|Installation of the hydrogen storage tank. Click to enlarge.|
Honda Motor Co., Ltd. has begun production of the new FCX Clarity fuel cell vehicle (earlier post), with the first vehicle (US specification) coming off the line. In conjunction with the line-off event, Honda highlighted a number of the new production processes to the media.
Concurrent with the beginning of production, American Honda Motor Co. also announced five of the first customers for the FCX Clarity and provided details of the world’s first fuel cell vehicle dealership network in the United States.
The FCX Clarity is produced at the Honda Automobile New Model Center (Takanezawa-machi, Shioya-gun, Tochigi Prefecture). Honda established a new dedicated fuel cell vehicle assembly line, which includes processes unique to a fuel cell vehicle such as the installation of the fuel cell stack and hydrogen tank.
|Fuel cell electrode coating. Click to enlarge.|
The fuel cell stack itself is produced at Honda Engineering Co., Ltd. (Haga-machi, Haga-gun, Tochigi Prefecture). For manufacturing the fuel cells, Honda introduced new automated equipment to ensure quality while enabling mass production of cells, with several hundred cells required for each fuel cell stack.
Through these initiatives, Honda says it is making steady progress in the area of fuel cell vehicle production, in addition to fuel cell and fuel cell vehicle technologies, thereby moving closer to realizing its goal to achieve more widespread use of fuel cell vehicles.
The FCX Clarity utilizes Honda’s V Flow Stack in combination with a new compact and efficient lithium-ion battery pack and a single hydrogen storage tank to power the vehicle’s electric drive motor. The fuel cell stack operates as the vehicle’s main power source. Range is 270 miles.
Lease sales are scheduled to begin in July in the US and this fall in Japan. The combined sales plan for Japan and the US calls for a few dozen units within a year and about 200 units within three years. Additionally, the FCX Clarity will be exhibited at the Environmental Showcase in the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit to begin July 7, as one of a group of advanced environmental technologies.
American Honda said that film producer Ron Yerxa will take delivery of the first FCX Clarity in the US in July. The remaining four early adopters are: author and actress Jamie Lee Curtis and her filmmaker husband Christopher Guest; business owner and car enthusiast Jim Salomon; actress Laura Harris; and Jon Spallino, already the world’s first retail fuel cell vehicle customer, who has been leasing the current generation FCX since 2005. Yerxa, Harris and Spallino attended the event in Japan.
American Honda announced the establishment of the first network of dealers to facilitate the sales and service of fuel cell vehicles. The three Southern California Honda dealers are Power Honda Costa Mesa (Costa Mesa), Honda of Santa Monica (Santa Monica) and Scott Robinson Honda (Torrance).
American Honda is working with its dealer partners to implement processes for fuel cell vehicle lease, delivery and service support for the duration of their leases. American Honda will perform all required work at its specialized fuel cell service facility in the greater Los Angeles area. Upon completion of the work, the dealer will return the vehicle to the customer.