Honda started leasing the FCX Clarity hydrogen fuel-cell EV in 2008 exclusively to people from Southern California, and one of the first to get one was Jon Spallino, now 48. He told the WallStreetJournal that with a 230 mile (370 km) driving range, it satisfies most of his long-distance driving needs, though he does concede that traveling from his home in Redondo Beach up to San Francisco is not a feasible thing to consider…
That’s because there are no hydrogen pumps along the way, which would enable Jon to simply refuel the FCX like he would a normal car. Even so, when he does fill it up with hydrogen, he doesn't get charged for it, as Honda has not figured out a payment scheme for it yet and is including the fuel cost in the monthly lease of $600 per month, plus tax.
It seems that with the supporting lifestyle, running a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle, even via an underdeveloped refueling station network is still a feasible thing to consider, especially if frequent long commutes aren’t your thing.
Even so, a Tesla Model S would take you further, as you’d be able to top it up from the decent number of Supercharger stations that are operational – it’s a regular EV that makes more sense and even beats the FCX in terms of outright range in the case of the bigger battery packs.
Below, Fifth Gear's VBH goes for a spin in an FCX.
By Andrei Nedelea