A fleet of Honda's next-generation FCEVs (fuel cell electric vehicle) will be coming to the UK.
Although the semi-experimental fuel cell car is likely only to arrive in small numbers, Honda's European fuel cell project engineer Thomas Brachmann says the company will introduce the production version of the latest FCEV concept "to Germany and the UK in early 2016." That will follow the car’s introduction to Japan and the US in 2015.
Up to 2000 demonstrator units of the FCEV will be built worldwide, with those cars being leased to customers. That approach was also taken with Honda's hydrogen-powered FCX Clarity.
Although prices for the FCEV have not been revealed, the technical aims of the new programme "are to improve the consistency of stack quality in volume production and reduce the quantity of precious metals it uses," says Brachmann. In terms of making fuel cell cars cost-competitive "we’re making good progress, but have not reached our cost target. If we can succeed in (making it) in high volume by 2020, we’ll be well on the way."
Equally challenging is the cost of installing fuel cell stations, which can cost up to £400,000. "But it’s still much cheaper than installing electric networks across a country," says Brachmann. Honda already has a fuel cell station at its Swindon plant, and anticipates there being 65 stations in the UK by 2015 as part of the H2 Mobility initiative. There are currently 12 active hydrogen filling stations in the UK.
The FCEV concept was revealed at the LA motor show in November last year. Honda says the car represents the world's first fuel-cell powertrain to be packaged within a conventional engine space, which it says allows for considerable space and weight savings. The FCEV has a claimed range of more than 300 miles.