Honda unveils hydrogen fuel cell vehicle FCV Concept

Honda’s FCV Concept
Honda’s FCV Concept made its world debut in Tokyo and is expected to be launched into the Japanese market by March 2016. The vehicle is designed to be driven by an electric motor powered by hydrogen.
(Honda Motors)

Honda has unveiled its FCV Concept fuel cell vehicle in Tokyo that appears closer to a production vehicle.

The hydrogen-powered car, shown at an event Monday in Tokyo, will be launched in Japan in March 2016, then in Europe and the United States shortly afterward, the company said.

Honda unveiled a similar fuel cell concept vehicle at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show.

The vehicle, built around a powertrain that fits entirely into the front “engine” compartment, will have a driving range of more than 300 miles. Refueling takes three to five minutes.

The FCV’s fuel stack will be 60% denser and 33% smaller than the one in the company’s FCX Clarity, Honda’s more recent fuel cell endeavor. It also represents an increase in range. The Clarity can travel about 240 miles between refueling stops.

Honda, like its Japanese competitor Toyota, has been aggressive in pursuing alternative-fuel technologies. The company, whose Accord is the bestselling car in California so far this year, has hybrid versions of its Accord, Civic and CR-Z on the road, as well as a Civic natural gas vehicle and an Accord plug-in hybrid.

Honda can claim some hydrogen firsts, too. Its FCX became the first vehicle certified by the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board, and was the first full-production fuel cell car introduced in the United States, in 2002.

Honda began delivering Claritys to retail customers in 2008. To date, the company has put fewer than 100 cars into the hands of drivers in the United States and Japan.

The automaker will make a debut at this week’s Los Angeles Auto Show of its new HRV compact crossover, but will not be bringing any units of its FCV to Los Angeles for the time being.

Twitter: @misterfleming