Concept of the Day: Honda FCEV

November 12, 2013 § Leave a comment

honda fcevNot a lot to go on yet from this sketch, but it does prefigure a production car: a fuel cell EV to launch in the US and Japan in 2015, with European sales to follow. Honda will unveil the FCEV Concept at the Los Angeles Auto Show later this month. It’s the successor to the FCX Clarity prototypes which have been extensively trialled since Honda first put fuel cell cars on the road in 2002. Honda’s also updated its Micro Commuter EV concept (a tiny two-seater) as part of its Smart Mobility City exhibit, a smart home/domestic (hydrogen) energy showcase in collaboration with Toshiba and Sekisui House. More on that here and here – it’s all about “a future lifestyle with deeper links among houses, electric appliances and automobiles”, apparently. There’s also going to be a demo of the Micro Commuter in autonomous mode, plus a further micro-EV called MC-β and the Uni-Cub personal mobility device.

  • Talking of smart homes and domestic energy: a report from the Pecan Street research in Austin, Texas, found that EV drivers – incentivised by their electricity tariffs – did not overload the grid at times of peak demand. Telematics and apps such as Chevy’s OnStar were key enablers for scheduling charging times. More here.
  • A bit of a Pope, Catholic, moment here, but research from Carnegie Mellon has concluded that limited availability of residential parking and charging facilities is inhibiting EV take-up. Lowdown, academic citations at Green Car Congress.
  • Kia has confirmed production of the Soul EV for export markets, following a successful three-year trial of the Ray EV in Korea; sales in the UK are under consideration. This’ll do 200km on a single charge, and features an 81kW motor giving 285Nm of torque, 0-62mph in less than 12 seconds, and 145kph; recharging takes up to five hours from a standard 230/240V domestic set-up but only 25min from a 100kW fast-charger. Kia’s promising a virtual engine sound at speeds below 20kph and when reversing, incidentally, and the Soul EV’s interior will incorporate a large range of recycled-material plastics, foam, fabric and upholstery felt. Sales will start in the second half of 2014. Hyundai-Kia is also planning mass production of fuel cell vehicles by 2020, reports EV Fleet World.
  • Electric motorbike news. Now they’re making extended-range e-bikes: lowdown on the Tacita T-Race (a sort of trials bike, I think) here. And Oregon-based electric motorbike-maker Brammo has a sports car prototype 85% complete, reports Autoblog Green. And new e-bikes from Yamaha to be shown in Tokyo: press release posted here.
  • The University of Michigan is building a 30-acre test facility for driverless automated vehicles, with a view to getting a fleet on the streets of Ann Arbor in 2021. More here.
  • With ref to all the above on hydrogen and fuel cells, energy-efficient and eco-friendly extraction/production/synthesis of hydrogen is the next Big Question. This may not be the Holy Grail, but KTH Stockholm is running a project on bio-waste and has a prototype using hydrogen from olive oil-making by-products. Story here.
  • And one for e-cyclists: a ‘smart wheel’ operating on a dynamo-style principle (via @sust-mobility).
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