is less carbon intensive than the average Wh of US electricity.
Posted by: jack | 24 October 2007 at 02:06 PM
Instead of reforming natgas into Hydrogen, the gas can be used directly in NGV, and there are 7 million of them.
If we are going to convert electricity to Hydrogen, we can very well use it directly in Plugin Hybrid.
So why use convert to Hydrogen and lose some energy in the process, still we dont know the answer.
But looks are awesome, with a Hatch style, it should offer more space to rear seat passengers and cargo as well. It hope it offers good competition to Prius.
Posted by: Max Reid | 24 October 2007 at 02:51 PM
I fully understand that a four-seater, like the Prius, is more versatile, and thus it will sell well. However, just as there are plenty of owners of Corvettes (two-seater) and sports cars (with virtual rear seats), the Insight should also be an option for people who never had anyone sat in the backseat more than twice a year.
FYI, my wife and I own a 2002 MINI and an 2001 Insight. We have pets but no kids, and for the last five years, the Insight was driven MORE than the MINI. The Insight is more than adequate for daily grinds, but also pack plenty for our trips away from home. We still have the MINI when we have to pick up friends, but otherwise, the backseats are used about five times since I bought the car.
I understand it's a matter of lifestyle, but I don't see a need to have a vehicle that can do EVERYTHING, especially for families that have more than one car. I think the Prius is great, and when I have kids, I will get one. But I'd like to have the option to buy a fuel-efficient car, and if it's a two-seater, that's just fine by me.
Lastly, I am on the Aptera mailing list. I don't know if anyone else know this, but unless you live in San Diego area, you'd not be eligible for the first models. The plan is to only serve the California customers first, so I am out of luck.
Posted by: Charles S | 24 October 2007 at 03:19 PM
Is it a LED assembly in headlights?
Posted by: Andrey | 24 October 2007 at 03:24 PM
Max Reid asked: "So why use convert to Hydrogen and lose some energy in the process, still we dont know the answer."
Max, no need to convert NG to H2. H2-Vehicle demonstration is an excercise in adapting to the future when we must rely nearly 100% on solar and wind energy.
Please realize that even when the world is relying 100% on solar and wind energy, you cannot depend on these intermittent sources to charge your BEV's, but must have ways to store these energy as chemical fuels to be used to generate electricity to charge your BEV's later when wind or solar output is insufficient or absent.
Thus, any attempt to say that BEV that can be charged directly from solar or wind energy hence would be more efficient than H2V is not reflecting deep consideration of the whole renewable energy paradigm.
For the BEV that is mostly charged at night, when there is no solar energy output whatsoever, or when the wind is not blowing, your must rely on a power plant consuming H2 to generate your electricity, hence your overall BEV's efficiency will not be any better than H2V even when only renewable energy sources are considered.
Posted by: Roger Pham | 24 October 2007 at 07:52 PM
I've never owned a solar energy system. Are there not batteries associated with it that you can keep in your garage to charge all day, then transfer the power over to your car? Or does that become prohibitively expensive?
Posted by: Elliot | 24 October 2007 at 10:29 PM
Good point, Elliot.
Lead-acid battery is often used as electricity storage for solar PV system that is not grid-connected. Lead-acid is not expensive to buy but must be maintained often, and required frequent replacement every few years, or even less if you deep-cycle the battery in order to wring sufficient capacity (utility) out of it.
But, no battery can be used for massive quantitity of energy storage nor for long-term energy storage (seasonal), due to the large volume and cost, and due to the self-discharge tendency of battery. In 3-6 months, most of the stored energy would be gone.
Recently, the utility companies have started using sodium-sulfur battery for temporary storage to meet peak demand, but these are still very expensive, at $500 USD/kwh. See this link:
Posted by: Roger Pham | 24 October 2007 at 10:42 PM
What a great thread to post diesel-related spam...
Back on topic; @ Roger Pham
I don't want to say that hydrogen i dead, but it will be the least preferred option because it is the least efficient option for utilizing electricity generated by renewables because of the very low round-trip efficiency (electricity -> hydrogen -> storage -> electricity) which is 35% at best, most likely lower.
Biofuel is much easier to store (ambient pressure and temperature), especially in the quantities needed for seasonal discrepancies between renewable output and energy consumption. Here, I'm talking about a scenario where we don't use all available biofuel directly for vehicle propulsion, but use electricity for 95% of our needs and biofuel for those occations when it's neither windy nor sunny. (we're of course talking way into the future here...)
ps. What's the point of having a battery at home when there's a large battery in your (P)HEV?
All production and use of electricity should be grid-connected to avoid the inefficiencies, e.g. of having expensive batteries both in your car and at home.
Posted by: Thomas | 25 October 2007 at 06:56 AM
Interesting. I wouldn't mind having a small version of that to go with a good solar setup. Maybe someday.
Posted by: Elliot | 25 October 2007 at 08:13 AM
Biomass can be used to generate H2 via gasification at higher efficiency than biomass to electricity. This will offset the less efficient H2 to wheel route, so that the overall efficiency from biomass to wheel will be comparable either the H2-Vehicle route or BEV route.
High-temperature electrolysis of steam via solid oxide cell (HT-SOEC) is twice as efficient as normal temperature electrolysis, the latter is expensive due to the requirement of platinum coated electrodes and of course inefficient, so is not used in industrials scale for H2 production. You should use the high-efficiency HT-SOEC in the calculation of H2 efficiency instead of the less efficient route, to be fair.
Posted by: Roger Pham | 26 October 2007 at 09:33 AM
Having the battery at home allows you to store excess solar or wind electricity for later use, including charging your PHEV later in the night. Your PHEV is at work during the day, so the battery in the car is useless to soak up the solar electricity, unless there is a charging socket at work for you to charge your PHEV while at work, while you can sell to the grid your solar PV output.
Posted by: Roger Pham | 26 October 2007 at 09:38 AM
the grill looks stupid. the rest of the car looks great. It's a Honda, so you know that it will run beautifully.
Posted by: Edward | 26 October 2007 at 12:21 PM