Honda, the pioneer of hydrogen fuel cell technology has unveiled its next generation Clarity Fuel Cell today at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show.
Incorporating Honda’s most advanced technologies, the Clarity Fuel Cell is the world’s first production model of a fuel cell powered sedan to house the entire fuel cell stack and drivetrain system in the space normally occupied by the engine and transmission.
The all-new Honda Clarity Fuel Cell will be commercially available in Japan from early 2016. Further information on the European and North American launch of the vehicle will follow next year.
World-first packaging solution
The packaging of the Clarity Fuel Cell has been inspired by Honda’s principle of man maximum, machine minimum. Through minimising the space utilised by the powertrain, Honda has been able to achieve a level of interior space that allows five adults to be comfortably accommodated as would be expected in a conventionally powered sedan.
The size of the fuel cell stack and the power generation unit have been reduced through Honda’s advanced technologies to a size comparable to a V6 engine.
Despite the compact nature of the fuel cell powertrain, Honda’s advanced technologies have ensured world-leading fuel cell stack performance. Honda’s original wave flow channel separators are more advanced than ever, while the cells now feature a higher output and a more slender shape thanks to a 1 mm (20%) reduction in the thickness of each cell. These advances combine to make the fuel cell stack 33% more compact than the stack used in the original FCX Clarity. This improvement is highly impressive as it has been achieved in parallel with an increase in maximum motor output to 130 kW (177ps) and a power density increased by 60% to 3.1 kW/L.
The Clarity Fuel Cell is equipped with a high-pressure tank capable of storing hydrogen gas at 70 MPa, increasing the mass of hydrogen that can be stored and extending the range of the vehicle. Coupled with the efficient powertrain and reduced vehicle energy consumption, the Clarity Fuel Cell achieves a best-in-class fuel cell vehicle range per full tank of over 700 km (435miles).
In addition, the high-pressure tank can be quickly refilled, the process taking approximately three minutes at 70 MPa and 20oC. These and other benefits give the Clarity Fuel Cell a day-to-day convenience customers are used to with their traditional petrol or diesel powered vehicles.
An exhilarating driving experience
Engineered to use the high output of Honda’s fuel cell stack and the power assist of the lithium-ion battery pack, a high-output motor provides power to the driven wheels together with instant and powerful acceleration. Due to the continuously increasing torque provided by the high-output 130 kW (177 PS) motor with no need for gears, the Clarity Fuel Cell achieves perfectly smooth acceleration anywhere from zero to maximum speed.
The direct response, exhilarating drive and quiet cabin together form an appealing combination. Clarity Fuel Cell offers the driver two driving modes: the ‘Normal’ mode provides a balance between fuel economy and driving performance, while ‘Sport’ prioritises a more responsive acceleration feeling.
The exterior of Clarity Fuel Cell has been designed to give an imposing presence on the road while maintaining a strong aerodynamic profile. Full-LED headlights with a sharp, slender profile and 18-inch aluminium wheels with an aerodynamic and stylish design complete the look.
The interior of Clarity Fuel Cell combines an advanced yet refined atmosphere designed to provide the driver with a relaxing and comfortable driving environment. The advanced driver interface uses Honda’s design principles of instant recognition and intuitive control. Simple and outstandingly spacious, the interior features premium, comforting materials that make driving an experience to anticipate and enjoy.
Honda Clarity in Europe and participation in HyFIVE project
Honda is scheduled to launch the Clarity Fuel Cell in a limited number of European markets in 2016. Honda is one of five automotive companies that make up the HyFIVE consortium, and will supply vehicles that will be part of a 110 strong European fleet to highlight and promote the development, use and viability of this new technology.
In UK, Honda has worked with suppliers to encourage the local production and consumption of energy by establishing a solar-powered hydrogen refuelling station in the grounds of Honda of the UK Manufacturing in Swindon. This station is open to the public (subject to registration) and able to refuel any fuel cell vehicle.
Fuel cell technical specifications
|Range per full tank (km)||Over 700|
|Refuelling time||Approx. 3 minutes|
|Maximum fuel cell output (kW)||Over 100|
|Fuel stack output density (kW/L)||3.1|
|Maximum motor output (kW)||130|
|Maximum hydrogen tank pressure (MPa)||70|
|Energy storage method||Lithium-ion battery|