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Honda FCX Clarity  (Source: Honda)

  (Source: Honda)

  (Source: Honda)
Leases begin in summer 2008 at $600 per month

The gasoline-electric hybrid news has come in at a furious pace at DailyTech over the past few weeks. Honda announced its intention to bring a small, sporty hybrid to market; Fisker announced its gorgeous hybrid sports sedan and GM yesterday showed off new hybrid full-size pickups and full-size SUVs.

Honda has a new fuel efficient vehicle of its own to tout and the word "hybrid" is nowhere to be found. The company finally pulled the wraps off the production version of its FCX fuel cell prototype -- now called the FCX Clarity.

Exterior design-wise, the FCX Clarity closely mimics the earlier prototype, but now features government-spec bumpers front and back and smaller wheels. Inside, the FCX Clarity uses a gauge cluster and heads-up display similar in fashion to the current Honda Civic. Otherwise, the interior looks rather normal if you can get past the overabundance of silver-painted plastic.

When it comes to the powertrain, the FCX Clarity uses a 100 kW V Flow fuel cell stack which is 65 percent smaller than the one used on the first generation FCX. Other powertrain components include a 171-liter, 5,000-psi hydrogen fuel tank, a lithium-ion battery pack and a 95 kW (127 HP) electric motor.

According to Honda, the FCX Clarity is good for an equivalent of 68 MPG and has a range of 270 miles. Also, since the FCX Clarity is a fuel cell-powered vehicle, there are no CO2 emissions -- the vehicle's only emission is water.

"The FCX Clarity is a shining symbol of the progress we've made with fuel cell vehicles and of our belief in the promise of this technology," said American Honda president and CEO Tetsuo Iwamura. "Step by step, with continuous effort, commitment and focus, we are working to overcome obstacles to the mass-market potential of zero-emissions hydrogen fuel cell automobiles."

The FCX Clarity will see limited service in the Southern California area beginning in summer 2008. Customers will sign up for a three-year lease at price of roughly $600 per month. Honda also notes that the FCX Clarity qualifies for a $12,000 IRS tax credit.

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By masher2 on 11/15/2007 11:40:41 AM , Rating: 4
> "Since the natural gas...doesn't get burned [it] doesn't produce CO2."

Err, no. Where do you think all that carbon in the natural gas goes? Natural gas is methane (CH4). It reacts with the steam (H20) used in the process to release H2 and CO2.

By walk2k on 11/15/2007 1:32:06 PM , Rating: 2

CO2 emissions for a household using the Home Energy Station are 30% lower than those for an average household using a gasoline-engine car and commercial electricity.

The Home Energy Station also provides heat (replacing your natural-gas furnace) and electricity in the case of a blackout (or in the case you can generate your own electricity from natural gas cheaper than purchasing it from the grid, I suppose).

By masher2 on 11/15/2007 2:05:30 PM , Rating: 1
> "CO2 emissions for a household using the Home Energy Station are 30% lower "

Thanks. I tried to calculate it myself, but apparently the station isn't quite as efficient as I assumed, as my figure was substantially higher.

In any case,the point is the same. CO2 is still being generated, albeit at a lower rate. Hopefully there will soon be better means of hydrogen production than steam reformation.

By killerroach on 11/15/2007 1:34:18 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly... however, for comparable amounts of power, natural gas is a relatively clean fuel when compared to gasoline. Not as clean of a solution as biomass processed through AFEX, but still quite the improvement.

By walk2k on 11/15/2007 1:40:05 PM , Rating: 2
The energy station is really only a short term solution.

Once refuelling stations become more common you won't need it, necessarily (though it sounds neat, for homeowners, not so much for apartment dwellers).

Hydrogen can be generated from multiple sources (like, water) using electricity from any source (such as solar, wind, etc...)

By Calin on 11/16/2007 4:49:18 AM , Rating: 1
With an efficiency lower than steam reformation.
And as electricity costs will follow the overall energy costs (gas, coal, oil), electric generation will be less efficient than steam reformation (assuming you are a use for the excess heat)

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