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Honda FCV Concept at the 2014 LA auto show

Published: 17 November 2014

The 2014 LA motor show is fast becoming a hydrogen love-in. Today the Honda FCV concept car was shown for the first time, an update to the brand’s long-held fuel-cell ambitions.

We’ve seen the FCX already, but the FCV (the eXperimental bit of the name has become plain Vehicle) is now inching towards production readiness. Honda says a showroom car resembling what you see here will go on sale in Japan by March 2016, with US and European imports soon after.

Sounds like Round 1 goes to Toyota, then, whose fuel-cell sedan will roll silently into selected showrooms from April 2015. But Honda has some clever tricks up its sleeve…

Honda FCV Concept: more details

This is the successor to the Honda FCX, which has been around since 2002. It went on extremely low-volume lease sale as early as 2005 and morphed into 2008’s FCX Clarity.

The FCV premieres the latest fuel-cell stack, which is a third smaller than the Clarity’s yet boasts a 100kW power rating and 3.1kW/L output density. Meaning? Honda says it’s 60% better performing than its predecessor.

There’s space for five adult passengers in there, according to Honda, and it promises there’ll be potential for a full range of bodystyles.

How do drivers refuel the FCV?

Well, there’s the rub. At the last count, there was a single publicly available hydrogen refuelling station in the UK, predictably in London. The infrastructure just ain’t there at present for widespread commercial sales of fuel-cell cars.

But when you do find an H2 pump, you can fill up in just three minutes, says Honda. Which rams home the point that hydrogen cars really could be just as convenient as petrol or diesel models once the refuelling network is in place.

The cruising range quoted for the FCV is 700km, or 430 miles.

Power your house from your Honda fuel-cell

What makes the FCV particularly interesting is the typically Honda-ish approach to using the power created on board. It is also showcasing the Honda Power Exporter Concept at LA, which captures electricity generated onboard and lets you divert it to your house or office.

Honda says the FCV can in this way act as a small mobile power plant to supply clean electricity for community events or in times of natural disaster.

Could be just the thing to keep Asimo going for years without recourse to the national grid.

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

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