Hydrogen Powered Honda FCEV Impresses at LA 2013

Honda LogoIt’s here and ready to make a big hydrogen-powered mark in the very near future. The Honda FCEV Concept took to the stage at the LA Auto Show late last week as a first look at the upcoming fuel-cell electric vehicle thatHonda will launch in the US and Japan in 2015, with Europe following some time after that. We kind of love the bravery on display here, and Honda says the concept we see here hints at “a potential styling direction,” but we can’t imagine which parts of this concept vehicle we will see on the road one day.

The five-seater’s technical details are perhaps more important than how it looks, since this is where the car really tries to set itself apart. A range of more than 300 miles will be possible from a 100kW hydrogen fuel cell stack that has a power density of 3kW/L, which is 60-percent higher than it was before while being 33-percent smaller than the stack in the gorgeous FCX Clarity. Honda doesn’t get into the issue of a lack of fuel stations in its press release (there are only 10 public H2 stations in the US today), but it does say that the FCEV Concept could be refueled in about three minutes using a 70 MPa system.

The fuel stack’s small size means this is the first time a fuel-cell powertrain has been “packaged completely in the engine room of the vehicle,” Honda says, which means the company should be able to do a lot of interesting things with vehicle design, just as some EV designers can do today. Honda also says the compact size means there is “flexibility in the potential application of FC technology to multiple vehicle types in the future,” so if you don’t like the look of the concept unveiled today, keep your eyes peeled for something different.