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Old 07 Aug 2007, 08:05 pm
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Default Honda to Begin Producing Next Generation FCX Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle

Production Car Will Closely Resemble the FCX Concept Vehicle making its North American Debut at the North American International Auto Show

Detroit - Jan 07 —

Signaling a rapid advancement in its fuel
cell vehicle technology, Honda today announced that
it will begin production in Japan of its next generation FCX hydrogen powered
fuel cell vehicle (FCV) in three to four years. The FCX Concept vehicle, unveiled
just four months ago and now on display at the North American International
Auto Show, boasts a fuel cell system that delivers more power in less space,
in a unique, low-floor fuel cell platform. The premium fuel cell sedan offers
the ultimate in clean-running performance, and represents Honda's vision
of future mobility in which vehicles are less dependent on fossil fuels and
produce no significant emissions.

Honda's FCX Concept defines a new stage in the evolution of fuel cell
vehicle technology. The FCX Concept is designed with a low center of gravity
and a full-sized cabin, offering the kind of driving pleasure and roomy interior
previously unimaginable in a fuel cell vehicle. The FCX Concept is designed
with a short front end to make the most of its unique low-floor platform, creating
a comfortably large cabin. A tapered cabin profile and accentuated fender flare
create an attractively dynamic look. The FCX Concept is an FCX that delivers
style and excitement.

Using an innovative approach, the new, high-efficiency, compact V Flow fuel
cell platform makes possible the lowest-floor platform in an FCV ever. Oxygen
and hydrogen flow from the top to the bottom of the fuel cell stack (vertical
gas flow) and the fuel cells are arranged vertically in the center tunnel (vertebral
layout) for new, high-efficiency fuel cell packaging (volume efficiency).

Compact enough to fit neatly into the center tunnel but robust enough to put
out 100kW of power, Honda's V Flow fuel cell stack offers space efficiency
and high-energy output. The key to fuel cell performance is water management;
Honda's new system takes full advantage of gravity to efficiently discharge
water formed during electricity generation. This improves performance in sub-zero
temperatures, further solving the problem of cold-weather startup that has been
a key obstacle to the commercialization of FCV's. Now, with the V Flow
fuel cell stack Honda has achieved ultra-low-temperature start-up performance
on par with that of a gasoline engine. The FCX Concept drive train features
three energy-efficient motors- one 80kW in the front and a 25kW space-efficient
motor in each rear wheel, leaving ample room for a spacious cabin.

One barrier to FCV commercialization has been the need for high-capacity yet
lightweight and compact hydrogen storage. Honda has now developed a new approach
to expanding storage capacity, a newly developed hydrogen absorption material
in the tank doubles capacity to 5 kg of hydrogen at 5000 PSI, extending cruising
range to 350 miles, equivalent to that of a gasoline-engine car.

Approaching the vehicle, the driver is recognized by vehicle sensors and intelligent
cameras unlocking the doors. The driving unit also automatically sets the steering
wheel, accelerator pedal, and instrument panel to the optimal position for the
driver. The instrument panel tilts up and down 45 degrees in response to vehicle
speed to give either a sense of security or a relaxed feel. A system installed
in the instrument panel senses the driver's line of sight shifting toward menu
icons, and operates switches accordingly, allowing the driver hands-free operation
of audio, AC and other systems.

As part of its effort to ensure the viability of a hydrogen-based society,
Honda is developing the Home Energy Station (HES), a comprehensive system designed
to meet residential energy needs by supplying electricity and heat in addition
to hydrogen fuel for vehicles. Generating hydrogen from natural gas supplied
for residential use, the HES system also offers consumers the convenience of
refueling hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles at home. The system is equipped
with fuel cells that generate and supply electricity to the home, and is configured
to recover the heat produced during power generation for domestic water heating.
In addition to reducing carbon dioxide emissions by some 40 percent, the HES
system is expected to lower the total running cost of household electricity,
gas and vehicle fuel by 50 percent.

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