It Sure Seems Like Honda Has Reason To Gripe About Hyundai's Claim
Last month, Hyundai said that the initial deliveries of the Tucson Fuel Cell vehicles in California meant that, "For the first time, retail consumers can now put a mass-produced, federally-certified hydrogen fuel cell vehicle in their driveways." But try telling that to Jon Spallino.
Read his lips: more hydrogen stations, please. That's the crux of the commentary from a Southern California gentleman who's been tooling around in a Honda FCX Clarity hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicle since 2005.
Honda plans to show how its super-small electric vehicle prototype fits into the bigger picture. The Japanese automaker is collaborating with electronics giant Toshiba and home-builder Sekisui House in their Smart Mobility City joint exhibit at the 43rd Tokyo Motor Show starting later this month. Themed "Being Smarter! Being Freer!", the companies will show off their truly utopian vision of neighborhoods with a "stable supply of renewable energy through the utilization of batteries and managemen
Honda has joined up with industry colleagues and become a member of the H2USA partnership dedicated to the development and commercialization of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. The US Department of Energy program was started up last month and includes Toyota, Mercedes, Hyundai, Nissan and other manufacturers, government agencies and suppliers.
Taking a detailed look at the Honda lineup in the US, it isn't hard to see the strength of some models and the weaknesses of others. A recent report on Autoline Daily points out that its five core models – the Accord, Civic, CR-V, Odyssey and Pilot – make up a full 93 percent of Honda's sales in the US. Through April, Honda has sold 419,798 vehicles, and 389,474 of them were from these core models; not to mention the fact that the Accord was the top-selling car in the US last month.
Global automakers are taking a European road trip together to promote hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. On September 13, seven different fuel cell cars from Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Hyundai, and Toyota started a one-month tour with stopovers planned for nine European cities as a way to introduce more people to the technology.
Most carmakers like to think that their portfolio of vehicles can meet the needs of most any consumer. But in the case of the electric car, there aren't many choices. Some manufactures have decided to sell range-extended EVs, some started with a white sheet of paper and built an EV from scratch. And then there are those carmakers who chose to repurpose an existing vehicle design for an electric. The Honda Fit EV falls in the latter category.
UK drivers wishing to skip battery electric vehicles while maintaining "zero-emissions" motoring now have a new alternative since Honda has opened the UK's first public-access hydrogen refueling station. Ironically, no automakers offer a fuel cell vehicle in the UK, not even Honda.
Honda is looking to test out its fuel cell FCX Clarity by putting casual users in its passenger seats with an experiment at Tokyo's Narita International Airport. According to the automaker, an undisclosed amount of FCX Clarity sedans are now in motion at and around Narita Airport. The fuel cell vehicles will be used to chauffeur passengers from the airport to downtown Tokyo, a distance of around 45 miles.
As the White House Correspondents Association gathers in the nation's capitol this weekend to celebrate its coverage (such as it is) of the government, many of them will be shuttled around in gasoline free vehicles. Honda has stepped up to the plate with a fleet of vehicles that includes mostly the natural gas fueled Civic GX, but also a fuel cell powered FCX Clarity.
The latest lessee of one of Honda's FCX Clarity fuel cell sedans is Scott Niedermayer. As captain of both the Anaheim Ducks of the NHL and the Canadian Olympic hockey team, Niedermayer is the first athlete to get one of the hydrogen-powered Hondas. The hockey star currently lives in Orange County near Los Angeles, making him eligible to get one of the fuel cell machines since he has access to fuel.
Honda is a green automaker by design. From the very beginning, Honda has sought out ways to reduce size, weight and efficiency, and, after reading an interchange between Autocar and Honda CEO Takanobu ITO, it doesn't seem likely this will change any time soon. The first interesting tidbit that caught our attention is Ito's assertion that Honda's "European sales people are largely to blame" for Toyota overtaking Honda as the green automaker of note in Europe. Interesting, no?
Toyota, Nissan and Honda all participated in a fuel cell demonstration run in Japan last week. The three automakers brought their most advanced hydrogen fuel cell vehicles out for the two-day trip from Tokyo to Fukuoka with an overnight stop in Osaka. The driving teams piloted a Honda FCX Clarity, a Nissan X-Trail FCV and a Toyota Highlander FCHV-adv. Back in 2007, a Toyota FCHV traveled from Osaka to Tokyo on one tank of H2.