The 2005 Honda FCX, Honda’s second-generation fuel cell vehicle (FCV) and the first to be powered by a Honda designed and manufactured fuel cell stack, has been certified by both the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) for commercial use. The 2005 model FCX achieves a nearly 20 percent improvement in its EPA fuel economy rating and a 33 percent gain in peak power (107 hp vs. 80 hp) compared to the 2004 FCX.
With an EPA city/highway rating of 62/51 mpkg (57mpkg combined) and a EPA-rated driving range of 190 miles, the hydrogen powered FCX delivers nearly a 20 percent improvement in fuel efficiency and range versus the 2004 model with an EPA rating of 51/46mpkg (48mpkg combined) and a range of 160 miles. In terms of energy efficiency, one mile per kilogram (mpkg) of hydrogen is almost equivalent to one mile per gallon (mpg) of gasoline. The hydrogen-powered Honda FCX has been certified by CARB as a Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) and by the EPA as a Tier-2 Bin 1, the lowest possible national emission rating.
“This is an important step for larger scale commercial application of our fuel cell vehicle technology and the Honda FC stack,” said Gunnar Lindstrom, senior manager of American Honda Alterative Fuel Vehicles.
The breakthrough Honda FC Stack also provides for increased range and performance while significantly reducing the complexity of the fuel cell system. It also allows the 2005 FCX to start and operate in below-freezing temperatures, which until now has been a major hurdle to the marketability of fuel cell vehicle technology.
“The 2005 Honda FCX achieves a significant milestone in the progress toward a hydrogen economy,” said Terry Tamminen, Agency Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency, “This second generation fuel cell from Honda makes further simultaneous progress in key areas including performance, range, efficiency and cold weather operability while achieving zero emissions.”
This newly certified Honda fuel cell vehicle and Honda FC Stack feature a number of technological achievements that put the 2005 Honda FCX at the leading edge of the drive for a truly mass marketable fuel cell vehicle. Most significantly, the Honda FC stack is capable of starting in temperatures as low as -20°C (-4°F) while also demonstrating improved high temperature capability. Utilizing a new fuel cell structure made of stamped metal separators and new aromatic membrane material, the Honda FC stack features 50 percent fewer components and provides for easier manufacturability compared to an earlier prototype Honda stack design.
Starting with the delivery of five vehicles to the City of Los Angeles in 2002, Honda has led the automotive industry in the real world application of fuel cell vehicle technology. In 2004, Honda expanded its customer lease program to include the City of San Francisco and California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), each with two vehicles for daily operation. In addition to California applications, the company will place the 2005 FCX with a customer in the northeastern United States later this year, further expanding its customer base and demonstrating the cold-weather capabilities of the Honda FC stack.