Is the tide turning? Are car manufacturers ready to ditch their petrol-guzzling, ozone-depleting monsters in favour of planet-friendly four-wheelers? We doubt it, but it’s good to see Honda has decided to do its bit and develop its own green machine – the FCX Clarity.
Impressive and economical
It uses fuel-cell technology, running on hydrogen gas instead of petrol, and the only emissions are water, which won’t pollute the environment. It also has an electric motor powered by a lithium-ion battery.
The vital statistics might not get your juices flowing ¬–134bhp and a top speed of 100mph – but just one tank of hydrogen will give you a 270 mile range, which is pretty impressive, not to mention economical.
The sizeable list of tech carries on into the Honda’s interior. Surfaces like the seat coverings use Honda’s Bio-Fabric, a special material made from plants (if you really want specifics, it’s made by fermenting corn).
Each seat features individual air-conditioning. Air is drawn into the seat itself before it’s warmed/cooled and churned out of specially positioned vents. Honda says it’s quicker and more efficient process than standard air-con.
A lovely shade of blue
In the dashboard you’ll find a three-dimensional display that, among other things, highlights hydrogen consumption and battery levels. As hydrogen consumption changes, the icon in the centre changes colour and size. If you’re thrashing it, it’ll go larger and turn amber, ease off and go a lovely shade of blue. Gear changes are via the small, electronic shifter next to the steering wheel.
As you’d expect from a car that has a hydrogen tank and battery on board, there are also safety checks in place to make sure all is well in the event of a collision or leak. The FCX can automatically close the tanks valves and isolate the high-voltage innards.
Unfortunately, the FCX isn’t available in UK – not least because our garages aren’t equipped with compressed hydrogen gas pumps. But we’re sure there’d be plenty of takers given half a chance.