Posts Tagged ‘Honda’

Green Cars - Fuel Cell Cars

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

Fuel cell cars have been in development for a long time.  This year, in the summer of 2008, Honda is starting to lease a small number of fuel cell cars, producing 200 of the FCX Clarity to lease in Japan and Southern California (see http://automobiles.honda.com/fcx-clarity/).  Does this mean the wait to produce fuel cell cars is over, and they are ready to deliver on the promise of green cars producing only water for exhaust?  One issue is still the price.  Honda is charging $600 a month for the least, but it is estimated that Honda is spending far more on these cars than they are being leased for, hundreds of thousands of dollars per car according to Honda’s president, Takeo Fukui (NY Times News Service, June 17 2008).  Fukui also says they are aiming to get this price down to under $100,000 per car in another ten years.  Still sounds fairly steep.  Another big issue is the infrastructure for hydrogen fueling.  One option is producing hydrogen at home from natural gas.  Another is the construction of fueling stations, a move supported by groups like the California Fuel Cell Partnership involving both industry and government (www.fuelcellpartnership.org).

I would love for fuel cell cars to be ready to go, but despite these early tests they are not there yet.  For them to make a real difference, they have be commercially competitive, and they aren’t still.

Electric vehicles seem to have something of a lead in the race to build green cars at the moment, but there are a great many committed groups still working on fuel cell cars.  Electric cars will make it first, but fuel cells are likely to provide a competitive medium to long-term green car solution.