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Honda FCX Extends Driving Range
The Honda FCX continues to reinforce Honda's leadership in the development and rollout of environmental technology. This year, the FCX takes advantage of refueling software upgrades to extend the drive range to 210 miles. These upgrades facilitate improvements to the refueling process that yields better use of storage capacity and thus increase driving range. The world's most advanced production fuel cell vehicle, the FCX is the only hydrogen vehicle certified to meet the stringent emissions standards of California and the Federal government. Powered by a Honda-developed fuel cell stack (Honda FC Stack) the FCX is capable of starting and operating at temperatures as low as -20oC (-4oF) with improved performance, range and heightened design simplicity.
Honda currently has 15 FCX vehicles in the hands of customers in three different states. One of those customers, the Spallino family of California (near Los Angeles), celebrated the first anniversary of the historical inaugural delivery of a fuel cell vehicle to a retail consumer this year. The experience has provided Honda with significant real world experience relevant to the future of fuel cell technology and customer expectations. "Driving the FCX over the last 12 months has been a great experience," said Jon Spallino, Honda's first retail customer. "We wanted a car that would drive like a regular car and surprisingly it is exactly what we got."
The Honda FC Stack made its debut in 2005 with a metal separator structure that is easier to manufacture and reduces the number of necessary components by 50 percent, with the aim of increasing stack longevity and reducing manufacturing costs. This system also includes an aromatic electrolyte membrane that reduces manufacturing costs and increases the range between cold and warm temperature operation. Power output is 107 horsepower and 201 foot-pounds of torque.
The hydrogen-powered Honda FCX is the only fuel cell vehicle certified by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for everyday commercial use. CARB has also certified the FCX as a Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV), and as a US EPA Tier-2 Bin-1 with a range of 210 miles and seating for four people, making it practical for a wide range of real-world applications.
Honda continues work on the development of infrastructure technology for hydrogen refueling, as evident by the research conducted on the experimental Home Energy Station (HES). Currently on its third generation of development, this station aims to provide a home-based refueling environment capable of providing sufficient fuel to power a fuel cell vehicle while providing electrical energy needs for an average size home. The Home Energy Station, in addition to Honda's next generation fuel cell vehicle which made its American debut at the North America International Auto Show in 2006, aim to develop intermediate and long term alternatives to a petroleum based energy economy.
Honda's next generation FCX fuel cell vehicle concept will begin production within 3 years and signals Honda's commitment to the advancement of fuel cell vehicle technology. Using an innovative approach to fuel cell system design, this vehicle boasts a fuel cell system that delivers more power in less space. Honda's original design vertical gas flow (V Flow) fuel cell stack is compact enough to fit neatly into the center tunnel thus creating unique interior packaging opportunities previously unattainable in fuel cell vehicle design.
Honda undertook fuel cell research in 1989 and has been road testing vehicles in the United States since 1999. Honda has also been a member of the California Fuel Cell Partnership based in Sacramento, California, since 1999.