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Dawn of the hydrogen era? Honda Clarity fuel-cell vehicle lands at Tokyo motor show

Published: 28 October 2015

► Honda unveils new production FCV
► It’s the Fuel Cell Vehicle world debut
► Clarity lands at Tokyo motor show

Meet the Honda Clarity, the production-spec Fuel Cell Vehicle (FCV) that made its world debut at the 44th Tokyo motor show. Following hot on the heels of the Toyota Mirai and Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell, it’s further proof that the Japanese and Korean car makers are inching towards making the hydrogen fuel-cell a commercial reality.

These are the first pictures of the Honda Clarity fuel-cell, named after the concept cars it's been developing for a few years now. Low-volume sales start in Japan in early 2016, with European sales due to follow later in the year.

Honda FCV: the specs

Toyota’s Mirai might’ve beaten the Honda to market - and Hyundai launched the £53,105 ix35 in May 2015 - but Honda claims the Clarity is ‘the world’s first production model of a fuel-cell powered saloon to house the entire fuel-cell powertrain in the space normally occupied by the engine and transmission.’ We’re splitting hairs here, surely?

Apparently not: Honda claims this layout in the 4.9m long saloon means the Clarity FCV can seat five adults in comfort and quotes a 700km (400-mile) range. The fuel-cell, which is only the size of a regular V6 petrol engine, can also act as a mobile power unit, its inverter supplying electricity to homes or offices in an emergency.

Inside the Honda Clarity's cabin

It stores hydrogen at high pressures of 70MPa, meaning that more H2 can be squeezed into the robust tanks; Honda claims a range of 435 miles under ideal conditions and it takes just three minutes to refuel. And performance from the electric motor should be decent, with a 175bhp developed at the wheel.

What else will Honda show at Tokyo?

The 44th Tokyo motor show runs from 28 October to 8 November 2015. The NSX supercar makes another appearance at the show as does the (British-built) Civic Type R hot hatch, alongside the Project 2&4 seen at Frankfurt, Wander Walker pedestrian pod and a range of racing Hondas from different series around the world.

Philip Crossman, managing director at Honda UK, said: ‘The Tokyo motor show is the Honda brand’s home turf and we can expect to see some fantastic products on the biggest stand in the show. Honda is unique in that we manufacture everything from a 25cc leaf blower to a $4.5m business jet and it is this depth and breadth of our offering that makes us stand out.’

By Tim Pollard

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