PopSci gets FCX test drive and interview with Honda CEO

On a recent trip to Honda's research and development center in Utsunomia, Japan, Popular Science got an opportunity to conduct a 10-minute interview with Takeo Fukui, Honda's president and CEO, as well as take the FCX fuel cell concept car out for a spin.

First, the test drive. Joe Brown from Popular Science expresses early trepidation about entering a high-speed bank with a one-off, multi-million dollar concept car, but assures us that even at 92 mph the car felt completely sure-footed. Because of Honda's new vertical fuel cell stack, the engineers were able to significantly lower the car's center of gravity whereas most fuel cell concept cars tend to either look like or be SUVs or tall crossovers. The vertical fuel cell stack also nearly eliminates the need for an active pump to remove the water byproduct as gravity does most of the work.

In addition to its high-speed stability, it sounds like the FCX will command a decent amount of respect off the line as Brown estimates a 0-60 time of 7 seconds.

On the ergonomical side of things, Brown notes a glowing ball display located in the middle of the instrument panel. A Honda engineer informs him that when using the maximum amount of hydrogen, it turns red. I imagine it's the fuel cell equivalent to red-line. While "red-balling" the Honda, though, Brown admits that he was so distracted that he almost put the FCX in the wall.

As for the interview, there isn't anything particularly new, but Honda fans will undeniably enjoy the read. Honda CEO Takeo Fukui pays tribute to the late Soichiro Honda, the company founder, for basing the company's identity on efficient engines starting with 4-stroke motorcycles. He says that Honda "will always be the most fuel-efficient in their respective classes" even when it comes to the upcoming V-10-powered NSX.

When asked about hydrogen, Fukui essentially gives a poetic definition of hydrogen being an efficient energy carrier with a fuel source that he envisions to be solar and notes that Honda is currently working on advanced solar technologies.

The interview ends on the subject of legacy. Fukui invokes a passionate notion of civic duty as he says he would like to be remembered for "making a positive difference in as many ways as possible."

[Source: Popular Science, Thanks for the tip, Tommie]

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