Honda Tests New Fuel Cell Car in Japan and California
Auto manufacturer Honda announced on April 6 that it is planning extensive road tests for a new improved fuel cell powered vehicle. The Honda FCX will use a next-generation fuel cell generator and will be able to run at extreme temperatures of minus 20°C. (minus 4°F.) In Japan, the project is being run by a corporate-academic consortium led by the laboratories of Honda, Kagoshima University and Yakushima Denko. The tests involve the car being used on public roads on the Japanese island of Yakishima as part of the consortium's zero-emission project.In the U.S., the 2005 FCX testing program will begin this month in California, followed by the placement of a vehicle in New York State in the fall. The New York test program will play a critical role in proving the cold-weather performance capabilities of the Honda FCX and the breakthrough Honda FC stack, which has the ability to start in temperatures as low as -20 degrees C (-4 degrees F), until recently a major hurdle in the development of a truly mass-marketable fuel cell vehicle.Honda's experimental Home Energy Station (HES) will supply hydrogen fuel for the California road tests. HES generates hydrogen from natural gas for use in fuel cell vehicles while supplying electricity and heat for the home.