April 8, 2004
Honda leases two more fuel cell vehicles to city of San Francisco
New York, New York – Honda announced the delivery of two hydrogen-powered FCX vehicles to the city of San Francisco under lease agreement as part of its ongoing customer lease program. San Francisco joins Los Angeles as the first two cities in American to embrace Honda fuel cell technology. The city of Los Angeles recently celebrated its one-year anniversary as a customer for Honda fuel cell technology with five vehicles on the road in regular everyday use. Los Angeles took delivery of its first FCX in December 2002. The addition of San Francisco as a Honda FCX customer brings to twelve the number of Honda fuel cell cars on the road in the United States and Japan.
The 2005 FCX testing program will begin this month in San Francisco followed by the placement of a vehicle in New York State in the fall. The New York test program will play a critical role in proving the cold-weather performance capabilities of the Honda FCX and the breakthrough Honda FC stack, which has the ability to start in temperatures as low as -20 degrees C (-4 degrees F), until recently a major hurdle in the development of a truly mass-marketable fuel cell vehicle.
Honda’s experimental Home Energy Station (HES) will supply hydrogen fuel for the California road tests. HES generates hydrogen from natural gas for use in fuel cell vehicles while supplying electricity and heat for the home.
By testing the HES in conjunction with the FCX, Honda is taking another step forward in its development of both vehicle and refueling technology, in preparation for the advent of a hydrogen-based energy system. The Honda FC Stack-equipped FCX earned approval on September 24, 2003 from Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, and has recently undergone sub-zero start-up and road testing in Hokkaido, Japan.
The new Honda FC stack reduces the number of components by almost 50 percent (compared to earlier Honda prototype units) while more than doubling the output density, resulting in world-leading performance (up 33 percent versus 2004 FCX). Use of newly developed aromatic electrolyte membranes greatly improves durability and allows for power generation at temperatures ranging from -20 degrees C (-4 degrees F) to +95 degrees C (+203 degrees F), a milestone achievement for stacks that employ conventional fluorine electrolyte membranes. Driving range and fuel economy have also been increased by more than 10 percent compared with the FCX currently in fleet use.
The Honda FCX is the world’s first commercial fuel cell vehicle and the only fuel cell vehicle to be certified by both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The FCX has a range of up to 180 miles and seating for four people, making it practical for a wide range of real-world applications.