On 10 March, Honda Motor Co. began sales in Japan of its all-new fuel cell vehicle (FCV), the Clarity Fuel Cell. (Earlier post.) Honda is targeting sales of approximately 200 units in the first year, with a focus on lease sales mainly to local government bodies or businesses Honda has already been working with over the years for the development and popularization of FCVs.
During this period, Honda will collect information about the in-market use of the Clarity Fuel Cell as well as its external power output device and gather opinions and requests from customers and other relevant organizations, and 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 Tochigi, Japan), eventually expanding production volume. Honda is planning to introduce the Clarity Fuel Cell to Europe and the US before the end of 2016. (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 103 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.
The Clarity Fuel Cell also features a Li-ion battery and a 130 kW, 300 N·m drive motor. Combined with the improved efficiency of the powertrain and a reduced energy requirement for driving, a 70 MPa high-pressure hydrogen storage tank provides a cruising range (for reference) of up to approximately 750 km (466 miles).
That top range is based on Japan’s JC08 mode and after refueling the vehicle at a hydrogen station with charging pressure of 70 MPa under the standard conditions specified in the SAE standards (J2601) (e.g. Ambient temperature of 20 degrees Celsius/68 degrees Fahrenheit; Begin refueling into a high-pressure hydrogen tank with internal pressure of 10 MPa). The cruising range may vary when the vehicle is refueled at hydrogen station with different specifications, as the amount of hydrogen put in the tank will vary depending on the specifications of the hydrogen station.
(For the US, under EPA’s criteria, the range is expected to be some 300 miles.)
The hydrogen tank can be refilled in approximately three minutes.
In combination with a portable external power output device—the Power Exporter 9000—which also went on sale, Clarity Fuel Cell can function as a “power source on wheels” that is capable of supplying approximately seven-days’ worth of electricity for an average household in Japan.