- Honda’s next hydrogen-powered vehicle will be a plug-in version of the CR-V, arriving in 2024.
- Honda developed the new fuel cell system with GM and said it will cost just a third as much as the fuel cell stack in the Clarity, while also being more durable.
- Honda will build 2,000 units of its next-generation fuel cell system a year by 2025, but some will likely be used by industry partners.
Honda’s next hydrogen-powered vehicle will be a plug-in version of the new CR-V. Last year, the automaker began talking about this follow-up to the company’s previous H2 vehicle, the Clarity Fuel Cell, which was discontinued in 2021, and now the picture surrounding the powertrain is becoming a little clearer.
Honda announced in 2022 that its next-generation fuel cell vehicle, based on the CR-V, would go on sale in North America and Japan in 2024. The hydrogen-powered SUV will use a fuel cell system developed with GM and will have two H2 tanks in the rear of the vehicle, an intelligent power unit under the seats and a fuel cell system and drive unit mounted as one under the front. bonnet. The battery in the plug-in part of the equation won’t power the CR-V for too many miles and is apparently small enough that it hasn’t earned space on Honda’s vague diagram of the upcoming vehicle. Honda said the hydrogen CR-V will also have a power output function.
Who will get this CR-V?
Honda is not saying whether the new H2 CR-V will be sold outside California, the only place where the Clarity Fuel Cell can be leased, but said production of the fuel cell CR-V will begin in 2024 at the Performance Manufacturing Center in Ohio, including vehicles that will be exported to Japan.
Honda remains tight-lipped about further details about the vehicle itself, but this week announced more information about the CR-V’s next-generation fuel system. Ryan Harty, senior manager and division head of the energy solutions business at American Honda Motor Company, said the new system is more than twice as durable and has “significantly faster” start-up times at freezing temperatures (below -22 degrees F) . Also, Harty said, compared to the fuel cell system found in the now-defunct Clarity, the next-generation system costs two-thirds less to build. That massive drop is due to changes in materials, such as the use of “innovative materials” for electrodes and manufacturing specifications, as well as a plan to simply build more units.
Honda never disclosed how many Clarity Fuel Cell vehicles it sold, although a spokesman said Car and Driver that there were 2116 total leases of that model in the US Still, since Honda has only sold about 41,000 of all versions of Clarity vehicles during the five years it’s been available (most of which is the plug-in hybrid version), the company will just have to increase production a little to make up for the economies of scale. to improve of scale.
Honda said it plans to build about 2,000 units of its next-generation fuel cell system a year by 2025 at the fuel cell system manufacturing center that Honda and GM operate in Michigan. By 2030, Honda plans to build 60,000 units per year of either this unit or a further improved fuel cell system. Honda hasn’t announced any development or manufacturing partners for the next-generation system (in other words, GM isn’t necessarily involved), but plans to make it even more powerful and cost-effective.
“Compared to the next generation system, we have set additional targets to halve the cost and double the durability,” said Harty. “We aim to make the future generation system comparable to diesel engines in terms of ease of use and total cost of ownership.”
Looking to spread this technology around
Honda said it sees fuel cell systems as important players in a carbon-neutral society and doesn’t just want to put them in cars. The automaker is looking for partners to test them in commercial vehicles, stationary power stations and construction machinery. Harty said Honda is actively seeking partners in North America to work on fuel cell commercial trucks. Honda is currently testing hydrogen trucks in China with Dongfeng Motors and will start in Japan with Isuzu before April 2024. In the mid-2020s, Honda will begin selling its fuel cell system to partners in the transportation and industrial sectors.
“Basically, us [message today] is really about announcing that the fuel cell powertrain is technically ready to step in and help not only Honda, but other companies achieve their carbon neutrality and sustainability goals,” Harty said. “To do this together, we have to the business develops. ecosystem and the hydrogen infrastructure around it so that those customers can achieve their goals.”