Honda has a longstanding track record of advancing environmental technologies that focus on the primary societal concerns surrounding vehicle transportation, air quality, fuel economy and energy alternatives. Honda joined the California Fuel Cell Partnership in October 1999 to help demonstrate the potential of fuel cell vehicles and refueling infrastructure. The Honda FCX fuel cell vehicles operating at the California Fuel Cell Partnership were first proven in this cooperative testing environment before placing them in the hands of real-world customers. Today, FCX’s on the road are the latest in a long line of models the company has developed to reduce the impact vehicles have on the environment. In December of 2002 Honda became to first automaker to lease a government certified fuel cell car for daily commercial operation on public roads. On that day, the first of five FCX’s became part of the City of Los Angeles fleet, seeing daily use in City Government business.
In 2005 the FCX became the first ever fuel cell vehicle leased to an individual customer with a second individual customer added in 2006. The FCX incorporates many of the technological developments Honda has pioneered over the years and continues to evolve rapidly. The FCX combines an advanced Honda designed and engineered fuel cell power system with a compact, high torque drive motor. Responsive takeoff and acceleration, as well as high energy efficiency were achieved by the combination of a high-output Honda fuel cell stack with the powerful instantaneous discharge capabilities of a Honda developed Ultra Capacitor. This advanced fuel cell powerplant integrates regenerative braking energy recovery with a highly efficient energy management system to further improve fuel economy and range. In 2008 Honda began limited production of an all new fuel cell car, "FCX Clarity" targeted primarily for leasing to private individuals. This newest generation powerplant features an advanced Honda "V-Flow" fuel cell stack that is 30% lighter, 20% smaller, offers 100kw output, and a power/density improvement of 50%. Driving range has been increased 9% from 210 to 240 miles, using 5,000 psi gaseous hydrogen. With sub-freezing startup temperatures as low as -22F, it is a practical vehicle for a wide range of real-world applications. Honda continues research on hydrogen refueling solutions right-sized for individual vehicle at-home refueling.