Feeds

Honda hits reverse on £50k fuel cell cars for '08

SoCal beta-testers to lease FCX Clarity

The Power of One Infographic

Japanese motor colossus Honda has walked back somewhat on its recent announcement that it would sell hydrogen fuel cell cars in America and Japan for just £50,000.

The new FCX Clarity

Hydrogen cars for all - in parts of California

The revelations last month caused a stir in the global motor industry, which had not been expecting Honda's FCX cars to go on ordinary sale for years. Thus far the maker, mirroring normal industry strategy, had preferred to lease small numbers of vehicles to selected customers.

Now it transpires that in fact these combination beta-tests and market-seeding loss leaders are to continue. Rather than selling the latest FCX Clarity for £50k, Honda will lease it from summer '08 for $600/month including collision insurance and maintenance.

Only people living in the Torrance, Santa Monica, and Irvine areas of southern California will be eligible initially, as these are the only places that the Clarity can be easily refuelled and serviced.

Honda reckons its new baby will do 270 miles on a fill of hydrogen. The gas is used to generate electricity in a fuel cell stack, and the juice then passes into an ordinary lithium-ion battery pack and electric transmission.

Honda's proprietary Ultracapacitor technology - though it has been included in previous FCX models - isn't getting an outing this time, because it took up too much space, apparently. (Whoops.)

Honda has made an effort to ensure the Clarity looks different to other cars, too. The company believes that its previous hybrids - outwardly no different from conventional cars - got whupped by Toyota's Prius due to that latter's distinctive styling.

So how many more years until hydrogen cars move beyond beta test in California?

Honda is hoping not too many. The company is working hard on its Home Energy Station tech. The idea here is that FCX owners of the future would have an energy station at home hooked up to their domestic natural-gas and water supplies. This machine would produce hydrogen for the car, and also useful amounts of electricity and heat for the home (it would give off a fair bit of CO2, but then so does an ordinary gas boiler).

"If you live outside the [FCX lease] area, don't worry," says Honda, chirpily.

"We plan to roll out more of these amazing vehicles as more hydrogen refueling options become available. A key component of this effort is the development of Honda's Home Energy Stations..."

The home hydrogen kit is now on its fouth generation, apparently. But there's no word on just when all this will be ready to go for real. ®

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
MARS NEEDS OCEANS to support life - and so do exoplanets
Just being in the Goldilocks zone doesn't mean there'll be anyone to eat the porridge
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Diary note: Pluto's close-up is a year from … now!
New Horizons is less than a year from the dwarf planet
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.