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Honda Unveils New Breed of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Car

Honda Unveils New Breed of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Car

December 13, 2007 —

A commercial fully hydrogen car is hitting the pollution-fogged highways of southern California in 2008. At the Los Angeles Auto Show Honda just unveiled its FCX Clarity, an “advanced fuel cell” car that gets about 68 mpg, accelerates cheetah-like, is as silent as a church, emits only water out the tailpipe, looks cool outside and in, and handles as well as a sports car. If you live in southern California you can lease one for $600 a month for three years.

The FCX Clarity is a much welcomed and applauded breakthrough in fuel cell vehicle engineering. Fuel cells make electric energy by chemically stripping electrons from hydrogen molecules, routing the electrons as working electricity through a circuit, then combining the electron-free hydrogen molecule with oxygen (created in the stripping process) producing an emission of water. Honda’s new fuel cell stack is far more efficient and efficacious, overcoming some earlier technological hurdles. The result is greater driving range and power, and a quieter experience overall. Energy is also captured through the break system. Honda designed the car from more environmentally friendly materials. In overall contributions to carbon dioxide emissions (measured from the CO2 released in making fuel) the FCX Clarity uses 50% less than gas engine cars.

The FCX Clarity is being rolled out in southern California in summer 2008 because that region has hydrogen fuel stations available. One of the biggest issues for fuel cell cars and other fuel cell engines is the hydrogen fuel structure. Where does the hydrogen come from and how is it distributed? Some critics say it would take a hundred years to set up such a structure. But a U.S. Congressional report states it would take $40 billion to set it up—about four months worth of funds spent on the Iraq War.

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