Lease a Hydrogen Powered Honda This Summer!

By Steve Levenstein
May 22, 2008

Honda is determined to take the lead in hydrogen-fueled vehicles by leasing a fleet of 200 FCX Clarity models as early as this July – a mere month after the production line begins cranking them out! It’s a risky move for Honda as the cost of each 2008 FCX Clarity is a whopping $120,000 to $140,000 per vehicle, according to K.G. Duleep, managing director of Energy & Environmental Analysis Inc. of Arlington, VA.

Don’t worry about sticker shock, however. Honda intends to lease the cars at a very reasonable $600 per month over a three-year term. How reasonable is that? Well, since the FCX Clarity was announced last November (2007), approximately 50,000 people have inquired about the car via the company’s website. That’s a deep pool of potential buyers!

Sticking with the water analogy, the new FCX Clarity emits exhaust so clean you can drink it – it’s water, after all, good old H2O produced by the oxidation of hydrogen inside the onboard fuel cell.

The engine, as it were, is assembled from layers of plastic, carbon fiber and platinum to form what Honda refers to as a “V Flow fuel cell stack”. Electricity is produced through the combination of hydrogen and oxygen in the presence of a catalyst, with water vapor exiting through the tail pipe.

The FCX Clarity bolsters its power reserves using a tried & tested regenerative braking system which stores recovered electricity in a lithium-ion battery pack. If you want to lease a new, 2008 FCX Clarity, you’ll not only have to reside in California but will have to live in the vicinity of Santa Monica, Irvine or Torrance (where Honda’s U.S. operations are based). This is a practical concern as owners will have convenient access to a new network of hydrogen fueling stations; part of what California’s popular Governor calls the “hydrogen highway”.

Perhaps due to the support generated by “the Governator”, California drivers will be slipping behind the wheels of new FCX Clarity’s ahead of their Japanese counterparts, who won’t have their turn until the end of the year. Congrats to the Gov – his efforts may just change people’s association of hydrogen from one Germanic name (Hindenburg) to another (Schwarzenegger)!

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