x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Honda unveils hydrogen fuel cell car at LA Auto Show

The Los Angeles Auto Show opens to the public on Friday after two days of media previews. View some of the most buzz-worthy vehicles which could soon be heading to the UAE’s streets.

Tetsuo Iwamura, the president and chief executive of American Honda Motor Company., is reflected in a window as he talks about the Honda FCEV Concept during its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Chris Carlson / AP
Tetsuo Iwamura, the president and chief executive of American Honda Motor Company., is reflected in a window as he talks about the Honda FCEV Concept during its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Chris Carlson / AP

Honda has high hopes for its hydrogen fuel cell vehicle and its advanced technology to reduce tailpipe emissions, although the Japanese carmaker concedes consumers may take a few years to warm to the concept.

Honda unveiled the five-passenger vehicle at the Los Angeles Auto Show yesterday. It doesn’t have a name, for now, and is referred to simply by the acronym for a fuel cell electric vehicle – the ‘FCEV Concept’.

The fuel cell vehicle is expected to launch in the United States and Japan in 2015, but the odds are the car won’t make an appearance in most US showrooms until well beyond that year.

Adoption of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles has been stunted by their high price and a lack of investment in fuelling infrastructure. There are currently just 10 public hydrogen fueling stations in the US, according to the US Department of Energy.

“The beginning of the launch, the timing of 2015, I don’t think we will have a big volume,” Tetsuo Iwamura, the chief executive of Honda’s US business, said. Higher volumes will come gradually, he said.

Honda did not say how much it expects the vehicle to cost.

“This type of technology can’t happen immediately across the US,” he added, saying adoption of fuel cell vehicles would likely begin to grow in small markets like Southern California.

Carlos Ghosn, the chief executive of Renault and Nissan, echoed Mr Iwamura’s concerns at the Tokyo Motor Show, saying infrastructure costs could stall the uptake of fuel cell cars.

business@thenational.ae