LA Auto Show Honda Concepts Details:
- FCEV Concept hints at third-gen. of Honda hydrogen fuel cell vehicles
- Honda engineers develop more powerful, less bulky fuel cell for FCEV
- Company's next hydrogen fuel cell vehicle will deliver 300-mile driving range and refuel in about 3 minutes
- Fixie-inspired Gear Concept subcompact hatchback also on display
Loathe as we are to admit it, the Los Angeles Auto Show - by some measures the first of the annual "Big 4" for North America, including also Detroit, Chicago and New York - has become the go-to event for car brands to roll out so-called "green" vehicles and technology. It's cool and all to have such a high profile, news-making automotive event right in our backyard, but that awe is dulled somewhat when you know going into it most of what you'll see is not in the least bit geared toward performance or tuning.
We remain faithful to Honda, in spite of the fact that 2013 was light on any real developments; the same 2014 Civic refresh that debuted at the SEMA Show just a couple weeks ago was part of the announcements (which we'll cover in a separate post). Honda also unveiled its FCEV Concept to the world, the next step in its hydrogen fuel cell vehicle development.
The FCEV represents steps toward a third generation of production hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, hinting at the eventual successor to the FCX and FCX Clarity. While it's mainly a styling exercise - to a certain degree channeling the space-aged first-gen. Insight in terms of aerodynamics - company reps fessed up to some major engineering advances, namely a more powerful, less bulky fuel cell stack than previous tries. Honda admitted as well the refueling infrastructure in this country needs to come much further, but that said it's looking to manufacture a derivative of the FCEV Concept for model year 2015, one that delivers a driving range of more than 300 miles with a refueling time of about three minutes.
"Honda is actually walking the walk," says Michael Accavitti, Senior Vice President of Honda Automotive Operations, about green tech. "We actually have the Clarity that you can lease and drive, and there are real people that are driving these cars. We're not talking about it; we're doing it, so there is a lot of credibility on what we are doing. Number two, those people that are driving our green cars are giving us information all of the time and we are learning from their experiences, which is allowing us to perfect this fuel cell technology moving ahead."
While it wasn't in the Honda booth, we were extremely excited to see the Gear Concept Study Model, which debuted earlier this year at the 2013 Montreal International Auto Show. Housed in a concept-only area of the Los Angeles Convention Center, the design study is aimed at a younger audience and Honda claims fixed-gear bikes were part of the inspiration - simple and utilitarian but also customizable. We see a little seventh-generation Civic Si hatchback in the car's profile and are totally smitten with Gear's unique, "happy" nose. No specs are available, probably because none exist yet.
Just in case anyone thought Honda was no longer about "fun," the Gear Concept put a huge smile on our face. Maybe the FCEV is good news for Mother Earth, but until modifying hybrid and alt-fuel cars becomes more attainable we're gonna keep holding out for developments like the hot little subcompact hatchback and Honda's announced VTEC TURBO offerings, engine news that broke this week from the Tokyo Motor Show. Hit the gallery to see our Honda concepts pics from the 2013 LA Auto Show.