July 25, 2002

Honda FCX fuel cell car first to receive U.S. government certification

Honda FCX
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Torrance, California – The Honda FCX has become the first fuel cell vehicle in the world to receive government certification, paving the way for the commercial use of fuel cell vehicles, American Honda Motor Company announced today.

Both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) have certified the hydrogen-powered Honda FCX as meeting all applicable standards. The FCX has been certified by CARB as a Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) and by the EPA as a Tier-2 Bin 1, National Low Emission Vehicle (NLEV), the lowest national emission rating. The FCX will also meet applicable U.S. safety and occupant protection standards.

“This is an important milestone for the automobile industry that holds the promise of cleaner air for all Americans,” said Jeff Holmstead, assistant administrator of the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “While there still remains much work ahead to make fuel cell vehicles a mainstream transportation option, this certification is an important first step.”

Honda will start a lease program for a limited number of FCXs in the U.S and Japan by the end of this year. During the first two-to-three-year period, Honda will lease about 30 fuel cell vehicles in California and the Tokyo metropolitan area, two locations with access to a hydrogen fuel supply infrastructure. The company currently has no plans, however, for mass-market sales of fuel cell vehicles.

“Certification allows Honda to place fuel cell vehicles in commercial operation” said Tom Elliott, American Honda executive vice president. “We’ll have an opportunity to evaluate fuel cell vehicles in real world applications and to study the development of a refuelling infrastructure to support fuel cell vehicles. However, it is important to remember that significant cost, technology and infrastructure issues remain prior to the mass marketing of fuel cell vehicles.”

This latest version of Honda fuel cell vehicle achieves 15 percent more maximum drive motor torque than previous models and also provides improvements in mid-to-high range power output characteristics and acceleration. It also has an increased driving range of 350 km (220 miles), about 40 km (25 miles) more than the previous model.

Honda started fuel cell research in 1989 and has been road testing vehicles in the United States and Japan since 1999. Honda is a member of the California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP) based in Sacramento, California, and has been working closely with that organization.

“The California certification of Honda’s FCX is a tremendous accomplishment,” said Alan C. Lloyd, chairman of CARB. “The California Fuel Cell Partnership – involving energy companies, auto manufacturers, component makers and government agencies – will continue to help coordinate key industry-wide issues, including infrastructure development.”

Honda has a long history of automotive environmental leadership dating back to 1975 when the Honda CVCC was the first vehicle to meet the amended Clean Air Act standard. Since then, Honda was the first company to market a gasoline vehicle (Civic) meeting the low emission vehicle (LEV) standard and the first to sell a gasoline car meeting first California’s Ultra Low Emission Vehicle standard and subsequently the “Super” ULEV standard (Accord).

Honda was the first to sell a gasoline-electric “hybrid” car in the U.S. – the Insight – and earlier this year added the Civic Hybrid, first mass market hybrid model. The EPA has recognized the Civic GX natural gas vehicle, which went on sale in 1998, as having the cleanest internal combustion engine ever tested.

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