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Honda Names Fuel Cell Vehicle

November 02, 2015, by Paul Clinton - Also by this author

Photo courtesy of Honda
Photo courtesy of Honda

Honda Motor Co. plans to initially sell its hydrogen-powered 2017 Clarity Fuel Cell sedan in Japan to government agencies and businesses with plans to offer the vehicle to retail customers at a later date. However, the automaker isn't expected to follow that strategy in the U.S., an American Honda spokesman said.

The Clarity Fuel Cell is expected to arrive in the U.S. at some point in 2016. American Honda is expected to release details about its U.S. strategy for the sedan at the Los Angeles Auto Show later this month.

"American Honda's track record is to focus on retail customers," said Stephen Ellis, American Honda's manager of fuel cell vehicle marketing. "Occasionally, we value and appreciate the value of fleets."

Honda showed the planned production model of its Clarity Fuel Cell at the Toyota Motor Show on Oct. 28, and offered a few more details about the sedan that will operate similarly to a gasoline-electric hybrid with combusted high-pressure H2 gas powering an electric motor.

A 70MPa high-pressure hydrogen storage tank installed to the Clarity Fuel Cell provides a range of more than 300 miles, and can be refilled in approximately three minutes, according to Honda.

When combined with an external power feeding device, the Power Exporter 9000, the Clarity Fuel Cell can also function as a "power plant on wheels" that generates and provides electricity to feed approximately seven days' worth of electricity for an average household. Honda has not released details about the device for the U.S. market.

The fuel cell stack for this model was downsized by 33% with an output of more than 100kW and output density of 3.1 kW/L for an approximately a 60% improvement over its outgoing FCX Clarity. The fuel cell powertrain is as compact as a V-6 engine.

Honda will begin sales of the Clarity Fuel Cell in March 2016. The Clarity Fuel Cell sedan will sell in Japan for about 7.66 million yen (or about $63,400). U.S. pricing has not been announced. The Clarity Fuel Cell will be sold in Japan in March and in the U.S. and Europe later in 2016.

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