Japanese giants Honda and Toyota may have fallen behind Korean manufacturer Hyundai in launching their hydrogen-powered machines in the UK but both brands could make a big impact on the car market with their zero-emissions fuel cell models by the end of the decade.
Honda is making bold claims that its hydrogen machines will be available to a mass market audience by 2020. Hyundai may have stolen the limelight for offering the first hydrogen model to be available to the general public, but with its price of £53,105 – following £14,880 of European grants – it still stands at around double that of the electric Nissan Leaf.
What makes hydrogen fuel cell cars a more appealing prospect, however, is their ability to travel much further per fill than nearly all electric cars, with fill-up times that are a mere fraction of those needed to recharge an electric car. Honda’s latest FCV concept is capable of covering around 300 miles per tank of hydrogen, with refills likely to take less than five minutes.
We are prepared to have a wide powertrain mix over time until everyone appreciates and accepts fuel cell electric vehicles.
Appearing at this year’s Geneva Motor Show, the FCV concept is “relatively close to the production car” Honda’s powertrain development chief Thomas Brachmann told Chronicle Live.
“We may need to revise some body parts, but it’s very close.”
Brachmann is bullish regarding the chances of fuel cell vehicles against standard electric vehicles too: “Norway was focusing on electric cars two years ago, but now they want something with a longer range.
“We are prepared to have a wide powertrain mix over time until everyone appreciates and accepts fuel cell electric vehicles.”