The announcements were made during a ceremony for the start of FCX Clarity production at the world's first dedicated fuel cell vehicle manufacturing facility in Japan.
Film producer Ron Yerxa will take delivery of the first FCX Clarity in July. The remaining four early adopters for Honda's next-generation fuel cell vehicle are author/actress Jamie Lee Curtis and her filmmaker husband Christopher Guest; business owner and car enthusiast Jim Salomon; actress Laura Harris; and Jon Spallino, already the world's first retail fuel cell vehicle customer, who has been leasing the current generation FCX since 2005. Yerxa, Harris and Spallino attended the event in Japan.
To provide its customers with service support and as a critical step in advancing fuel cell vehicles in the real world, Honda announced the establishment of the first network of dealers to facilitate the sales and service of fuel cell vehicles. The three Southern California Honda dealers are Power Honda Costa Mesa (Costa Mesa), Honda of Santa Monica (Santa Monica) and Scott Robinson Honda (Torrance).
"This is an important day in the history of fuel cell vehicle technology and a monumental step closer to the day when fuel cell cars will be part of the mainstream," said John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda. "Our customers and dealers share in our vision for a cleaner and more sustainable transportation future, and share in our challenge to embrace a new generation of automotive technology that we think will carry the auto industry and its customers into the future."
The five customers announced were among the very first people to share with Honda their passion for the environment and interest in the FCX Clarity, dating back to its debut as a concept model at the 2005 Tokyo Motor Show. The initial criteria for fuel cell vehicle ownership, including proximity to hydrogen refueling stations, driving patterns and vehicle needs, all played a part in Honda's customer selection process.
"Auto companies can't explore the potential for fuel cell technology as the ultimate solution to our world's energy and environmental challenges by ourselves. Our customers are true pioneers and leaders in the effort to bring fuel cell technology to the marketplace," said Mendel.
Honda previously announced plans to deliver about 200 FCX Clarity hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicles in the US and Japan to customers in the first three years of production, with leases beginning in July. The lease program marks the world's first large-scale retail initiative for fuel cell vehicle technology.
Reinforcing its commitment to further advance Honda fuel cell technology, American Honda announced that three Southern California dealerships will comprise the world's first fuel cell automobile dealership network. Power Honda Costa Mesa, Honda of Santa Monica and Scott Robinson Honda are each located in close proximity to hydrogen refueling stations and will be well-positioned to support Honda's growing base of FCX Clarity customers.
American Honda is working with its dealer partners to implement processes for fuel cell vehicle lease, delivery and service support for the duration of their leases. Establishing a dedicated sales network and service infrastructure provides customers with the best balance of convenience and the highest quality of service. When the FCX Clarity requires periodic maintenance, customers will simply schedule a visit with their local FCX Clarity dealer.
American Honda will perform all required work at its specialized fuel cell service facility, in the Los Angeles area. Upon completion of the work, the dealer will return the vehicle to the customer.
The FCX Clarity is a next-generation, hydrogen powered fuel cell-powered vehicle. Propelled by an electric motor that runs on electricity generated in the fuel cell, the vehicle's only emission is water, and its fuel efficiency is three times that of a modern gasoline-powered automobile. Based on the entirely-new Honda V Flow fuel cell platform, and powered by a highly compact, efficient and powerful new Honda V Flow fuel cell stack, the FCX Clarity marks the significant progress Honda continues to make in advancing the real-world performance and appeal of the fuel cell car.
Advances over Honda's previous generation FCX include:
an advanced new four passenger sedan design
a greater than 30 percent increase in driving range up to 280 miles
a 25 percent increase in combined fuel economy to 72 miles/kg-H2
(74 mpg GGE
a 50 percent improvement in fuel stack power output density by volume
a 40 percent smaller and 50 percent lighter new lithium ion battery pack
Honda is responsible for the development of the world's first fuel cell car (Honda FCX) to be certified for regular commercial use by the U.S. EPA and California Air Resources Board; the first deployment of a fuel cell car with a fleet customer; and the first individual retail customer for a fuel cell vehicle.
The cars cost several hundred thousand dollars each to produce, and should drop below $100,000 in less than a decade as production volumes increase. In the meantime, Honda will be subsidizing its customers, who will lease the cars for $600 a month.