Tuesday, November 27, 2007

a glimpse of the future

Have you seen those commercials for Honda's new fuel cell car? If you are like me, you stared at disbelief at the TV when the voice-over guy said it's only emmissions is water. Water?! How is that possible? So last night I did a little google search and checked out Honda's press releases. Earlier this month, Honda unveiled the FCX Clarity at the Los Angeles Auto Show. It will be for sale only in the LA area starting summer 2008. Of course, if things go well, it will be available more places.

So here's the deal: Instead of using gasoline, the car runs on converted hydrogen. "Hydrogen combines with atmospheric oxygen in the fuel cell stack, where chemical energy from the reaction is converted into electric power used to propel the vehicle. Additional energy captured through regenerative braking and deceleration is stored in the lithium ion battery pack, and used to supplement power from the fuel cell, when needed. The vehicle's only emission is water." How freaking, amazing cool is that?

The next obvious question is where does one get the hydrogen? Well they of course have an answer to that too. Honda has come up with the Home Energy Station which uses a home's existing natural gas supply for production of hydrogen, while also providing heat and electricity to an average-size home! "Compared to the average U.S. consumer's home with grid-supplied electricity and a gasoline-powered car, a home using Home Energy Station IV to help produce heat and electricity and also to refuel an FCX Clarity can reduce CO2 emissions by an estimated 30 percent and energy costs by an estimated 50 percent."

I think that is pretty darn fantastic, don't you? Wouldn't it be so nice never to go to a gas station again? And the efficiency is astounding. It can heat your house! I'm not a car geek at all, but this got me really excited for the future. I think this is a fabulous step in the right direction.


  1. That explanation of energy conversion with these new cars totally reminded me of a physical science question about hybrid cars. Pretty cool stuff! I wonder how much they'll cost... I'm sure it will be a pretty penny.

  2. I wonder what are you suppose to do when you don't go home every night to refuel your house, and what about road trips, and will the car actually have acceleration power these are issue that I am sure they have addressed.
    I don't think it is very smart to only sell these cars in one location; b/c to get a true poll on how everything works with all ranges of lifestyle you can't just pick one geography especially not LA.

    But it is a cool car!!

  3. Now they just have to come up with a Tahoe version. Even better, Minivan!!

  4. That is fantastic - now they just need to fix all the rest of the gas-guzzlers and we'll be set! Good post - see ya.

  5. Vicki, you bring up some good points. I don't know what the answer to the road trip issue is. It may be awhile before that is possible. I think the reason why they are starting in LA is that they need to have the cars close to where they can be repaired cause not just anyone can fix these things. Then eventually any Honda dealer will have the capability of repairing them. Another thing I thought of is do you have to be a homeowner to have one of these cars? I'm sure they have answers to these questions, but they just aren't there yet.

  6. You should watch the documentary "What killed the electric car." It's very interesting.