Honda to Expand Areas Where Fuel-Cell Vehicle Leased
Dec. 17TOKYO Honda Motor Co. said Friday that next year it will expand the areas where it leases its next-generation FCX vehicle equipped with a cold-resistant fuel-cell stack, in addition to its current limited leasing service in Japan and the United States.
The announcement follows its acquisition of certification from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport to use the Honda FC stack-equipped FCX vehicle on public roads.
The automaker has been leasing the fuel-cell vehicle in some areas of Japan and the United States since December 2002. Last year, the company started testing and trying to improve the vehicle's driving ability in cold weather because fuel-cell cars had difficulties running at low temperatures due to hydrogen fuel freezes.
Honda now plans to offer in wider areas a fuel-cell vehicle capable of starting in sub-freezing temperatures, including areas with cold winter climates.
As a result of improvement in hydrogen and oxygen delivery systems of the FC stack, the vehicle's torque energy efficiency, a measure of the extent to which energy is converted to torque, was raised to 55 percent, approximately twice that of a hybrid vehicle and three times that of a gasoline-engine vehicle, Honda said.
The driving range of the new FCX is 430 kilometers, some 20 percent higher than the 355 km range of the previous model, it said.
Honda said the expansion of areas for the leasing service is an important step toward its large-scale commercialization of fuel cell vehicles in the future.
Fuel-cell cars are virtually pollution-free because they run on electricity produced when hydrogen stored in a tank combines with the oxygen in the air leaving water as a byproduct.
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