For years we have heard that hydrogen fuel cells were the clean energy engines of the future, converting hydrogen gas into electricity, with heat and water the only by-products. That future comes a step closer in 2016, when Honda releases the Clarity – its answer to the Toyota Mirai released last year.
Hydrogen fuel cells vehicles do already exist but there has been precious little uptake, not least because of the lack of supporting infrastructure. Hyundai has the ix35 Fuel Cell, the first hydrogen-powered car to be mass-imported into Australia, but had to build its own refuelling station at its Sydney headquarters. That’s hardly what you’d call user-friendly or practical for drivers outside of the immediate area.
Honda plans to build up to 1200 Claritys per year. They have a range of around 500km, can generate 100kW and reach a top speed of 200kmh.
Honda says it has reduced the cost of producing the fuel cell by 90 per cent from the original Clarity FCX, which was first produced in 2008. However, the carbon fibre hydrogen tanks are still expensive.
Honda is collaborating with GM on a new, cheaper, tank and fuel cell system that it hopes to have production-ready by 2020.