Hydrogen fuel cell vehicle news this year has been relatively quiet until recently, with the only big item in the earlier part of 2013 being Hyundai’s debut of a production ready offering for testing in fleets. As we move into the last two months, however, things are heating up a little with the recent announcement of a Toyota fuel cell concept for the Tokyo Motor Show and, most recently, Honda’s planned introduction of its latest concept at the upcoming Los Angeles Auto Show.
Honda said it will showcase in Los Angeles its FCEV Concept, describing it as a design study that shows a “potential styling direction” for the automaker’s planned fuel cell vehicle release in the United States and Japan sometime in 2015, followed later in Europe. The company, besides releasing a sketch of this concept, had no other details to share prior to the auto show.
Honda’s development in the fuel cell space is not something which just cropped up out of the blue. As the Japanese auto company noted, it was the first in 2002
to begin a retail initiative with the leasing of its fuel-cell electric vehicles to fleet customers. Honda also was the first automaker to put a fuel-cell electric vehicle in the hands of an individual retail consumer in 2005. Today, about two dozen customers are driving the FCX Clarity – enjoying the benefits of driving this advanced technology vehicle, while also contributing valuable experience, helping Honda to advance fuel-cell technology for the future.
Related to a creeping up of new fuel cell concepts is the development of supporting infrastructure to refill the production ready models that will likely be on roads in a few years. Recent initiatives in Germany and California, among others, highlight the fact officials are beginning to understand hydrogen stations must be in place by the time cars needing this fuel type hit showrooms.