Tokyo Motor Show opened its gates today and welcomed the unveiling of the new Honda Clarity Fuell Cell, a car that follows in the footsteps of its main rival, the already popular Toyota Mirai. 

According to Honda, the new Clarity Fuell Cell is the world’s first production model of a fuel cell powered sedan to house the entire fuel cell stack and drivetrain system in the space normally occupied by the engine and transmission. It had to mark a world premiere, as Toyota was already holding the title for the world first mass produced fuell cell vehicle. 

Through minimising the space utilised by the powertrain, Honda has been able to achieve a level of interior space that allows five adults to be comfortably accommodated. The size of the fuel cell stack and the power generation unit have been reduced to a size comparable to a V6 engine.

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Honda’s original wave flow channel separators are more advanced, while the cells now feature a higher output and a more slender shape thanks to a 1 mm (20%) reduction in the thickness of each cell. These advances combine to make the fuel cell stack 33% more compact than the stack used in the original FCX Clarity. This improvement has been achieved in parallel with an increase in maximum motor output to 177 hp and a power density increased by 60% to 3.1 kW/L.

The Clarity Fuel Cell is equipped with a high-pressure tank capable of storing hydrogen gas at 70 MPa, increasing the mass of hydrogen that can be stored and extending the range of the vehicle. The Clarity Fuel Cell achieves a best-in-class fuel cell vehicle range per full tank of over 700 km (435miles). In addition, the high-pressure tank can be quickly refilled, the process taking approximately three minutes at 70 MPa and 20 degrees Celsius. 

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Clarity Fuel Cell offers the driver two driving modes: the Normal mode provides a balance between fuel economy and driving performance, while Sport prioritises a more responsive acceleration feeling.

The Clarity Fuel Cell will be commercially available in Japan from early 2016. European launch of the vehicle will follow in 2016. Honda is scheduled to introduce the Clarity Fuel Cell in a limited number of European markets. Honda is one of five automotive companies that make up the HyFIVE consortium, and will supply vehicles that will be part of a 110 strong European fleet to highlight and promote the development, use and viability of this new technology.