Itâ€™s been a week full of alternative fuel news. Porsche have announced that they will be making a petrol-electric hybrid option available with their Cayenne and Panamera models in 2009. BMW have their Hydrogen 7 cars on loan in Europe and the US and Saab, Volvo and Lotus are giving Bioethanol a try.
You could be forgiven for thinking that we had all of the relevant alternative fuel bases covered, short of whacking a mast on the roof and hoisting a sailâ€¦but you would be wrong.
Honda first unveiled their FCX hydrogen-powered fuel cell concept car at the October 2005 Tokyo motor show and it is now set to go into limited production in 2008 a year earlier than originally anticipated.
The Honda FCX unlike the BMW Hydrogen 7 cars is driven by electric motors and creates electricity to drive them by combining hydrogen and oxygen. The result much like the BMW Hydrogen 7 is forward motion and a water vapour emission.
Honda says the 2008 FCX will achieve under 5-litres per 100km combined city and highway driving and it is capable of reaching over 160km/h with a range of around 430km.
The Honda FCX has a Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell (PEFC) which is capable of outputting up to 100kw. The energy produced is stored in lithium ion batteries that in turn provide power to the Type - AC synchronous motor which produces up to 95 kW and 256Nm.
The FCX "is not just some far out, pie-in-the-sky exercise in what may or may not come to fruition some day in the distant future," said Steve Ellis, manager of fuel cell vehicle marketing for American Honda Motor Co. Inc. "We feel fuel cell electric vehicles are the best and ultimate solution to the twin environmental and societal challenges of global climate change and energy sustainability."
So where do you fill up? Well Honda have been thinking laterally with regards to refueling and have created a third generation of their â€˜Honda Energy Stationâ€™, a natural gas powered home-based refueling station that produces hydrogen via a series of chemical reactions.
We have no idea what the 2008 Honda FCX will cost but â€˜not-cheapâ€™ is an educated guess. Donâ€™t expect to see it in Australia either, we suspect that the US and Europe will experience this technology well before it becomes available to Australians. Makes for an interesting vision of the future though...