New York 04/16/2003 -- When the New York International Auto Show opens this week, it will mark the first time that a government-certified hydrogen-powered fuel cell car, the 2003 Honda FCX, will be driven on the streets of New York City.
The hydrogen-powered Honda FCX is the first and only fuel cell vehicle to date certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) for every day commercial use. It is also the first hydrogen vehicle to comply with the U.S. government's criteria for Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) certification. Honda plans to lease about 30 fuel cell cars in California and Japan during the next two to three years.
The FCX uses hydrogen supplied to a fuel cell "stack" to generate electricity that powers its electric motor. With an output of up to 80 horsepower and 201 foot-pounds of torque, acceleration is similar to a Honda Civic. Water vapor is the only exhaust. The FCX has a range of up to 170 miles and seating for four people, making it practical for a wide range of real-world applications. The city of Los Angeles mayor's office became the first U.S. commercial customer of a government-certified hydrogen fuel cell vehicle last year.
The Honda FCX leased to Los Angeles is being used for city business and was delivered in a ceremony on December 2, 2002, that included Mayor Jim Hahn and Hiroyuki Yoshino, president and CEO of Honda Motor Co., Ltd. Under the two-year lease agreement, the city of Los Angeles will pay $500 a month to lease the first of five Honda FCX models with the other four vehicles being delivered during 2003. In addition, Honda has contracted with Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., based in Allentown, Pennsylvania (with local operations in El Segundo, California) to provide the hydrogen fuel and refueling infrastructure.
Honda undertook fuel cell research in 1989 and has been road testing vehicles in the United States since 1999. Honda has also been a member of the California Fuel Cell Partnership based in Sacramento, California, since 1999.