Honda hits reverse on £50k fuel cell cars for '08
SoCal beta-testers to lease FCX Clarity
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.
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 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. ®
The Honda Insight (AFAIK the first Honda hybrid car) looked nothing like it's other lines of cars and got "whupped" by the Prius. I think it is because of the design of the hybrid system rather then the look of the car.
Who Does the Hydrogen Car Serve?
Compare it with gasoline cars: Still depends on fossil fuels, increases complexity of the vehicle, car costs more, fuel costs more.
Who benefits from this? Could it be the same folks currently selling fossil fuels? And the same folks currently making internal combustion vehicles?
(Tidbit for the bio-diesel fans, price of palm oil is climbing like crazy.)
Pure electric cars are so much better is so many different ways, it's just nuts to do anything else, ...unless you're deeply invested in fossil fuels and internal combustion.
Go watch "Who Killed the Electric Car" to see folks to can tell it much better than I. Pay particular attention around the part where California kills the incentives for electric vehicles in favor of hydrogen.
Buy a diesel
I run a Merc 190 D 2.5 Turbo (my mate lives in Germania so he got me the engine) its fast and lets face it a 3 pointed star on the bonnet always helps panties drop... :) but I run it on carbon neutral veg oil and its only 38p a litre to boot. Burning fossil fuel to generate electricity or crack crude is just insanity.