Honda's hydrogen fuel-cell
based FCX prototype has been making the rounds on the auto show circuit for
quite some time now. Honda is looking to trade-in the bright lights and show
floor turntable for bumper-to-bumper traffic and left lane hogs with a production
version of the four-door sedan.
Honda won't say just how many of the vehicles they will make
available to John Q. Public, but there are only 20 current-generation
Honda fuel-cell prototypes traveling America’s roads. Most are being used by
government fleets, while just two are in the hands of actual consumers who
lease them for $500 USD per month.
"The consumer focus is where we need to put more
attention," stated Steve Ellis, a fuel-cell marketing manager for Honda.
"We started with fleets, added a few consumers, now we're going to swing
Honda's FCX prototype uses a 95kW (127HP) electric motor
which is powered by a 100kW Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell (PEFC), 171
liter hydrogen fuel tank and a bank of lithium-ion batteries. When working
together, the powertrain is able to power the FCX up to a top speed of 100MPH.
The FCX also has an estimated 68MPG and a range of 270 miles. Motor
Trend pegged 0-60 acceleration at 9.0 seconds -- roughly that of a
current-generation Honda Civic with a 140HP 1.8 liter internal combustion
In other Honda news, the Japanese company is also looking to
introduce another hybrid car in the sub-$25,000 price range. The vehicle will
feature "unique styling" in the same vein as Toyota's Prius. Honda
admits that sales of its Civic Hybrid have lagged behind those of the Toyota Prius mainly
due to its more pedestrian looks that don't set it apart enough from
garden-variety ICE Civics (save for the whacky
Honda sold just 31,253 Civic Hybrids during 2006. Toyota’s
Prius, on the other hand, saw 2006 sales of 106,971 units making it Toyota’s
third-best selling car behind the Camry (448,445 units) and Corolla (387,388