Honda’s commitment to sustainable mobility: The clarity fuel cell

The Honda Clarity Fuel Cell represents true emission free motoring

It is clear that the automotive industry is slowly transitioning to new energy vehicles with many governments stipulating deadlines for the sale of internal combustion engines. While electric and hybrid vehicles are being positioned as the best next step, there are a variety of other new energy vehicle solutions that are gaining popularity. One such concept is fuel cell vehicles and Honda have been investing in research and development of this powertrain for some time now.

Find out more about Honda's planned fully electric vehicles here.

Fuel Cell Vehicles are clean cars that do not release CO2 or other harmful exhaust gases into the atmosphere, they emit only water. Fuel Cell Vehicles are fuelled by the hydrogen stored in their tanks. The hydrogen is not burned but is used to react inside the fuel cell with oxygen in the air, creating electricity, which powers the motor that provides the vehicle with propulsion.

Hydrogen is created through the electrolysis of water and by using renewable energy such as hydro, wind or solar power instead of fossil fuel and therefore hydrogen can be created without releasing any CO2, allowing for a completely clean ecosystem.

On a full tank of hydrogen FCVs can travel roughly the same distance as conventionally powered gasoline vehicles and brands like Honda believe that they could be the ultimate clean cars of the future.

In the late 1980s, Honda believed that in future cars would be powered by hydrogen energy and begun basic research on fuel cells as well as the research and development of FCVs. In 2008, Honda announced the FCX Clarity and in 2016 launched the further refined Clarity Fuel Cell.

A cell is where the chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen generates electricity, and a fuel stack is made by stacking cells to provide the required amount of electricity.

With the Clarity Fuel Cell, improved cell performance allows for a 30 percent reduction in the number of cells and a 20 percent size reduction of each cell, these improvements result in a 33 percent smaller fuel stack.

The Clarity Fuel Cell Sports a compact fuel cell powertrain, comprising the fuel stack, hydrogen/air supply system, air compressor, fuel cell voltage converter unit (FCVCU) and drive motor, equivalent to a V6 engine, completely housed under the bonnet.

As a result of this compact packaging, it was possible to design the Clarity Fuel Cell as a five-seater sedan which results in a roomy cabin, an exhilarating drive, coupled to the quiet driving experience only a Fuel Cell vehicle can achieve, further enhancing the Clarity Fuel Cell’s appeal as a high-grade sedan.

The FCVCU increases the maximum drive voltage from 330V to 500V, raising the maximum drive motor output by 30% to 130kW and maximum torque by 17% to 300Nm for a more exhilarating drive. 

By improving fuel cell powertrain efficiency and increasing the hydrogen fuel storage capacity, the Clarity Fuel Cell has a cruising range of approximately 750km on a full tank of hydrogen. The tank can be filled in approximately three minutes.

Safety is also of utmost importance. The Clarity Fuel Cell’s fuel stack is four times more impact resistant than previous models, as the cells are supported by a fastening bar and even if the vehicle is involved in a collision, the fuel cell stack is designed to prevent hydrogen leakage.

In addition to representing a completely clean way of powering vehicles, by connecting the Clarity Fuel Cell to the Power Exporter 9000, the FCV’s direct current electricity generated can be converted to alternating current for household appliance use, which further expands its appeal.

Find out more about how to drive more fuel efficiently here.

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