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Honda FC Sport - Road Rage

The Dawn Of A New Kind Of Sports Car

Mar 1, 2009
Htup_0903_01_z+road_rage+honda_concept_wheel Photo 1/1   |   Honda FC Sport - Road Rage

I'm not very green. Never have been. I don't dump motor oil in my neighbor's bushes or chuck coffee cups out my window, but low-emissions talking points aren't something I pay much attention to when considering a car. Until now. Blame it on Honda's FC Sport Concept that was unveiled at last November's Los Angeles Auto Show. The FC Sport is labeled an eco-friendly green car, but it's so much more than that. It's the first enviro-friendly automobile that's worthy enough to evoke the same kind of feelings one gets from looking at an ITB'd, wide-bodied NSX but without that whole pollution thing.

The FC Sport is hydrogen-powered but has McLaren F1 style seating. I know, it doesn't make sense. What's more, it's got an eco-friendly hydrogen fuel cell powertrain but massive, cross-drilled rotors and gigantic Honda-stamped calipers. It's considered earth-saving, yet it's perched on tires so beefy you'd think the thing's got some sort of massive V-8 in it or at least a couple of turbochargers. No, it doesn't make sense. And it doesn't matter. In short, the FC Sport is the first sign of hope for gearheads like me who have, up until now, kicked and screamed at the thought of a green-car future.

Honda tells us that the zero-emissions FC Sport will be powered by a high-output fuel cell powertrain-sort of like the family-minded FCX Clarity that's available now-only better. I think their exact words were: "powerful electric motor." Hold back the yawns though. Yes, the term "high-output" is often open to interpretation and electric motors typically aren't exciting, but I'm inclined to think Honda's use of the phrase is anything but generous. I mean, why bother designing something with monstrous brakes and such phenomenal aerodynamic characteristics if it was never intended to get up to speed fast enough to take advantage of them? Speaking of aero, the FC has an ultra-low center of gravity, one that can only be likened to the NSX as far as Hondas are concerned. Honda R&D designers were able to do some unconventional things in terms of the vehicle's shape and configurations since the FC Sport doesn't have an engine as we know it. As you might expect, fuel cells and electric motors are shaped differently than typical Honda four- or six-cylinder gasoline engines. There are no cylinder heads full of valvetrains sitting on top of bottom ends stuffed with bouncing pistons and rods. Nope, the FC Sport's fuel cells and electric drivetrain are mounted much lower than you'd think, which helps with that whole center of gravity thing. It's one of the benefits of building a car around the hydrogen concept instead of taking an existing chassis and trying to stuff something green under the hood. The components are also evenly spaced between the axles-a design consideration and balance of weight you just can't get with something like a B-series. For example, the motor sits down low, in front of the rear axle, the battery pack in the middle, also down low, and the fuel stack between the rear seats, which flank the driver seat on both sides from behind. It's all functional and has of course been heavily considered, even things like the hex-shaped rear that actually houses radiators for cooling the fuel cells, and Formula 1-derived barge boards behind the front wheels, which make going really, really fast all the more plausible. It's all starting to make sense now, and it's arguably the closest supercar/green-car homologation I've ever seen.

They say that the FC Sport Concept is supposed to satisfy enthusiasts like me in a world beyond petroleum. They say it's supposed to give guys like me a reason to still love cars in an age when gas stations will be replaced with wall receptacles and corn fields. I say, bring it on.Aaron BonkContact: editorial@hondatuningmagazine.com

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