Honda Announces Upcoming All Electric And PHEV Model While Debuting FCV Concept

JAN 13 2015 BY JAY COLE 36

This week Honda introduced the FCV Concept to America.  More about that later in the article, because what really interested us was not the latest and greatest in fuel cell technology, but what Honda slipped into the announcement.

Honda FCV Concept

Honda FCV Concept

Not only will Honda be introducing a new plug-in hybrid offering, but also a new all-electric model – both by 2018!

Here is Honda’s statement:

“In an effort to ensure Honda’s environmental vehicles remain strong competitors and provide a new sales-volume pillar, the company will offer several next-generation, advanced powertrain vehicles, including a new battery-electric model and plug-in hybrid model by 2018.”

Honda also stressed that both of these vehicles will be “all-new” models to their lineup, leveraging the company’s “new Honda Earth Dreams™ Technology powertrains”.

It would seem that like their counterpart in South Korea – Hyundai/Kia, who also recently announced an all-electric and Sonata/Optima plug-in hybrid offering (which made its US debut in Detroit today), Honda has decided that fuel cell technology is not going to sell in the types of volumes to be emission compliant in California, Europe and other regions of the world.

Enter the plug-ins!

Honda FCV Concept

Honda FCV Concept

About that FCV Concept?  Here is Honda’s press release on that.

Honda FCV Concept

The Honda FCV Concept showcases the styling evolution of Honda’s next fuel-cell vehicle, anticipated to launch in the U.S. following its March 2016 introduction in Japan. The new Honda fuel-cell car will feature a spacious cabin with seating for five-passengers, a driving range estimated to be in excess of 300 miles, and an anticipated refueling time of approximately 3 minutes at a pressure of 70 MPa. Its fuel cell stack, which fits entirely within under the hood, is 33 percent smaller with a 60 percent increase in power density compared to the outgoing Honda FCX Clarity.

Honda FCV Concept - Rear

Honda FCV Concept – Rear

As the next progression in Honda’s dynamic FCV styling, the Honda FCV Concept features a low, wide aerodynamic body with clean character lines. The interior strives to achieve harmony between man and machine by taking advantage of new powertrain packaging efficiencies delivering even greater passenger space than its predecessor, the 4-passenger Honda FCX Clarity fuel-cell vehicle. The Honda FCV Concept made its world debut in Japan on Nov. 17, 2014, followed by an announcement at the Los Angeles Auto Show that Honda will provide FirstElement Fuel with $13.8 million in financial assistance to build additional hydrogen refueling stations throughout the state of California in an effort to support the wider introduction of fuel-cell vehicles.

Honda FCV Interior

Honda FCV Interior

Honda FCV Concept Interior

Honda FCV Concept Interior

 Hat tip to Michael Colvin!!!

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36 Comments on "Honda Announces Upcoming All Electric And PHEV Model While Debuting FCV Concept"

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Yeah.. Let me guess. Honda will have an all new compliance car. Yay.

It will also be a lease-only BEV that Honda will crush after three years ala the Fit EV.

It’s ironic that Toyota will let you buy its fuel-cell Mirai, but Honda won’t let you buy its Fit EV.

Will they really crush the Fit EV? Do you have record of that? You don’t

I had the impression that CARB et al. do not allow that sort of antics to automakers anymore. These have been open-market cars, not research prototypes, cars for which the automakers got nice environmental $$ rewards. I’ll be surprised if they’re at liberty to crush them prematurely without paying an environmental fine.

In any case, the crushing is so far a speculation. Have seen no documentation of that, and those cars aren’t due for another couple of years.

Yes, Honda will crush the Fit EVs. Honda will never sell the new or used Fit EVs to the public because if it did, then under federal law it would have to provide service/repair and parts for Fit EVs for 15 years. Honda is trying to avoid the large expense of stocking a warehouse/s full of repair parts for the Fit EV for 15 years, and training service techs for the same length of time. For example, Suzuki left the US market recently, but it must still provide service and parts for the cars it sold in the US for 15 years after they were sold. But the Fit EVs has received a temporary reprieve from Honda. Honda is offering to extend current leases, and per Honda’s website Honda will soon be offering the lease returns for lease again as “pre-owned leases.” Thus, Honda will not even sell the Fit EV to the public as a used car. Even when Honda leases the a new or used Fit EV it uses a Honda subsidiary company as the leasing company which owns the vehicle, to avoid selling it to in independent leasing company. In other words, Honda retains ownership of the… Read more »

Nothing you have said or shown proves that the cars will be crushed. It just shows that Honda will not sell the cars outright. That’s not to say that they will not be used for other purposes such as V2G research or even Honda’s own fleet.

The Mini-E was not available for purchase out of lease, but they weren’t all crushed:

I’m not saying it’s impossible for Honda to crush them. I’m just saying it’s not a given.

Honda’s extended leases and “pre-owned leases” just delays the inevitable.

After Honda’s extended and “pre-owned leases” end and Honda refuses to sell any used Fit EVs to the public, will Honda try to lease these 4 to 6 year-old EVs a third time? I doubt it. Their batteries/AER will be degraded and the original battery warranty would run out during the third lease for some of the cars.

Since Honda refuses to sell used Fit EVs to the public, sooner or later all Fit EVs will be crushed, even though they have plenty of life left in them.

Link to Honda “pre-owned leases”:

What’s the big deal that Honda won’t sell us our Fit EV’s. Why would you want to own a car that [in the northeast] only goes about 45 miles in the winter months? I love my Fit EV but with 200 mile ranges in a couple of years, I will love the next EV even more. They just keep getting better and better so who cares if you can’t buy the outdated edition?

Well, a plug-in hybrid does not qualify as a ‘compliance car’. At least not yet but some are lobbying for it.

Electric Car Guest Drive

2018. A year after GM, Tesla, Nissan (and likely BMW) firmly establish brand leadership for mass-market environmentally responsible automobiles. Better late than never.

2018 is the year the CARB rules get cranked up. I don’t remember the numbers right now, but if they aren’t selling plenty of plug-ins and BEVs, they will need to buy tons of credits.

Honda gassers sell really well in California, so they are one of the makers most on the hook. They have been buying small amounts of credits to date from Tesla.

I think it’s prudent for Honda to diversify its efforts. GM has said it’s not doing a hydrogen car. It’s using its collaboration with Honda to see how Honda’s hydrogen car works our. I wonder if the falling price of gas is making the hydrogen guys reconsider?

I like the exterior actually though I’m not wild about the back end. The interior is just design fun which will never see production.

The Volt proves there’s absolutely Zero benefit of a Hydrogen car, especially with a cost of 2 Million for each gas station upgrade, and that hydrogen will be produced form Methane.

I wouldn’t say zero benefit.

In a future oil-free scenario (or at least a scenario in which oil extraction and production is limited to CO2-sustainable quantities), there’s certainly room for a fuel-cell PHEV for heavy-duty needs which will always be challenging for BEVs, such as transcontinental trucks, offroad vehicles or heavy equipment.

Those would need fewer H2 stations, and again – H2 quantities that can be produced sustainably.

synthetic hydro-carbon fuels are and will always be cheaper to manufacture, store and distribute than hydrogen. That is because efficiency lost in compression are much greater than efficiency losses in converting hydrogen to methane and synthetic Diesel fuel. E.g. Qatar Airways already uses synthetic kerosene in place of fossil kerosene. Mainly because synthetic fuels are cleaner and this way Qatar can utilize better their natural gas production. It easier to export their oil than natural gas. Therefore it makes sense for Qatar to make synthetic Jet fuel from natural gas.

Also for heavy duty trucks the robotic drivers will be the key enabler. That is because robotic driver does not mind if they need to have about 15 minute fast charging break after 45 minutes of driving.

Today EV battery technology allows about 100 to 150 km range for 60 ton truck. Therefore having a 15 minute quick charging break that charges battery to 50 % every 45 minutes enables indefined range for autonomous electric heavy duty truck.

Of course if we have human drivers it would be outrageous if truck drivers are stopping for 15 minute cicarette break after 45 minutes of driving. Therefore we need by definition robotic drivers.

Electric Car Guest Drive

The lack of infrastructure is making the hydrogen guys reconsider.

DOE estimates $500 billion to $1 trillion for a nationwide H2 infrastructure. The last H2 station installed a few months ago in Sacramento was $2.5 million. It can service 70 cars per day. The hydrogen is $13.59 per kg. Free to drivers, but not to the automakers who pay the bill.

Carlos Ghosn called it here:

That guy is looking smarter with every day that passes.

So DOE is saying something like 300k hydrogen fueling stations would be needed to roughly service 10% of the vehicular fleet, which would be hydrogen fueled? So with 168k gas stations servicing a fleet of roughly 234 million cars, you need almost twice as many H stations to service 10% of the vehicles now filling up with gas. Seems to be a definition of insanity.

I’ll have fish out that DOE report for details but $1 trillion was to replace gasoline.

The biggest advantage EVs have, as Ghosn points out (aside from physics) is the the distribution infrastructure is already In place. You just need a “safety adapter” (EVSE).

It’s just stunning how difficult and expensive hydrogen is to handle vs electricity.

I will stick with slowly filling up my EV in my garage while I sleep.

Are you sure about the H2 pricing? Toyota said it was $50 to fill up Mirai’s tank; same as gasoline at $4 a gallon.
Is your price for H2 from renewables?

My price for H2 is from Linde 😉

My understanding is that it is from methane, I haven’t personally verified its source, but will be researching this thoroughly and writing about it later this year.

I know that California requires about 30% of H2 vehicle fuel to come from renewables. I don’t know how they do the accounting yet.

I don’t see the point of saying that you will have a car in 3 years.

Saying it doesn’t commit them to anything, but with others getting in or strengthening their BEV act recently, they probably felt they couldn’t remain quiet. Toyota isn’t in the same space, since they actually had a BEV previously.

Three Years, is Three Years TOO LATE.

Well people just got all excited over a car GM said they would be selling in 2 years. Same for the Model 3.

I’m optimistic. I feel like they wouldn’t be making an announcement like this if they weren’t planning to make a step change in their commitment to plug in vehicles, otherwise they would simply point to their existing offerings and pretend as though they are already playing a significant role in the plug in market.
I’m taking this as the elimination of any remaining doubt about the transition to plug in vehicles. I’ve thought for 10 years that EVs are the obvious future, but the fact that neither Honda nor Toyota seemed to agree gave me a tiny bit of pause – these guys can’t be completely clueless can they? With Honda giving a hint that they might be joining the party in a significant way for this next round of PEVs, I now have 100% certainty that this transition will go absolutely mainstream (as opposed to 97% certainty!)

Regarding Honda “will offer several next-generation, advanced powertrain vehicles, including a new battery-electric model and plug-in hybrid model by 2018.”

Guess it is hard to ignore a market growing over 130% per year … particularly once sales pass a million. While BEV and PHEV sales were ~120,000 in US for 2014, by 2018 sales should be passing 300,000 per year with a total near a million.

Year over year growth was actually closer to 30% in 2014, not 130%.

I believe from hereon, it will decline or stay flat. The incentives (free carpool, gas savings) all gone now.
Good bye good times!

Honda capitulates? Already?

Interesting, isn’t it? I’ve been wondering for some time which of the two big Japanese holdouts (Honda, Toyota) would crack first. We still don’t know, as Honda announcing a car three years out still leaves time for Toyota to get something to market. (I’m assuming here that they’ve had at least the brains of your average scoop of cottage cheese and have therefore been developing an EV behind the scenes.)

I think the real news here is not what Honda announced — basically nothing — but that they felt it necessary to mention it even in passing. That’s a sure sign, IMO, that they’ve read the market trends and concluded that HFCVs are a loser, EVs will/have already won that battle, and it’s time to jump on board as soon as they finish milking the system for the absurdly high compliance credits they’ll get for HFCVs.

Yeah, while Toyota claims Hydrogen Vehicles will make it more money than the Prius did/does, he didn’t say it was coming all from gov’t subsidies which means the taxpayer has to finance their party.

Ev’s get a slight subsidy, but its not as much as “hydrogen highways” will entail.

If we were starting roadbuilding from scratch, then maybe H2 would be somewhat attractive, since there would be more applications in the chemical industry where intermediate processes could be bottled or piped instead of flared. So anytime you can avoid flaring in a process, and recover the fuel value, is a plus.

But we already have an extensive, efficient, gasoline, and natural gas distribution infrasructure, which the Chevy Volt and bi-fuel chevy impala exploit to great results (very little gas used for a lotta miles).

Its not as though we have huge amounts of money to spend for trifles anylonger.

How reliable are the $2million hydrogen stations anyway, and seeing as they’re dealing with 70 bar all the time what is the maintenance cost of these stations and who is going to pay for it? The taxpayer? Count me out.

Ev’s are the most practicle solution for alt fuel vehicles, with gasoline as a backup.

The styling of that HFCV concept doesn’t seem any more likely to catch on as its powertrain concept.

Well, at least Honda is working on an exit strategy.

Honda (and Toyota and Hyundai) might not actually be serious about selling “fool cell” vehicles in large numbers?

I’m shocked, SHOCKED I say!

Sarcasm aside, FCVs will never be made in more than “compliance car” numbers, and the auto makers know it.

In the mean time, Honda will dine at the ZEV/BEV credit buffet.

The BEV and PHEV will not be available in my state.

No EV for you!

I like the exterior looks of the FCV concept except the covers over the rear wheels. Now get rid of the fuel cell and make 2 versions; a 200 mile BEV and a 50 mile AER with a range extender.

Honda needs to figure out how to reduce costs too. Their Accord plug-in is ridiculously priced.