Takeo Fukui, President and CEO of Honda Motor Company, announced on day one of the 2006 North American International Auto Show that Honda will begin production of its next-generation FCX fuel cell vehicle within three years and will have a prototype version by fall. The hydrogen-powered FCX Concept made its worldwide debut at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2005, and illustrates Honda's progress in fuel cell development. The FCX Concept boasts the seamless integration of its unique oxygen and hydrogen fuel cell stack technology with greater power output in a modern full-sized sedan. The new version is remarkably lower and better proportioned than the previous FCX, which sat on a "skateboard" platform that was tall and boxy. Additionally, the smaller V Flow fuel cells have become more compact while storing more energy. Honda says a new absorption material inside the fuel stack has doubled the capacity by volume, yielding a range of 350 miles in the new model. Three electric motors, two at the rear and one up front, provide torque at all four wheels. As on other Honda products, the power bias remains at the front wheels, as the single forward motor produces 80 kw and the rear units yield 25 kw each. The Honda FCX Concept's low-slung design closely mimics the wind-cheating sheetmetal of the 2006 Honda Civic. In the interest of fuel economy, the wedge shape of the body decreases the drag coefficient, a property now possible because Honda relocated the smaller fuel cells below the floor. Styling cues include a short front end with a steeply raked windshield, a tapered cabin profile, and emphasized fender flares. Honda has included triangular quarter windows ahead of the steering wheel and front doors to increase visibility, just like in the new Civic. All around, large swaths of glass suggest that the high-efficiency concept is also designed for practical mobility. Up front, narrow headlights and a small grille create a band that spans the nose, again drawing inspiration from the new Civic.
Photos courtesy of Honda