The cost of driving is about to get much, much, cheaper. As electric vehicles, by Tesla, Nissan and GM, continue to flood the market, Japanese car giant Honda is going to enter the green vehicle market in a big way by 2020 thanks to mass produced hydrogen fuel cell cars.
The models will be based on the Japanese manufacturer’s FCV concept car, revealed at the Geneva motor show in March, which is described as a late-stage concept.
“It’s relatively close to the production car,” said Thomas Brachmann, head of powertrain development at Honda. “We may need to revise some body parts, but it’s very close.”
Brachmann wouldn’t comment exactly on how many FCVs the firm intended to produce but said it didn’t want to distribute just 250 to 1000 cars a year.
The project still has to figure out the infrastructure required to refuel the cars, but Honda believes the technology is the way of the future. “Norway, for example, was focusing on electric cars two years ago, but now they want something with a longer range,” said Brachmann.
The zero-emissions FCV, which produces only clean water as exhaust, has a range of about 300 miles and can be refueled in five minutes. Upon the 2020 launch date Brachmann estimates that it will be 10 to 15 years before the technology is widely accepted.
“This is likely unless we change the marketing strategy and also society, in which case it might be faster,” he said. “But we are prepared to have a wide powertrain mix over time until everyone appreciates and accepts fuel cell electric vehicles.”
His comments point to an automotive future that is filled with options for consumers: Gasoline, diesel, hybrid, electric and fuel cell will all be available in relatively refined forms over the next five years, making driving cheaper and more environmentally friendly than ever.