The FCX was updated in 2005. This FCX uses front-wheel drive and is still a 2-door four-seat vehicle like its predecessor. It has a maximum output of 80 kilowatts (107 horsepower) and 282 Nm (201 foot-pounds) of torque and has an operating range of 190 miles. Later with software upgrades this was enhanced to 210 miles. The vehicle weights in at 1680 kg (3700 pounds) and has a maximum velocity of 150 km/h (93 mph) and a 0-100 km/h (0 – 60 mph) acceleration time of 11 seconds. Main hydrogen components of the vehicle include fuel cell, two hydrogen tanks behind the rear seat and ultracapacitors.
This model used first fuel cell developed in-house by Honda called the Honda FC Stack. The fuel cell was introduced in October 2003 and can operate at a low temperature of -20 C. The type of fuel cell used is a Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell. The fuel cell stack has a power of 86 kilowatts.
The hydrogen is stored into two separate containers behind the rear seat. They can accommodate a maximum of 4 kilograms (8.8 pounds) of hydrogen.
The FCX is a fully featured automobile and has features like traction control, cruise control, automatic climate control, CD player, power windows, power locks and power heated mirrors. The FCX seats four adults comfortably. The only thing new for 2006 model year is the Satellite Navigation System.
Honda originally only leased the FCX to certain corporate and government entities. On 29 June 2005 Honda leased an FCX to its first non-commercial customer; the Spallino family of Southern California.
According to a Honda spokesman, Andy Boyd, the expense of a FCX was estimated to be between $1,000,000 to $2,000,000 at the time (year 2005) owing to some experimental components like the fuel cell.
At the 2006 Detroit Auto Show, Honda announced that it would make a production version of the concept FCX it had shown at the 2005 Tokyo Motor Show. On 25 September 2006 this new version was unveiled. The updated 4-door sedan version looks much more sleek and futuristic, and has a high focus on comfort and interior space. It has a much more spacious interior with a great mixture of plastic, wood and leather. Production is expected to begin in 2008 in Japan and the U.S. The production version will closely resemble the concept, although it is unknown if some of the concept’s more radical features, such as a tilting instrument panel, will be included.
According to Honda, the new fuel-cell stack is 20% smaller, 30% lighter and has a higher output of 100kW (129hp). The new powerplant is 180kg lighter, 40% smaller in volume and has a high energy efficiency of 60%, compared with 20% for most internal combustion engines, 30% for most hybrid powerplants and 50% for the previous generation FCX.
The new powerplant utilizes three electric motors: one front-drive motor with an output of up to 80kW, this motor’s shaft is coaxial with the gearbox for a more compact front-end, and two smaller engines each with a maximum output of 25kW and drives one of the rear wheels. This layout makes the FCX technically an all-wheel-drive vehicle. The updated FCX has a maximum speed of 160km/h.
The new FCX utilizes several new interesting features. The V Flow new fuel cell stack can operate at temperatures as low as -30C. This is achieved by allowing the gas to flow vertically in the fuel cell stack. The tanks can store up to 5kg (171 litres) of hydrogen at a pressure of 350 atmospheres, thanks to the new hydrogen absorption materials used. This allows a longer range of up to 350 miles (570km).
To support the hydrogen fuel-cell technology, Honda also introduced the HES (Home Energy Station). This home solution can convert natural gas to electricity, heat and hydrogen to refuel fuel-cell vehicles. This allows consumers to refuel vehicles with hydrogen at home, important until hydrogen stations become widespread. Alternatively, the hydrogen can be used in the HES’s built-in hydrogen fuel cell, providing up to 5 kW of normal or backup electricity and/or hot water for the home. According to Honda, this solution is highly efficient and reduces running costs of electricity, gas and vehicle fuel by up to 50%.