Fuel Cells have not been in the media of late despite Al Gore's groupies' weeping for our future.
The concept is elegant. Typically, a stacked array of membranes form a sort of battery that produces electricity by combining Hydrogen and Oxygen, which are stored in 5000 pound per square inch high-pressure tanks. If a fuel cell-powered car had an exhaust pipe, guess what would come out of it:
Honda stacks theirs horizontally and has shrunk it to the size of a large briefcase. It resides under and behind the center console.
The problem? While Hydrogen is the most plentiful element on earth it isn't easy to grab from the air. Currently in the US we get our Hydrogen from Natural Gas but we have only about 3% of the world's supply. Russia has 27%, Iran 16%, and Qatar 15%. Sound familiar?
How do you "gas" it up? Honda envisions a home-based hydrogen converter fueled by your natural gas line and an access point in your garage. Once topped off, Honda reports a range of 270 miles and an equivalent 68 combined city/highway MPG.
Over twenty years in the making, the Honda FCX-Clarity will launch a year earlier than expected.
How does it drive? Very - eerily quiet according to reports and reviews. Think big, comfortable, enclosed golf cart. Torque: instant. Top speed: 100 MPH. Specs: Electric motor rated 127 horsepower, 188 pounds-feet of torque.
When can you get one? Once Honda has worked some bugs out of the handling and supension, both of which Honda has a unique and proven talent for, the car is to be released for limited consumer duty in 2008; mostly consumers with access to the requisite Hydrogen stations.
The styling? Judge for yourself. I say its as good looking as the Prius is not. The Prius was designed to be a conspicuous badge of honor among Global Warming groupies. It is black eye on the face of our interstate system. The FCX, a sort of Mercedes CLS rear end with an Accord Coupe front clip is a car I would be proud to drive with a Fred Thompson sticker on the back.