Honda Highlights New Hydrogen Fuel Cell Car

OCT 5 2015 BY MARK KANE 50

Honda FCV Concept

Honda FCV Concept

Honda announced presentation of its new hydrogen fuel cell car at the 44th Tokyo Motor Show 2015 .

It doesn’t have a name yet, but it  sure does look better than Toyota’s Mirai.

Also, on the interior, the Honda FCV is much classier than Mirai.

As this is a hydrogen-powered vehicle, we are afraid the price tag will remain extraordinary high, like in case of Hyundai’s and Toyota’s propositions.

“All-new FCV (tentative name): Honda original technologies made this vehicle the world’s first*1 production model of a FCV sedan with the entire fuel-cell powertrain consolidated under the hood of a sedan-type vehicle. This powertrain layout enabled a full cabin package that seats five adults comfortably. Moreover, the all-new FCV features a cruising range of more than 700 km*2 and exhilarating driving made possible by the high-output motors. Furthermore, when combined with an external power feeding inverter, this FCV can function as a “mobile power plant” that generates and provides electricity to the community in the case of an emergency.”

All-new Honda FCV (tentative name)

All-new Honda FCV (tentative name)

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50 Comments on "Honda Highlights New Hydrogen Fuel Cell Car"

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i agree that the honda FCEV looks better than the Toyota Mirai, but the Mirai is pretty much based on what appears to be a fairly standard Toyota design language. you see elements of the design language in other Toyota cars as well, for example, the new Prius.

It’s really sad that both the pioneers of hybrid electric vehicles are pushing fool cell cars instead of EVs. Honda has now discontinued both is original Insight hybrid and its Fit EV.

When my model of the world does not make sense, I question my assumptions.

Too bad they did not do so in regards to their FCV, of course it is just a concept.
They just missed the boat on
evs, as so many have, and are trying to offer this inferior alternative, as just as good or better than an ev.

the ICE is the foundation for a wide variety of transportation vehicles. you can never tell what will happen with future developments, but the exploration into FCEV technology by many auto makers (with the exception of Tesla) is an indication that, based on currently foreseeable technology trends, the BEV will not be a viable replacement for the ICE.

of course, that doesn’t mean that the FCEV is anywhere ready for prime time at present. and while it may seem hard to imagine the FCEV as ever being ready for prime time, it is just as hard to imagine the BEV ever being ready for prime time as an ICE replacement. even if you improved energy density by an order of magnitude and reduced cost by 2 orders of magnitude, you still have to deal with the issue of recharge time and how it could be reduced safely.

Non sequitur.


Car companies having their dalliance with FCVs simply mean that they think in the current market and with the current regulatory and incentives situation, this is the best way for them to make profits in the short run. It most certainly does not mean they’ve reached any sweeping conclusions about the long term future of BEVs.

If anything, I think most car companies are looking at BEVs as something they can leap into at the last minute because they’re so much simpler, at least conceptually, than an equivalent size ICE model. So in the short run, when they can earn absurdly high emissions credits for FCVs, they’re pushing those.

Then why waste research money on making FCVs at all? If you’re going to “jump into EVs at the last minute”, then don’t bother screwing around with this crap for… I dunno, brownie points from the CARB or something. How many brownie points do you get for spending 3 billion dollars on this, anyway? If Honda spent all their HFCV money on building better batteries, they can sell those patents to people who make batteries for cell phones and laptops as well as putting them in cars. Even if they *never put one in a car*.

Instead, they’re pinning their hopes and dreams on something that will never be cheap enough to compete with gasoline on any front. At least with today’s current batch of EVs, there’s a faint hope that the reduced operating costs will make up for the initially high sticker price. Completely the opposite of HFCVs.

In fact, they should just give up entirely and produce cars that run on CNG, for all the good it would do the environment. The running costs will at least be cheaper.

“no comment” said:

“…based on currently foreseeable technology trends, the BEV will not be a viable replacement for the ICE.

“…even if you improved energy density by an order of magnitude and reduced cost by 2 orders of magnitude, you still have to deal with the issue of recharge time and how it could be reduced safely.”

On the contrary:

2011: Nissan Leaf; recharge rate: ~75 miles (80%) in ~6.4 hours (source 1)

2013: Tesla Model S 85; Supercharger recharge rate: ~132 miles in ~30 minutes (source 2)

Looks to me like you’re ignoring a very clear, and very rapid, trend to much faster charging.

Tesla’s CTO said they want to get charge times down to the range of 5-10 minutes. The real question isn’t if this will happen, but how soon.

source 1:

source 2:

what is the voltage delivered to the head for an EVSE that can recharge an 85kWh battery in 5 minutes? the thing is, replacement of the ICE means more than just building Tesla Model S’, you have to build vehicles of a wide range of sizes, used for a wide range of purposes, used in a wide range of climate conditions and used in a wide range of terrain conditions. so 90kWh is completely inadequate for an ICE replacement platform. so you’ve got to be able to scale up the battery capacity without ending up with a battery that is an order of magnitude larger than a gas tank. thus, there is a need to scale up the energy density of batteries. the end price has got to be reasonable when compared to an ICE, so there is a need to scale down the price/kWh even faster. the battery solution may end up being something other than lithium ion. furthermore, the recharge time in a BEV has to be comparable to that of a refill in an ICE. take the Model X. notwithstanding Tesla’s claims of 250 miles of range, what kind of range do you think that you would… Read more »
“but if you’re not an EV enthusiast, you’re going to ask yourself: “why pay for this when i can drive an ICE and not have to worry about it?”” Good question! But I want to field this in a different way. What if you could buy a car that would, at special gas stations built just for you, allow you to pay for gas that costs just $1 a gallon? What kind of trouble would you put yourself through to get gas at that cost? How far would you drive to get to those gas stations? What if the size of the tank was only 2 gallons? Honestly, how much compromise and inconvenience would you put yourself through just to buy gas *that* cheap? Especially when everyone else was paying $4 a gallon *or more*? A whole lot of people would answer that question with “Actually, quite a lot”. I’ve *seen* people drive easily 100 miles round-trip just to get gas that’s 30%, maybe 40% cheaper. Sometimes they’d also get other goods that were cheaper on the other side of the border. You know, while they’re there getting gas. But getting it at $1 a gallon? That’s Black Friday, door-crasher… Read more »

Your whole premise is flawed because you’re focusing on a pure BEV future.

PHEVs provide all the flexibility you need for the few shortfalls of BEVs.

People line up for 10-20 minutes today at stations which sell gas at a discount of only 30c/gallon. Why wouldn’t they mind waiting that much for over 5x that discount? Especially when EVs save you refuelling time throughout the year?

Why do people keep saying BEV’s need to be able to recharge as quickly as a tank of fuel can be filled up? No they don’t. This is a fallacy. I think, if, as you say, we have battery densities ‘in the order of magnitude’ higher, we’d be talking cars that can travel in excess of 600 miles between charges. No offense, but I think a lot of people aren’t going to care if they spend half an hour charging every 600 miles. I think most people are going to damn well want a 30-minute break after driving for that long constantly. A lot of initial fear over range dissipates after owning an EV for a short while. You begin to understand that 99% of the time, you can charge at home. Day-to-day life is all easily covered within your range. When you go on longer journeys you start to understand that after driving for 2-3 hours straight you REALLY need to pull over at a service station and have a good meal, a coffee and a pee. By the time you get back to the car it’s finished charging and you’re ready to carry on. Had you taken the… Read more »

Plenty of people drive a BEV and use L1 charging only at home. Me for instance. So no, a home L2 is not a requirement. Also, how many people have access to home hydrogen charging?

“but the exploration into FCEV technology by many auto makers (with the exception of Tesla) is an indication that, based on currently foreseeable technology trends, the BEV will not be a viable replacement for the ICE.” No, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. BEV use cases are presently limited due to range and cost. That doesn’t mean that they can’t replace a second ICE vehicle, especially one used to commute. On top of that, PHEV with a decent range are also an excellent choice. “of course, that doesn’t mean that the FCEV is anywhere ready for prime time at present.” Correct. This has been discussed to death on this and many other sites. Extreme cost of fueling stations, 10,000 PSI tanks with limited lifetimes, building a new distribution network, no clean sources of Hydrogen, efficiency losses well to wheel, etc. “even if you improved energy density by an order of magnitude and reduced cost by 2 orders of magnitude, you still have to deal with the issue of recharge time and how it could be reduced safely.” Energy density isn’t as much a problem as cost. But you say an order of magnitude. OK, so lets say… Read more »

These are CARB products, nothing more then Ripping off the California Tax payer.

Solid State batteries are going to wipe out Hydrogen and ICE.
Clock – Ticking.

It looks good. Now put a plug on it and a decent battery… oh wait I’ll just buy a model 3 instead.. I mean that’s what we should compare this with right?

Who would want such a car? they will be passing them out to universities and government agencies to get their credits.

Once again government regulations bypass all common sense

“Once again government regulations bypass all common sense”

Yeah, like that 40 hour work week and crazy things like not allowing people to employ children under the age of 12.

*Please* keep that in mind the next time you want to throw the baby out with the bathwater because “all government regulations are bad”.

Apparently there is more demand for FCVs than I thought. The Toyota Mirai is sold out for the first year. FC auto manufacturers are advertising FCVs as “next generation” follow on to BEVs. A cleaver advertising trick to make consumers think BEVs are a stepping stone to FCVs. Many people will fall for this and think they are purchasing a vehicle superior to Tesla, Bolt etc.

If you can’t meet expectations, lower your expectations.

Toyota is building only 3000 of the FCEVs over the first 3 years.. I recall reading that they lose money (marginal costs) on each unit sold.

That’s fewer vehicles than Tesla sells each month, at somewhat higher cost and lower range.

Tesla is selling 11,000 EV’s per quarter, at twice the price.

Hydrogen is a Dead End in the marketplace.

No there isn’t, because China wised up from the hydro-sham, and has taken the world’s largest market off the books for this embezzlement. Honda has tacitly responded, lowering their PEM fuel cell expectations.

The near future holds big advances in reducing the cost of hydrogen production and decentralized hydrogen production infrastructue. It’s only a matter of time before it will be compelling for commercial operations.

C&D pegged the unsubsidized cost of hydrogen at $.25/mile. At the U.S. average price for electricity, PHEV/BEV is closer to $.03/mile.

Big advances are needed. Just like with CNG, however, there will too many tempted toll-makers putting themselves in the distribution path.

Taser54 said:

“The near future holds big advances in reducing the cost of hydrogen production…”

Proponents of the “hydrogen economy” keep touting reduction in front-end costs; the cost for generating hydrogen. And they totally ignore the fact that most of the cost, and most of the energy waste, is in the back-end: compression, transportation, storage, re-compression, and dispensing.

The already very poor EROI (Energy Return On Investment) percentage gets even worse if you assume cryogenic cooling at any point.

Even if generating H2 could magically be made 99.99% efficient, it still wouldn’t be cost-competitive with either gasoline or battery power, because of the multiple back-end losses.

“If only the world weren’t governed by the unfair and cruel laws of thermodynamics and economics, the hydrogen economy could rule the world.” –-HVACman, comment at, July 8, 2015

It’s only a matter of time before you wise up to logistics. Any hydrogen pathway can be improved by dropping the hydrogen.

Exactly. Ouch.

Launching H2 infrastructure will require 99% government funding. A BEV infrastructure will require zero government funding because it is already deployed and functional, it needs improvements but it is functional today.

Honda can bet on the hydrogen future if they want. But if they do, they can also bet on losing my business as a once-loyal Honda fan.

Previous Honda vehicles:
’89 Prelude
’97 Civic
’04 S2000
’10 Insight

For the first time since I have gotten my license, there is no Honda sitting in my driveway, as of August ’15.

Brian, you know you gotta tell us what car is now parked in your driveway, right?

Fair enough.

My driveway now contains a 2012 Nissan Leaf and a 2015 Ford CMax Energi (wife’s).

There is only one Honda left in my family (including my retired parents). Collectively we have owned:
’84 Accord LX Sedan
’86 Accord LXi Hatchback
’91 Accord LX Sedan
’94 Accord EX Sedan
’97 Acura CL 3.0
’05 Accord EX-L Sedan
’05 Accord LX Sedan

Only the EX-L remains and my mom is asking what she should look at to replace it. I don’t find any of Honda’s products compelling as a vehicle to keep for 10 years.

Wow, you guys really like(d) the Accord!

Honda used to be the only company making cars that I was interested in – reliable, fun, efficient, affordable. But now they don’t have a single car in their lineup that I’d want to own.

Try the new Honda-HRV. Slightly smaller than CRV, but mre spacious than the sedans.

Well if this platform doesn’t pan out with hydrogen, with the electric drivetrain, it could always be converted over to a full BEV fairly easily.

Not likely. Placing a hydrogen tank or two in a car is very different from placing a battery pack. The tanks tend to be cylindrical while battery cells are small enough that they can be made into almost any shape. The ideal seems to be a flat pack underneath the car. Ideally, Honda would redesign the platform for an EV, lest they end up with a repeat of the Fit EV (no magic seats) or the Accord PHEV (half a trunk, cannot fold rear seat).

You are correct about the motor and associated electronics, though.

That’s a very nice looking car. Are you SURE it’s from Honda? (jk) Does look nice.

Why all the negatives on fuel cells? I have no interest in them but I’d reserve my negatively for gas guzzling ICEs.

Simple. Because St. Eloony has called those “fool cells”. So, all his monkey warriors are jumping up and down repeating the same slogan.

No because we passed 4th grade math.

Exactly, phil- best summary of hydrogen I’ve heard is ‘you send me a dollar, I send you a quarter.’

Before physics we teach arithmetics.

Hmm… a vehicle that has an electric motor and a battery but no plug, it makes no sense.

How hard would it be to put one there?

Then the vehicle would make much more sense. Electricity from home during a normal day and a zero (local) emission range extender for those last 10-30% of miles during long trips.

Because that would break masquerade. Once an alternate inlet is available, the sham falls, and hydrogen infrastructure doesn’t get built.

Yes fuel cells are a Sham.

Why would be bad – refuelling at home
driving off sunshine electricity collected of the houses roof ….
Oh wait I’m doing that already with my Volt.

Fuel Cell Hydrogen = inconvenient and expensive consumer rip off while buggering up the planet making thinks too complex inefficient and wasteful in transporting energy.

“Once an alternate inlet is available, the sham falls, and hydrogen infrastructure doesn’t get built.” Funny! Who says they need Hydrogen fueling inside cities? Maybe max of 4 in large spawling cities, but mostly on Freeways in Service Centers, if they are PHFCV’s (Plugin Hybrid Fuel Cell Vehicles) with 40 to 60 miles battery electric range, with 6 to 10 kW AC charging and DC QC available!

They could then move into the space of the Volt: “Electric All the time, Convenient Home Charging for cpmmuting, and Fast ‘Clean’ refueling for trips”. Almost like a Tesla if they build out 300 to 400 intercity H2 Fuel Stations accross the USA.

However…I dpn’t see these OEM’s with such a Vision or Commitment to go this route on their own, nor with others of like mind! They want you and I through Governments to build their H2 Stations!

It doesn’t look that different than the original FCX Clarity those have been in the wild for many many years

I like it, it’ll cost probably 4-5 times more to run than an BEV but the cost of running a BEV is ridiculously low.

It’s a shame that this has been so politicized, I remember the same arguments being put forward 5-10 years ago when we were just getting going with BEV and PHEV’s.

The infrastructure costs are too high. Batteries are dangerous.
Charging a BEV off the grid is as dirty or worse than a petrol car.
BEV’s cost too much.
BEV’s will crash the power grid.
The battery will die after 3 years.
There isn’t enough lithium in the world.
The energy required to make the car means that a Humvee is greener.
The EROI is negative for a BEV, the only reason we can make them is because of fossil fuels.
No one wants this technology.

Now 5 years on similar (sometimes identical) arguments are being put forward for FCEV’s.

I am not a hydrogen fanboi by any stretch of the imagination, but I stumbled across this article a couple weeks ago:

It raised questions for which I cannot find answers. The company website is a virtual void of information.

I’m putting this out here in hopes some of you might know more about it. While it doesn’t change the inefficiencies of making hydrogen, it would certainly avoid the problems associated with storing and transporting it, but is it even more inefficient to make hydrogen into these pellets? Is this total BS?

Toyerta must save a bundle on car design, loaning their ahem ‘design’ staff to Honda since the bug-eyed bumblebee intro.

People here said that they Liked this car’s looks and Didn’t like the Mirai.. sigh.

I’m late to the party on this one, but in case someone sees, what do you Like about the Clone that you Don’t like about the original?

gotta be the fake intakes (cue, “needs more intake” jokes)