Honda FCX Driver Details the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Experience

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

  • gslippy

    With only 10 H2 filling stations in the US, fuel cells are going nowhere. The infrastructure is already in place for EVs, which get 80-120 MPGe.

    Also, since the Clarity’s fuel costs $8/gallon and it gets the equivalent of 60 mpg, cost-wise a gasoline-powered car getting 30 mpg is cheaper to run.

    Fuels cells are a fool’s errand.

  • Fuel cells just seem like a non starter to me. The most efficient way to make hydrogen is with oil, which kinda defeats the purpose. Electrolysis isn’t exactly efficient. It seems to me that battery or super capacitor technology is getting better with each generation. At the moment electrics are still a niche solution but that “niche” is getting bigger all the time and I forsee a day when electrics are the first choice for car buyers.

    Infrastructure for electrics is much simpler than hydrogen. You don’t have to worry about your fuel boiling off either. I’m looking forward to the day of 100% torque on demand. However, I will still very much miss the roar of the V8 engine.

  • Espada

    Like everyone else bullying them that this is pointless,it’s not. Electric cars get their charging from a grid, while they get theirs from a pump.This seems fine by me. I don’t do it for MPG, they’re trying some others refuse to do because of costs. I’d risk it to show that electric cars aren’t the only alternative to petrol. I’m mean, many people have developed lots of alternatives for fuel, but people thought of it as dumb. But it’s not, it’s being creative to put you want as a fuel.What would be interesting is if they developed an engine that runs on grass juice, but an engine that can also absorb the co2 that is in the atmosphere, and turn it back into oxygen. A hybrid engine would be interesting to see made.