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Mercedes-Benz fuel cell vehicles drive from LA to Northern California using only public hydrogen stations

Honda leverages older name for new FCV: Clarity Fuel Cell makes its debut at Tokyo; 435-mile range on JC08

Honda Motor Co., Ltd. unveiled the planned production model of its all-new fuel cell vehicle (FCV), called Clarity Fuel Cell, at the 44th Tokyo Motor Show 2015. This model will be on display at the Honda booth during the show. The name honors its predecessor, the FCX Clarity fuel cell vehicle, introduced at the LA Auto Show in 2007. (Earlier post.)

Employing original Honda technologies, the fuel cell stack for this model was downsized by 33% compared to the previous version of the fuel cell stack yet delivers output of more than 100 kW, with an output density of 3.1 kW/L—approximately a 60% improvement. The fuel cell powertrain was made as compact as a Honda 3.5L V6 engine, enabling it to be packaged under the hood of a sedan-type vehicle for the first time. This powertrain layout enabled a full cabin package that seats five adults.


As a reference, the V-Flow stack (earlier post) in the FCX Clarity itself was smaller and more powerful than its predecessor, increasing the volume output density by 50% and the weight output density by 67% from the previous stack. The now outdated V-Flow stack more than quadrupled the volume output density from Honda’s first stack delivered in 1999.


Combined with improved efficiency of the powertrain and a reduced energy requirement for driving, a 70MPa high-pressure hydrogen storage tank installed to this vehicle provides a cruising range of more than 700 km (435 miles) in JC08 mode and after refueling the vehicle at a hydrogen station with charging pressure of 70 MPa which comply with SAE standards (J2601) (earlier post). For the US, with its different certification methodologies, Honda anticipates a range of more than 300 miles.

The cruising range may vary when the vehicle is refueled at hydrogen station with different specifications, as amount of hydrogen put in the tank will vary depending on the specifications of hydrogen station. The cruising range may also vary significantly depending on conditions of usage (ambient temperature, traffic congestion, etc.) and how the vehicle is driven (sudden starts, use of air-conditioning unit, etc.)

The tank can be refilled in approximately three minutes using a 70MPa station with an exterior temperature of 20 ˚C. (Time required for refueling may vary depending on conditions.)

A li-ion battery provides energy storage. The high-output motor with maximum output of 130kW realizes both direct, highly-responsive driving and excellent quietness at the same time. In addition, when combined with the Power Exporter 9000, the Clarity Fuel Cell can function as a “power plant on wheels” that generates and provides electricity to the community in times of a disaster or other events.

Honda will begin lease sales in Japan of this all-new Clarity Fuel Cell in March 2016. For the first year after the start of sales in Japan, Honda will focus on sales mainly to local government bodies or business customers which Honda has already been working together for the popularization of FCVs. During this period, Honda will collect information about the in- market use situation, including the external power feeding device, and gather diverse opinions from customers and other relevant organizations, then later begin sales to individual customers.

Honda will begin with small-volume production at the Production Supervisory Unit and Powertrain Production Supervisory Unit (located in Takanezawa-machi, Shioya-gun, Tochigi, Japan.), then eventually expand production volume and begin regular sales along with lease sales.

The sales price of Clarity Fuel Cell in Japan will be 7.66 million yen (US$63,670), including consumption tax. The Power Exporter 9000, which has the capacity to feed approximately seven-days’ worth of electricity for an average household, is scheduled to go on sale at the same time as the Clarity Fuel Cell. Clarity Fuel Cell will be sequentially evolved into the US and Europe.

In 2002, the Honda FCX became the first fuel cell vehicle in the world to be certified by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB). With these certifications, Honda began lease sales of the Honda FCX in Japan and the US. In 2008, Honda became the first automaker to begin lease sales of the FCX Clarity, which featured an innovative sedan-type package and unprecedented driving experience. The all-new CLARITY FUEL CELL was developed based on various data related to the ease of use and driving performance of these previous Honda FCVs.



More batteries, smaller fuel cell, good combination.

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So the old auto industry has spend 30 years and over 200 billion USD to develop a fuel cell car without any driving pleasure or utility as it is still underpowered and has almost none trunk space. It costs three times more than a comparable gasser to buy and it also cost 3 times as much to fuel as a similar gasser (hydrogen per mile = 0.21 USD = 14USD/kg/66mpge, gasser per mile 0.067 USD = 3 USD/45mpg).

Tesla spend about 4 years and less than 1 billion USD to develop the worlds best sedan and it costs about the same as this "fantastic fuel cell" and has 1/10 the fuel cost per mile ( 0.02 USD per mile= 0.06 USD kwh night charging/3 mile per kwh).

The fuel cell vehicle program is undoubtedly the worst waste of R&D resources ever in the history of mankind. It is a sad distraction from the real thing that is self-driving taxi BEV services for the masses and self-driving luxury BEV ownership for the wealthy.

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The old auto industry needs to focus all of their resources on developing the technologies that will rule in the future or they will have no part of that future. GM, Toyota and VW probably spend about 7 billion USD per year on R&D. Most of that is spend on developing new combustion engines, transmission systems, exhaust systems, fuel cell vehicles and self-driving technology. Keep the R&D budget for exhaust systems so that compliance with future emission regulation can be met. Stop developing new combustion engines, transmissions and fuel cell vehicles. That could save at least 4 billion USD per year in a 7 billion USD budget. Then start spending 4 billion more per year on self-driving tech and BEVs. Hell, with 4 billion USD per year you could simultaneously develop a BEV for every market segment there is and have them all ready in less than 5 years and they would all be fully autonomous.

The old auto industry is not doing this. They don't dare it and they are void of being visionary. They have no sense for what is technically and economically possible with BEVs. This is why Tesla is certain to grow big as an auto company as there are currently no one who even try to compete in the segment that Tesla occupies. Tesla still has very limited resources so it will take many years longer to achieve a sustainable transportation sector than if the old auto companies used all of resources to develop self-driving BEVs. However, self-driving BEVs are inevitably it is only a matter of time before they take over from gassers and dirty diesels.



Spamming every fuel cell thread with wholly irrelevant stuff in praise of Tesla gets old.

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Well, Davemart we obviously differ on what is relevant. I suggest you drop reading my posts as they apparently upset you. IMO your disgust for Tesla and Tesla owners has to do with your inability to cope personally with their success. Nothing special here. It is a very common phenomenon among small minded people.



Funnily enough some may be interested in discussion about the Honda Clarity FC on the thread of that name, not in the umpteenth retread of your interest or obsession with Tesla.

Please get a grip and stop trolling.

It will be fascinating to see how many non-fleet leases Honda can garner with a $63,670 vehicle whose fuel is also substantially more expensive than the alternatives.

I wonder if leading the trio of Clarity zero and ultra low emission vehicles with the FCV will gain Honda more attention and goodwill or be a repeat of the Fit EV scenario: too expensive initially to create much interest, then drop the price to a level where there was so much interest most people had to be turned away disappointed that they couldn't get one.

How this small series production of FCVs is fielded seems to be the key to whether the exercise is helpful to the Honda brand.

With free fuel for three years and a reasonable lease rate, they might make good airport taxis.


Which Tesla can do this?
a range of more than 300 miles ?
I bet it even does this in the cold.

The fuel cells are dropping in price as they constantly find better substitution for platinum. I think hydrogen is coming along quite quickly and BEV people feel a need to defend BEV as the only answer. Why? Cause they like Lithium Ion batteries?

Clean running cars that run distances at acceptable levels and last at least 20 years. Its how long I owned my previous Honda Accord. In fact it was 22 years.
That should be the target and any way we can get there should be applauded.

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The Tesla Roadster with upgrade package 3 can do 340 miles non stop.

Tesla can make a Model S with 400 miles range if they wanted to but it would be heavy and lack the acceleration and superior handling of the 285 miles Model S90D. No demand for that. Expect a Model S 105D with 330 miles range and the same performance by 2020.
Couldn't care less about the battery type including hydrogen fuel cell which is also a battery. My problem with fuel cells and hydrogen tanks is that they suck in terms of efficiency, costs and space and I find it mind-blowing that any company would spend money developing it when current real life BEVs are so much better.

Roger Pham

Tesla should be thankful that it has the long-range BEV market all to itself, and that other established car makers choose to take the hard and expensive route to develop FCV that will be necessary to complement BEV for complete exploitation of Solar and Wind energies.
In a family of automakers, Tesla is the youngest, and hence is spared of more difficult tasks that older brothers like Toyota, Honda, GM, DB, etc have to shoulder.
Like good older brothers, Toyota and Daimler-Benz have given Tesla a lot of initial helps and initial investments. Tesla fans should be thankful of the "older brother" carmakers who have helped Tesla, and be more appreciative of their environmental efforts.

You see, in order for Solar and Wind (S&W) to completely displace fossil fuel in the power grid, there must be a market for the grid-surplus S&W energies to be sold at profitable prices. That market will be FC-grade H2 made from grid-surplus S&W energies, in order for the S&W energies to be profitable and for S&W capacity to be built in massive amount and as much as 6 x the average grid demand. This is to ensure that even in cloudy and calm days, there will still be enough S&W power available to power the grid to avoid turning on fossil fuel power plants.

The bigger the market for high-value H2 from surplus S&W energies, the faster we will see S&W buildup to displace fossil fuel power plants in the grid, and the sooner we will be able to overcome fossil fuel dependency in both electricity grid AND in ground transportation.


Storable H2 is an ideal way to store excess REs during off peak hours. Excess REs will become more of a challenge when Wind and Solar make up larger part of the energy sources in the near future.

RE producers will offer excess energy at a very low rate to H2 producers and/or become low cost H2 producers themselves.

H2 has a very bright future.


Point of fill hydrogen stations will have power contracts with renewable energy power producers. With a smart grid it will all be balanced.

HD> excess REs during off peak hours

This assumes that it would be economic to have that H2 generation plant & equipment idle for all "non-excess" RE time. Expensive. Very hard to make that pencil out.

If you bought a hydrolysis plant, you'd want it running all the time, 7/24/365. Not just when the grid didn't need the power.

Can you point to any reputable studies that say this will work? Why does Toyota concede that H2 for the Mirai will come from steam reformed methane?

Roger Pham

Right now, Solar and Wind on utility scale average about $1,500-$2,000 per kW.
If a large electrolyzer plant can be built at or under $500 per kW, it will make good economic sense, costing about 1/4-1/3 per kW as solar and wind. Solar and wind at 50:50 mix average about 30% capacity factor, and costing 5-6 cents per kWh, or $2.75-$3.30 per kg in raw energy cost. If the H2 plant only has 30% capacity factor, the cost per kW is only 1/4 that of the solar or wind energy cost.

If adding the cost of the H2 plant at 1/4 of the raw energy cost per kg, or $0.68-$0.83 per kg, the final cost of the H2 will be ~$3.5-4 per kg. Adding profit and taxes to sell for under $6.60 per kg, and this H2 can be cost-competitive with gasoline in 25-mpg ICEV on per-mile basis.

This number may be a bit optimistic, depending how much interest and subsidies solar and wind investors have gotten in order to come up with the cost of solar and wind at 5-6 cents per kWh. Some sources say that unsubsidized solar utility PV has a cost of 10 cents per kWh, while unsubsidized wind has a cost of 7-8 cents per kWh. If so, the cost of the H2 will be higher than the above...but the costs of solar, wind, and H2 production equipment are on a trajectory to come down in prices steadily over the past 1-2 decades, so, predictions for the future should aim lower than now.


You own the wind/solar resources, you make money during the day and you make hydrogen during the night. With the right numbers you make money, you may not gouge a fortune but you make money. That is the society we need anyway.


Hours of peak e-energy consumption vary from place to place but the average is between 6 & 7 hours/day, Monday to Friday or about (6.5 x 52 x 5 = 1690 hours/year) or about 19% of the time. Excluding other Holidays, the average would be about 1620 hours/year.

Off peak hours are about 7140 hours/year or about 81.5% of the time.

During (peak) higher e-energy rates hours, H2 production plants would reduce their production, to maintain the equipment, to lower their cost and maximize their profits.

In many places, daily consumption peaks are restricted to a few hours on cold winter working days and/or a few very hot summer working days. Our peaks are concentrated on less than 30 very cold winter workings days.

H2 being storable, managing variable production and distribution would not be a problem. Feeding back e-energy to the grid to better handle consumption peaks remains another possibility with H2?


Agree with Roger and others, that H2 can find good use as Energy Storage for excess Renewable Electricity (RE).
There are many studies that have looked into storing H2 in NG pipelines, depleted NG wells, salt caverns, and other geologic formations and using it for peak electric demand. I will list three: “Blending Hydrogen into Natural Gas Pipeline Networks: A Review of Key Issues” ,“Commercialization of Energy Storage in Europe” and from Sandia: “Geologic Storage of Hydrogen”
Two companies in Europe already have electrolyzer products used for large scale storage: NEL Hydrogen (formerly Norsk Hydro) which has a very efficient alkaline hydrolyzer and Hydrogenics.
in these studies, you can see that RE H2 (predominately from Hydro) is almost competitive with pumped storage for peak demand. Also, by storing H2 in pipelines and geologic formations you can store days of excess capacity not just for a few hours like batteries.
Though stored H2 would probably be burned in todays NG fired Combined Cycle plants (making NG a true “bridge” fuel as RE becomes a predominate part of the energy mix), Fuel Cells could be used as part of a Distributive Grid for cogeneration of heat and electricity giving 95% efficiency. This would not be like the Honda concept since only a small Fuel Cell generator would be required.
I believe in autos he BEV looks like the best transportation option. FCEV remind of what the auto companies did in the 60’s with gas turbines (over 50 years later no turbine cars). Gas Turbines are great for airplanes, ships, trains, and electric generation - Fuel Cells will find their niche too.


Yes, it is becoming more and more obvious that REs already have and will have the highest growth rate in future e-energy production.

That being said, the demand for large EES systems will grow rapidly in the next 3 or 5 decades or until REs have reach up to 80% of the e-energy produced. CPPs, NGPPs and NPPs will be progressively phased out.

Many large EES systems may use the H2 avenue and/or the H2/NG solution. NEL Norway has developed highly efficient technologies and equipment to do it. Many others will follow.

Sales of smaller EES systems will also grow rapidly to match future small scale home style REs. The H2 and/or improved batteries avenues may be used.

Improved, lighter, more efficient, lower cost future FCs together with lower cost clean H2 and more compact on board H2 storage will make affordable FCEVs a reality by 2025 or so.

FC light e-aircraft may also become a reality about 10 years from now.


The original Clarity was better looking. This is an ugly dog.


"The fuel cell powertrain was made as compact as a Honda 3.5L V6 engine, enabling it to be packaged under the hood of a sedan-type vehicle for the first time".
That is quite an achievement and a significant milestone in fuel cell development.
The hydrogen tanks are still huge for a range of only 300 miles with the aircon off.

This R&D might lead to affordable combined heat & power (CHP) to replace central heating boilers. Honda's existing fuel cell home CHP is extremely expensive.

For cars Honda & Toyota are not developing on-board reformers for liquid fuels. For winter EV driving in England, all I need is a small liquid or propane CHP fuel cell to provide cabin heat and 3 to 7 kW electric output to offset winter battery range loss or provide a slow charge while parked when a public charger is in use, not available, not working, or blocked by an ice vehicle.

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