• Apr 2nd 2009 at 8:44AM
  • 19

It's looking like all auto shows are going to be feeling the pinch of a shrinking auto market going forward, including the mighty Frankfurt Show. Honda has joined Nissan in pulling out of this fall's Frankfurt show in order to save money. Earlier this year, Nissan announced that it would only participate in one auto show on each continent with those being Geneva, Tokyo and Los Angeles. Honda hasn't yet made such a sweeping announcement but appears to be taking things one show at a time. It wouldn't be surprising to see a similar move with only one North American Show presence as well. At this year's Detroit show, Honda and Acura occupied floor space but didn't bother with a press conference. Instead, the new Insight was simply revealed on the show floor.

Speaking of the Insight, it goes on sale in Europe on April 18. Elsewhere, Honda will begin testing its FCX Clarity fuel cell car in Germany later this year and will divert other resources to fuel cell and hydrogen development. Honda sees fuel cells as a better long term bet than batteries and plug-in vehicles and intends to pursue that goal.

[Source: Honda]


Honda's participation in IAA 2009

About Honda's participation in IAA 2009

In response to economic climate, Honda cancels participation in IAA 2009, while strengthening environment and customer focused activities.

* New Fuel Cell research in Europe
* More Hybrid vehicles
* New Honda Academy to strengthen Quality and Customer Service

March 31st 2009 - Honda has announced today that it will not participate in IAA, Internationale Automobil Ausstellung, known as Frankfurt motor show, this year. Due to the unprecedented market downturn, Honda has come to a conclusion that the company will have to skip its participation to the Frankfurt motor show this year.

As seen in the withdrawal from Formula One, Honda is trying to reduce every possible cost in various areas including manufacturing, sales and marketing activities to strengthen its business constitution to overcome the tough climate of today.

Whilst the 4 month shutdown to adjust the inventory balance, Honda's UK car manufacturing facility in Swindon is taking the full advantage of production suspension to refurbish its plants and prepare for smooth introduction of Jazz into Swindon factory planned in autumn this year.

Honda is the world's biggest engine manufacturer with 24 million engine powered products sold in 2008 in the areas of automobiles, motorcycles and power equipment, and is committed to swiftly respond to unprecedented situation in the global scale. While vigorously taking on every possible cost reduction measure, Honda is also focusing on research and production of environmentally responsible products.

The Insight Hybrid will be on sale in Germany from April 18th, the hybrid car has already had more than 18.000 customer orders in Japan just in one month, More than 3 times larger than its monthly target of 5.000 units in Japan. Besides that Honda will bring to market a sporty Hybrid based on the CR-Z Concept in 2010 which will be followed by a Jazz Hybrid.

Moreover, Honda will begin a new research project of Fuel Cell technologies in Germany as from autumn this year. This involves permanent deployment of FCX Clarity in Europe, Honda's sophisticated master piece of hydrogen driven vehicle, which already is on lease sales in the USA and Japan. Honda R&D Europe (Deutschland) GmbH in Offenbach will use the FCX Clarity for long term research of Fuel Cell technology and Hydrogen Energy conformity in European conditions.

Honda will divert the resources for environmentally responsible technology to win the race for Zero Emissions. Furthermore Honda will also realign its forces regarding Service Quality and customer orientation. On March 23rd Germany saw the ground breaking ceremony of the new Honda Academy for Europe at Erlensee near Hanau. This 15 Mil EUR invest is dedicated to train Honda and dealer's staff in a way that they are able to exceed customer's expectations also in the future.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      "Honda sees fuel cells as a better long term bet than batteries and plug-in vehicles and intends to pursue that goal. "

      Really, long-term???
      • 6 Years Ago
      Honda is rapidly becoming a laughing-stock of the auto industry by still attempting to pedal this charlatan idea. If they've got money to BLOW on H2, then they've got money to build cars with REAL potential, like diesel-hybrids, which would give Much Better ROI.

      • 6 Years Ago
      actually fuel cells technically could be a better long-term solution, because they don't really have the intrinsic issues of range limitation of BEVs. however, that depends on two main things:
      1) hydrogen can be mass-produced affordably and renewably (currently made from fossil fuels)
      2) fuel cell cars themselves are affordable, perform well, and as durable as ICE cars.

      The problem is we're still very far on both of these points. so, to me, it's a very long, long, long term solution
        • 6 Years Ago
        Actually, H2 fuel cell vehicles DO have a range limitation, as there is a limit to how much H2 can be stored. Turns out the range is slightly better than the equivalent BEV, but improvements to batteries under development could improve battery capacity 5x to 20x, which would give BEVs much greater range.

        Of course, the range issue is a moot point when H2FC vehicles are nowhere near affordable!
        • 6 Years Ago
        I believe there is a good probability that hydrogen cars may be affordable sometime in the future (maybe far future) given the strides they have made in the technology. But I think BEVs/PHEVs are the technology that are ready today and I don't think people want to wait for hydrogen, especially considering the infrastructure cost. And hydrogen might be too far in the future and is not guaranteed to be a commercial success (which is why the oil companies are reluctant to invest in hydrogen infrastructure, only doing so when there are significant government subsidies, and there isn't a full blown push by any automaker to make a hydrogen vehicle that can be SOLD rather than leased to the public, not even by Honda). I think the range thing is a little overblown and it's not like we don't have methods to address them (longer range batteries like the 300 mile pack planned by Tesla, rapid charging, battery swapping, onboard range extenders aka the Volt). If people experience not having to go to a fueling station for months, I think it more than makes up for the occasional times when the range is an issue (and again we have ways to address that issue, if it still remains a huge issue to consumers).

        • 6 Years Ago
        "actually fuel cells technically could be a better long-term solution, because they don't really have the intrinsic issues of range limitation of BEVs."

        There are no "intrinsic range issues". You mean ranges of around 300miles? What makes you think thats "the maximum achievable range? You'll probably be seeing ranges double that within the next decade.

        "1) hydrogen can be mass-produced affordably and renewably (currently made from fossil fuels)"

        Here's the problem Currently their is an energy loss of around 60% in the production of hydrogen, and another 15-20% from transport, storage to the point it actually powers the car. It would take you three times the amount of energy to power a hydrogen car over the same distance as it would an EV. Hydrogen fuel cells CANNOT compete with EVs on energy efficiency, their is simply to much intrinsic energy loss in the production and transfer of hydrogen.

        Not only that, but it costs around $5 for hydrogen equivalent to a gallon of gas (note: storing hydrogen in liquid form requires cryogenic storage, at huge cost and loss of energy). When gas prices were $4 it resulted in a huge crisis that led to massive foreclosures and decreases in consumer spending that resulted in our current economic crisis. $5 hydrogen-equivalent is not a savior or even practical....and with an EV you could get the same distance out of 80cents-to-1.20 worth of electricity. EVs also use significantly less parts and as battery costs go down, should actually cost less to produce (meaning either more profit for automakers, or lower costs for EVs).

        "2) fuel cell cars themselves are affordable, perform well, and as durable as ICE cars."

        Really?? Well the FCX Clarity costs around a couple Bugatti Veyrons to produce. The fact is, NO affordable mass-produced hydrogen cars exist, or will exist for at least the next two decades....assuming that within the next two decades their will be a series of dramatic scientific discoveries that make these things even remotely affordable.

        Hydrogen cars might be theoretically "affordable" in 20-30 years, but by then they probably won't be practical. Battery tech is advancing rapidly, and almost every major automaker is planning rollouts. By the 2nd and 3rd generation of these batteries, range and efficiency be even significantly better. There is no overstating how far hydrogen fuel cells would have to advance to be comparable to an EV 20 years in the future....unless a few drops of rainwater is going to take you 500miles, they won't be competitive or practical. Not only that but the infrastructure for EVs (significantly cheaper to develop) will have matured to the point where automakers will have to develop and expand their EV model offerings, regardless of dreams of hydrogen. Any automaker that completely ignores EVs so they can invest in hydrogen cars that are 20-30years down the road WILL BE GONE in half that time.

        At this point a hydrogen car is only slightly less conceptual than a cold fussion powered car. With infinite time and money, just about anything is possible. But after EVs reach a certain point of market penetration, automakers will not be inclined to continue to spend billions on theoretical, unproven hydrogen cars that are still decades away. Its simply not practical.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Did you guys actually READ what I wrote?

        I said that fuel cells are NOT affordable, and hydrogen is NOT produced renewably at this time.

        However, fuel cells DO have the advantage that you can refuel H2 in 10 minutes and go another 200-300 miles, whereas recharge times on BEVs are pretty long, so you just can't go on road-trip-type drives. While other challenges with BEVs / fuel cells hopefully will be solved by good engineering, this one seems like a tough long-term problem for BEVs. BEVs are great for cities, but I doubt we'll ever only have BEVs.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I believe that hydrogen is the most important way to power our future and if the FCX was available here I would have one.. Did you hear me HONDA?
      Making hydrogen with water and solar is the way to go.. It would be like storing sunlight.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Honda hasn't yet mastered the art of using sunlight to make H2 directly, instead, Honda is using solar cells to produce electricity, which then powers electrolysis cells to produce hydrogen. The problem is that the overall efficiency of electrolysis, compression for storage, and fuel cell combined is only 23% efficient in storing electrical energy, while the combined efficiency of charger and batteries is 85%. Going the H2 route takes 3x more electricity, thus 3x more of those expensive solar cells.

        Another blogger posting on this site disputes those figures, claiming higher efficiency for fuel cells and electrolysis and lower efficiency for batteries - but even his figures show batteries are more than twice as efficient at storing electricity.

        Honda is leasing only a limited number of FCX Clarities, only as many as the government subsidies will support. If you live near a H2 refueling station, have lots of money and a roomy garage to keep it in, you might have a slim chance of snagging a 3 year lease. Otherwise, forget it.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I said and i repeat to make gazeous hydrogen with water inside the car while driving for no fuel cost nor pollution. Cannot be clearer then that and there is more power to be have too, with way less weight and cost then batteries.
      • 6 Years Ago
      gorr: I'm really glad to see you're asking the questions that need to be asked.

      a kilogram of H2 contains 33.6 kWh of energy, and can be produced (depending on who's report you read) at 50-80% efficiency, meaning that it takes between 42 and 67 kWh of electricity to generate that kilogram of H2.

      For comparison, the Tesla Roadster battery contains 52 kWh, and can move it 240 miles. ...that's the whole thing about batteries being more efficient that hydrogen.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Thanks for the info.

        Another way of looking at it is the cost per mile for fuel. With the local rate of 11 cents per Kwh, the Roadster costs just over 2 cents per mile, but with the retail cost of H2 at $8 to $10 per Kg,, that comes to 11 to 14 cents per mile for the FCX Clarity!
      • 6 Years Ago
      "FCX Clarity in Europe, Honda's sophisticated master piece of hydrogen driven vehicle, which already is on lease sales in the USA and Japan. Honda R&D Europe (Deutschland) GmbH in Offenbach will use the FCX Clarity for long term research of Fuel Cell technology and Hydrogen Energy conformity in European conditions."

      Clearly a piece of intelectual masturbation! Yes Honda, you are great engineers, however your FC is not viable in mass production. A couple of other companies have heavy insestments in FCs, first to mind would be Daimler.
      • 6 Years Ago
      maybe they should incorporate the "ostrich "into there brand logo somehow !
      • 6 Years Ago
      Why would Honda waste their money on this catastrophe? This looks like blatant clandestine funding by the Oil Industry. Ha,ha the "free market", where they bribe their solution into the market.

      • 6 Years Ago
      They must know something we don't. Has a world shadow government (oil companies) decided to cram hydrogen fuel cells down our throats so the can keep total control over transportation?
      • 6 Years Ago
      I said to honda and i repeat to test the fcx with hydrogen made by a water electrolyser and say how much electricity it take to make one kilo of hydrogen with this method and then we will be able to know the cost of this fuel and i learn before then one kilo of gazeous hydrogen make this car move forward 70 miles. So it's 70 mpg approx ( one kilo = one gallon ). But how much cost one kilo of hydrogen made from water ?
        • 6 Years Ago
        So if honda is able to make hydrogen from sunlight and water, it's way better then plugging your car at night connected to solar panels. The hydrogen can be made and stored in the day and pumped into the car in the evening. And stop calculating hydrogen cost with silly electric formula misleading everyone except myself. It's not electricity that we put into an hydrogen tank it's matter that we put ( hydrogen gas) and this matter is contained in water just before the electronizing of it that is made just to separate it from their bonding with oxygen. So it's the quantity of hydrogen that measure the amount of energy that we put into the tank in relation of the power it made into the devise that can be a ice engine or a fuel cell or a turbine of a jet like the challenger space ships that work with hydrogen because diesel is costly, inneficient and polluting and is not to the task of powering a space ships like tha nasa challenger spaceship.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Honda has used a water electrolyzer to produce H2, one of their H2 refueling stations is solar powered, with an electrolyzer, but it's only for their prototype testing and a handful of their leased vehicles.

        Turns out a Kilogram of H2 contains 33.6 Kwh of energy and assuming a very high efficiency of 50% to 80%, it would take 42 to 67 Kwh of electricity to generate that H2 from water (Thanks, GoodCheer, for the info!) The cost of that electricity depends on your local rates, where I live it is about 11 cents per Kwh, making an electricity cost from $4.62 to $7.37 per Kg of H2. We must add in the cost of equipment to be paid for, loan costs, and normal retail markup, that would more than double the cost, giving a retail cost of $9.25 to $15 per Kg. For the FCX Clarity, that gives a per-mile fuel cost of 13 to 21 cents per mile, about the same as the average petrol SUV.

        H2 from steam reformed natural gas is a bit cheaper, with a retail price of $8 to $10 per Kg.
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