The London TimesOnline reviews the Tokyo motor show that was held last week, with the announcement that Honda scooped them all by announcing it will be putting out the world’s first hydrogen fuel cell car into production next year – the FCX. The car will travel an estimated 270 miles at speeds of up to 100 mph and will produce only water vapor from its exhaust. The FCX’s cost is expected to be approx 50,000 GBP and will only be initially be available in America and Japan.
“As well as technical difficulties, there are practical hurdles, too. Hydrogen takes up more space than the amount of petrol required to travel a similar distance, meaning that fuel tanks for hydrogen have been bulky, while the lack of infrastructure means there are few places where drivers will be able to fill up with hydrogen fuel.
“When the car was invented, countries weren’t full of petrol stations,” said Takeo Fukui, president and chief executive at Honda, in response to questions about the lack of infrastructure. “When the demand is there it [the hydrogen economy] will happen.” Other car companies are also vying to harness to the power of hydrogen. BMW last year built 100 hydrogen-powered 7-series cars (although they were not for sale and use a combustion engine rather than a fuel cell) and Mazda revealed its Premacy RE hydrogen hybrid at the Tokyo show.”
The Times article also talks about the testing going on for the new model Prius, which will have a large battery pack to enable the car to run much greater distances on electricity alone than the current model. It’s also a plug-in.
Other interesting cars written about include
VW Space UP!, a minivan version of the UP! people’s car recently unveiled in Frankfurt,
The Volvo ReCharge – a plug-in hybrid with a 1.6 litre engine and four individual electric motors – one in each wheel. Volvo says that the ReCharge can run on its lithium polymer batteries alone for up to 62 miles and that the batteries can be recharged fully in just 3 hours.
Hondo Puyo – concept car that runs on hydrogen, like the FCX, except this one has no sharp edges and is covered in soft silicone so that it can absorb light collisions. It also uses a joystick instead of a steering wheel.
Nissan Pivo2 – another concept car that uses lithium-ion batteries and a drive-by-wire system that enables the cabin to spin around and weels that angle at 90 degrees, which means you can park sideways.
Mitsubishi i MiEV Sport – The MiEV Sport uses 3 electric motors to generate 117 hp. Each front wheel gets a motor and the third one drives the rear wheels. A plug-in lithium-ion battery allows a 124 mile range between charges.
You can read the full London Times article here.