Honda FCX: dare to be “green”

It was only very recent that Honda Motor Co. has unveiled its next-generation hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. The automaker has also announced that it would start manufacturing a small number of vehicles next year for its Japan and US markets.

The new Honda FCX was made sleek and sportier than the current version that has a top speed of 100 mph. The FCX offer a longer range from 210 to 270 miles that is aside from its fuel cell power system that is 400 pounds lighter.

The FCX was the answer of Honda to the growing concern on global warming claimed to be caused by harmful emissions from vehicles. Hydrogen vehicles offer lower net carbon dioxide emissions aside from reducing pollution the hydrogen power can once and for all free US from its dependence on foreign oil. However there are problems with the implementation of hydrogen fuel cell and it’s in terms of cost and the absence of hydrogen fueling stations around the country.

At the moment Honda is trying to look at an experimental home energy station that makes use of natural gas. The main advantage of hydrogen as a source of fuel is that there are so many sources from which it can be derived juts like methane or natural gas, bio-mass and renewable sources like solar and wind, said Ben Knight, Honda’s Vice-President for research in the Americas.

Just to give customers the chance to experience the FCX, Honda has leased one unit to a family in California two years ago and last March another FCX was leased to a 17-year-old actress and environmental activist Q’orianka Kilcher. Honda has also allowed journalists to drive two of its FCX concept sedans in the parking lot of Washington’s RFK Stadium, probably for additional promotion of the FCX. The automaker has also invited government officials including the top White House environmental adviser James Connaughton.

The FCX’s fuel cell sounds more like a jet engine rather than a conventional gasoline engine especially when it is accelerating. The new FCX also has superior acceleration as compared to the current model that only has a tops speed of 100 mph. Honda has also assured that the production model will be similar to the concept car presented only that it would have upgraded bumpers and a revised interior.

Hydrogen vehicles are not exclusive for Honda; other automakers are also conducting research and spending billions on research. China is heavily investing in hydrogen and may become the first country to adapt hydrogen vehicles in large volumes.

General Motors Corp. has also expressed its willingness to take part in creating eco-friendly cars. As a matter of fact, GM has said that in September it would introduce the world’s largest fleet of hydrogen vehicles later this year. GM will also be putting 100 consumers in hydrogen-powered Chevrolet Equinox SUVs through its “Project Driveway” program in New York, Washington, DC, and California.

GM also plan of taking journalists on a 300-mile drive from its labs in Honeoye Falls, N. Y. to Tarrytown, N.Y., to update them on the hydrogen research that the automaker is conducting. GM is hoping to have a 1,000-vehicle fleet between 2010 and 2012.

Ford Motor is also working on it HYSeries Edge which is a plug-in electric hydrogen-powered vehicle with a range of 225 miles. It also has a fleet of hydrogen powered E-450 shuttle buses which is just one of its hydrogen vehicles.

DaimlerChrysler AG despite its financial problems has also bowed to share more than 100 hydrogen fuel cells inclusive of the already 25 assigned in California. BMW has more than 100 Hydrogen 7 vehicles on the road and plans to start leasing them this year.

The automakers would also want to make it clear that even though these cars are eco-friendly it doesn’t mean that they have to be boring. Just like the standard vehicles these green cars may also be customize using high quality aftermarket parts and accessories such as an AutoMeter which comes in different style and design to suit your preference and taste.

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