Sunday 25 September 2016

Honda unveils first fuel cell five-seat car

Published 10/03/2016 | 04:56

Honda president and chief executive Takahiro Hachigo shows off the Clarity fuel cell at the car maker's headquarters in Tokyo (AP)
Honda president and chief executive Takahiro Hachigo shows off the Clarity fuel cell at the car maker's headquarters in Tokyo (AP)

Japanese car maker Honda has rolled out a new fuel cell vehicle, the first of its kind to be a five-seater.

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But the zero-emissions Clarity may not sell in big numbers, given its price tag of 7.66 million yen (£47,500).

Honda said its Japan sales target for the first year was just 200 vehicles, all of them through leasing to government organisations such as the Environment Ministry and businesses.

Tokyo-based Honda says the Clarity will go on sale in California later this year for about £42,500, and will lease for under £355 a month.

In Japan, the monthly leasing cost will vary according to the contract but will probably be about £625. Government green subsidies are expected to help defray the cost.

All the world's major car makers are working on fuel cells, which are being used to a limited extent in Japan, mainly through leasing.

They are super-clean, running on the energy created when hydrogen stored as fuel combines with oxygen in the air and so emits only water.

Honda, which also makes the Civic and the Asimo robot, is a pioneer in fuel cell technology.

Its fuel cell became the first certified by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board in 2002.

The new model has a cruise range of 470 miles on a full tank, which is at the top for a saloon car, according to Honda.

Honda has been able to make the new fuel cell more powerful, and reduce its size, allowing for five passengers, instead of the previous four.

Last month, Honda's president said two-thirds of the company's sales will be zero-emissions, including fuel cells and electric vehicles, hybrids and plug-ins by 2030.

Japanese rival Toyota started selling its first fuel cells last year and Volkswagen, Hyundai, General Motors and Mazda also have fuel cells in their line-up.

Press Association

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