Anyone still having nightmares about the design of the Honda Insight – the company’s first foray into an environmentally conscious vehicle – can breathe a sigh of relief. Honda’s new FCEV concept, unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show, is an innovative vehicle both inside and out.
For car lovers, the star of the show for the FCEV is in the technology. The FCEV figures to be the world’s first vehicle containing a fuel cell powertrain that is entirely packaged in the engine room. The result? All the benefits of fuel cell technology, without any of the practical detriments, such as decreased cabin space and storage space. Beyond that, however, the fuel cell technology has so vastly improved at Honda that the FCEV has a power density of 3kW/L, which is a whopping 60 percent increase from their current fuel cell line, the FCX Clarity. In addition, the total power sits at 100 kW.
For the practical driver, however, the star is the driving range. Honda says the FCEV will have a range of 300 miles, and that it will only take three minutes of charging at 70 MPa to be recharged. With fuel cell vehicles becoming more popular, the hope is that there will be more public hydrogen stations available by the time the FCEV is in production. In short, between the improved efficiency of space, and the improved driving range, the FCEV offers a vehicle where drivers can contribute to environmentally friendly transportation without having to make big sacrifices.
And yet, despite all that, the star for the casual observer will be the exterior. The design conveys all the innovation that resides in the vehicle; it looks like a spaceship. And yet, in an age where many space-inspired concept vehicles have more edges and right angles than we can count, the FCEV strikes a fitting balance between futuristic and smooth. It’s head turning in a modern way, yet it’s also oddly beautiful.
But most importantly, it’s a huge step forward for electric vehicles.
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