Honda Fuel Cell Vehicle

12/27/2000 6:23:28 AM

Honda's FCX-V3 doesn't have the roar of a gasoline engine -- or the exhaust emissions. Instead it purrs with the soft whir of a fan and the only thing coming out of the tailpipe is water vapor.

The Honda FCX-V3 fuel cell vehicle, which is currently participating in the California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaCFP), is the latest in a long line of models the company has developed to reduce the impact vehicles have on the environment through low emissions, high efficiency, and the use of alternative fuels. Honda's FCX-V3 is the third in a line of fuel cell vehicles following the V1 and V2 introductions last year.

The FCX-V3 incorporates many of the technological developments Honda has pioneered over the years and uses a pure hydrogen fuel cell system as well as a compact electric drive motor.

The FCX-V3 will participate in this program with other automotive manufacturers to demonstrate fuel cell technology. The program is part of the California Fuel Cell Partnership.

FCX-V3 is Honda's third generation fuel cell model and is quieter, more powerful and lighter than previous models. It stores the hydrogen in a high-pressure tank similar to the one developed for the Honda Civic GX natural gas vehicle. The FCX-V3 features seating for four people, a 10-second start-up and quiet operation for enhanced viability towards a commercial product.

Here are some of the development accomplishments for the FCX-V3:

PACKAGING: the new FCX-V3 seats four people thanks to a compact power plant. This was achieved by using a more compact high voltage system which allows for forward placement of the PCU (Power Control Unit) which was previously stored in the rear of the vehicle. The new compact electrical energy system was made possible by the use of an ultra-capacitor. This compactness enables it to be stored under the floor along with the fuel cell system. In addition, the use of a compact 100-liter tank for hydrogen storage assists in packaging.

USABILITY: the new FCX-V3 has an extremely fast start-up and short refueling time, both of which rival today's gasoline driven engines. Start up time has been reduced from 10 minutes to 10 seconds through changing the startup sequence from a series method to a parallel method. Refueling time was shortened by switching from a metal hydride tank to a compressed hydrogen tank. In addition, fuel capacity was increased by 150 percent and the tank weight was reduced by 25 percent.

DRIVABILITY: the new FCX-V3 has excellent acceleration. It employs a new ultra-capacitor assist method that does not require a high voltage controller, so it has superior overall efficiency. The ultra-capacitor not only regenerates energy but also is capable of assisting with greater power response as compared to batteries.

While realizing the ultimate environmental performance of zero emissions, zero CO2 and the opportunity for the use of renewable fuels, Honda's FCX-V3 approaches the packaging and ease-of-use of gasoline powered vehicles.