Honda FCX Clarity (2008–2014)

Model History

November 2007

Honda announced that it has begun using the Home Energy Station IV at its Honda R&D Americas, Inc. facility in Torrance, California. This fourth-generation experimental unit is designed to provide fuel for a hydrogen powered fuel cell vehicle, as well as heat and electricity for a home. The new system is more compact and efficient, with a lower operating cost than previous models. The announcement coincides with the world debut of the all-new FCX Clarity hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicle at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

The first ever production FCX Clarity – Honda’s advanced hydrogen fuel cell car – came off the line in Japan on Monday, 16 June 2008. After 19 years of development, this ‘real world’ fuel cell car marks the beginning of a new era of cleaner motoring.

The FCX Clarity – which emits only water from its exhaust pipe – was presented to three of the first US customers in a line-off ceremony at the world’s first dedicated fuel cell vehicle factory: the Honda Automobile New Model Centre (Takanezawa-machi, Shioya-gun, Tochigi Prefecture).

Lease sales scheduled to begin in July in the United States, and in Japan in autumn 2008. The combined sales plan for Japan and the US will be approximately 70 cars per year, with a total of 200 units over three years. Customers will follow a three-year lease term, at a price of $600 per month (approx £290), including maintenance and collision insurance.

March 2008

FCX Clarity fuel cell vehicle unveiled

The FCX Clarity is a next-generation, zero-emission, hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicle based on an entirely new Honda V Flow fuel cell platform, and powered by the highly compact, efficient and powerful Honda V Flow fuel cell stack. Featuring tremendous improvements to driving range, power, weight and efficiency – and boasting a low-slung, dynamic and sophisticated appearance, previously unachievable in a fuel cell vehicle – the FCX Clarity marks the significant progress Honda continues to make in advancing the real-world performance and appeal of the hydrogen-powered fuel cell car.

Honda plans to lease the FCX Clarity to a limited number of retail consumers in Southern California, U.S., with the first delivery taking place in summer 2008. Full details of the lease programme will be set closer to launch, but current plans are for a three-year lease term with a price of $600 per month (approx £290), including maintenance and collision insurance.

Honda FCX Clarity Main Specifications

  • Motor Max. output 100kW (136 PS) Max. torque 256 Nm (189lb.ft)
  • Type AC synchronous electric motor (permanent magnet)
  • Fuel cell stack
  • Type PEMFC (Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell)
  • Max. Output 100kW (136 PS) Fuel Type Compressed hydrogen gas
  • Storage High-pressure hydrogen tank 171 litres capacity
  • Dimensions 4835mm long × 1845 wide × 1470 mm high
  • Vehicle weight 1625 kg
  • Maximum speed 100mph
  • Energy storage Lithium ion battery

The FCX Clarity utilises Honda’s V Flow stack in combination with a new compact and efficient lithium ion battery pack and a single hydrogen storage tank to power the vehicle’s electric drive motor. The fuel cell stack operates as the vehicle’s main power source. Hydrogen combines with atmospheric oxygen in the fuel cell stack, where energy from the reaction is converted into electric power used to propel the vehicle. Additional energy is also generated through the capture of kinetic energy from vehicle braking and deceleration (known as regenerative braking), which is stored along with surplus energy from the fuel cell in the lithium ion battery pack, and is used to supplement power from the fuel cell, when needed. The vehicle’s only emission is water.

The V Flow FC Stack features an entirely new cell structure that achieves a higher output of 100kW, smaller size and lower weight, with a 50 per cent improvement in output density by volume, and a 67 per cent increase in output density by mass, compared to the previous Honda FC stack.

The new V Flow FC Stack introduces a cell structure in which hydrogen and air flow vertically, and gravity is used to facilitate more efficient drainage of the water by-product from the electrical generation layer. The result is greater stability in power generation. The new structure also allows flow channel depth to be reduced by 17 per cent – a major contributing factor in creating thinner cells and a more compact stack.

The V Flow FC Stack incorporates wave flow-channels for the hydrogen and air, with horizontal coolant flow channels weaving between them. The wave flow channels provide greater flow length per channel than straight channels, while the resulting turbulent flow within the channel promotes improved hydrogen and air distribution. As a result, the hydrogen and air are spread over the entire electrode layer, making more efficient use of the compact electrical generation layer and achieving approximately 10 per cent higher generating performance than with straight flow channels. The horizontal coolant flow also ensures more even cooling over the entire electrical generation layer, allowing for a reduction in the number of cooling layers to half that of previous stacks. While the previous stack had one cooling layer for each cell, the new stack needs only one cooling layer per two cells. This results in a 20 per cent reduction in stack length and a 30 per cent weight reduction, which is a major breakthrough in compact, lightweight stack design.

Improved water drainage due to the V Flow cell structure facilitates better output immediately after startup. The reduced coolant volume and single-box design made possible by the wave flow-channel separators result in heat mass 40 per cent lower than previous stacks. As a result, startup is now possible at temperatures as low as -30° C.

The FCX Clarity’s revolutionary new V Flow platform packages the ultra-compact, lightweight and powerful Honda V Flow fuel cell stack – 65 per cent smaller than the previous Honda fuel cell stack unit – in the vehicle’s centre tunnel, between the two front seats. The compact size of the new V Flow FC Stack allows for a more spacious interior and more efficient packaging of other powertrain components, which would otherwise be unattainable in a sleek, low-slung sedan.

November 2008

Honda has started leasing the FCX Clarity fuel cell car in Japan earlier today, delivering the first zero-emission car to the Ministry of the Environment.

Initially, Honda will lease the FCX Clarity to government agencies and certain corporate entities in Japan, with up to 200 customers taking delivery of the car in the United States and Japan over the next three years. Honda has leased the vehicle in the US since July 2008.

The FCX Clarity is Honda’s next generation, hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicle. Driven by an electric motor that runs on electricity generated by a fuel cell, the car’s only emissions are heat and water. Its fuel efficiency is three times that of a modern petrol engine.

What does a Honda FCX Clarity (2008 – 2014) cost?