Honda is changing the vehicle market as we know it, by building a vehicle that emits water vapor. Honda’s FCX Clarity fuel cell car is the new generation of green cars. This car has some similarities to the hybrid, but nothing compares to its new hydrogen fuel source. In addition to hydrogen, it works with an electric motor that generates electricity for the fuel cell and a lithium-ion battery. The lithium-ion battery serves as a supplemental power source. The lithium-ion battery charges while braking and decelerating. Some questions may arise when thinking about this new fuel cell vehicle, such as what makes this car better than the other hybrid cars? What are the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the Honda FCX Clarity?
One of the greatest strengths of this new fuel cell vehicle is that it emits water vapor and is designated a zero emission vehicle (ZEV). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has given this vehicle the lowest possible emissions rating. You can also drive up to 280 miles before refueling with hydrogen. FCX Clarity achieves an energy efficiency of 55%, which is twice the energy efficiency of hybrid vehicles and three times the energy efficiency of normal gasoline vehicles. Because the FCX Clarity is more energy efficient, it was one of the first fuel cell vehicles to receive certification from the EPA and the California Air Resources Board. Unlike hybrids, the FCX Clarity doesn’t need to be plugged in to charge and there’s no need for regular gas.
Honda has many opportunities with this new fuel cell vehicle. First, Honda is designing a home service station. No more worrying about going out and refueling at the pump. Home refueling stations will put stress on the pump. In addition, Honda could make this fuel cell vehicle a household name and market this vehicle worldwide. Honda just needs to get out to show off their new vehicle. Honda is starting to market the new fuel cell a bit. Honda just launched the FCX Clarity for Japan.
One of the few weaknesses of this fuel cell vehicle is its limited availability in the United States. Southern California and Japan are the only two areas where this new vehicle is available. Honda plans to launch around 200 vehicles in 3 years in California and Japan. Honda believes that this new fuel cell vehicle will be able to be mass produced in 2018. I think this is one of Honda’s biggest drawbacks: the limited launch and few service stations.
This car is a bit small and can only carry four people. The cost of the FCX Clarity is approximately 600 per month with a 3-year lease. It seems a bit expensive for someone of the middle class to pay that payment. No one in California will be able to lease this new vehicle. These people who are selected live near gas stations and make a limited amount of travel.
Basically, Toyota and GM vehicles are Honda’s biggest threat. With so many new hybrids and small cars that save gas, this creates a problem for Honda. Another threat is Chevrolet. Chevrolet has developed a fuel cell SUV “the Equinox” and has already reached New York City, Washington DC and Southern California. That said, it becomes a race between Honda and Chevrolet with the new fuel cell technology. How would the popularity of the new FCX Clarity fuel cell increase? Lack of mass production and service stations, Honda will have no chance.
I think Honda has created a good prototype with its new fuel source. The new fuel source should be further investigated before placing this vehicle on the market. This car is for people who are willing to go green and have the money to do it. The whole problem is making this car available to the public and easily accessible.
On the other hand, Honda has a comparative advantage due to its home service station. There is no other vehicle that you can plug in and refuel at home. Hybrid vehicles rely on battery and gas to run. You have to plug in the hybrid to recharge the battery.