Honda’s next-generation FCX Concept fuel cell vehicle made its European driving debut at the Gotland Ring in Sweden. The vehicle is highly efficient, with an energy efficiency of around 60 percent; approximately three times that of a petrol-engine vehicle, twice that of a hybrid vehicle and 10 percent better than the current FCX.
The FCX Concept is a key stage in Honda’s development of fuel cell technology and will be the basis for a totally new fuel cell vehicle which the company is currently developing. Limited marketing of this new vehicle is on target to begin in 2008 in Japan and the U.S. and the focus will be to deliver a new dimension in environmentally friendly driving pleasure not found with petrol-engine vehicles.
To meet Honda’s objectives for significant gains in both environmental and driving performance, the FCX Concept is equipped with a V Flow fuel cell platform. In previous fuel cell stacks the hydrogen and the water formed in electricity generation flowed horizontally, this vehicle features a vertical-flow design. This allows gravity to assist in discharging the water that is produced, resulting in a major improvement in water drainage – key to high-efficiency fuel stack performance – and achieving a higher output from a smaller package.
This new fuel cell stack is 20 percent smaller and 30 percent lighter than the current FCX FC Stack, yet its power output is 14kW greater. The drive motor has been positioned coaxially with the gearbox for a more compact design, with output increased by 15kW. Overall, the power plant is about 180kg lighter than that of the current FCX and about 40 percent smaller in volume. The V Flow fuel cell platform also has allowed the designers to create an elegant, low-riding, sedan form that would have been difficult to achieve in a conventional fuel cell vehicle. The result is improved energy efficiency and performance along with a more spacious interior.
Low-temperature startup has also been significantly improved, enabling cold-weather starts at temperatures 10°C lower than the current FCX- as low as minus 30°C.
As an auxiliary power source, the FCX Concept carries a compact, high-efficiency lithium ion battery, contributing to increased power output and a more compact power plant. These efficiency improvements to major power plant components give the vehicle a travel range approximately 30 percent greater than the current FCX.
The comfortably large cabin complete with futuristic styling also includes seat upholstery and door linings made from Honda Bio-Fabric, a plant-based material that offers outstanding durability and resistance to sunlight damage.