Honda FCX Prototype

Honda Civic Hybrid
Honda promises limited consumer trials of its FCX in Japan and the United States along with a new sub $25k hybrid

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 the pendulum."

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 engine (ICE).

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 wheels).

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 units).

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