2017 Honda Clarity fuel cell vehicle is ready for the mainstream

March 20, 2017 by  
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Fuel-cell vehicles are still pretty foreign to most of us, especially if you live outside of California. Automakers like General Motors, Hyundai , Toyota and Honda have been working on the technology for decades, but we’ve yet to see a model that could bring the technology more mainstream. Toyota got close with the new Mirai , but Honda may be even closer to increasing the public’s acceptance of fuel-cell vehicles with their all-new 2017 Clarity. You’ll recall that this isn’t the first time Honda has released a fuel cell vehicle for public consumption, since in 2008 the first FCX Clarity was leased to a small subset of customers in California. Now almost 10 years later, Honda has made significant improvements to make the Clarity feel even more like a conventional car than any fuel cell vehicle has been able to do before. The styling may still be a bit unconventional, but Honda learned a lot from what customers need with the first FCX Clarity. Related: Honda will offer the Clarity Fuel Cell in electric and plug-in hybrid versions For starters, the new Clarity is now larger with increases to its length and width, which brings its exterior more in-line with the brand’s popular Accord midsize sedan. Honda decided one of the biggest hurdles with the last generation was that its interior also had too many compromises in terms of interior volume and seating capacity. So now the Clarity can fit five passengers, compared to the last model that could only fit four. That’s also a big plus over the Toyota Mirai , which can only fit up to four. How did Honda manage to do this? The FCX Clarity’s fuel cell stack was positioned directly in the middle of the car, which meant that there wasn’t room for a middle passenger in the rear seat. To make room for the fifth passenger in the new Clarity, Honda repositioned the fuel cell stack and powertrain underneath the hood, like a conventional car. Honda couldn’t simply just take the old system and stuff it under the new Clarity’s hood, instead it had to downsize the size of the entire system so that it is now smaller than the brand’s V6 engine. One added benefit is now that the system is so much smaller, that opens the door for more future applications. To make more interior volume and cargo space, Honda also reconfigured the hydrogen storage system, which now consists of two tanks, one under the rear seat and one in the trunk. Having room for five passengers was one of the biggest complaints that buyers had about the last generation, but there was also one other problem – driving range. The last FCX Clarity could only drive up to 240 miles on a tank of hydrogen fuel, but now the new two tank system can hold more hydrogen: 3.93 kg vs 5.46 kg. The nominal pressure of the tanks is also up from 35 MPa to 70 MPa. This also means that the Clarity can now travel further than before with an estimated driving range of 366 miles – which is closer to the driving range of a conventional midsize sedan. Also one of the biggest benefits of a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle is that it only takes 3-5 minutes to refill its tanks compared to the many hours it takes to recharge an electric vehicle. Now that the Clarity can fit as many passengers as a regular midsize sedan and its driving range is more realistic – there was only one other big hurdle that Honda needed to tackle if it were to achieve its goal of increasing the acceptance of fuel cell vehicles – how it drives. The Clarity’s fuel cell powertrain generates 174 horsepower (up 30%) and 221 lb-ft. of torque (up 17 percent). For comparison, the Honda Accord’s four-cylinder engine generates 185 horsepower and 181 lb-ft. of torque. The upgraded powertrain now has a quicker response and is smoother than before. A new Sport mode also makes it a bit “sportier” when you need it. How did it drive in the real world? Honda achieved its goal of making it feel more like a regular midsize sedan. Around the back country roads of Santa Barbara, the 2017 Clarity drove just as we would expect from the Accord. It wasn’t particularly engaging, but it didn’t need to be. The updated powertrain is much quieter than before and accelerating from a stop was easy and effortless. The differences between the Normal and Sport modes is not as big as you would expect, but it does provide a bit more brake regeneration. On the road, the 2017 Clarity feels planted, quiet and comfortable. Most passengers probably won’t even realize they are in a “non-conventional” fuel cell sedan. Which is what Honda was hoping to achieve with the Clarity. The previous compromises to interior volume, comfort and performance are all pretty much gone now. There’s still one last hurdle to greater acceptance of hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles: infrastructure. Currently the Clarity is only on sale in California and that’s because of the number of hydrogen re-fueling stations in the state. But even then there are still only 26 stations currently up and running in California . By the end of 2017 there will be another 20 coming online. Honda hopes to have at least 100 stations up by 2020. On the flip side, the automaker promises to cover the costs of the hydrogen fuel for the entire lease – for a cost of up to $15,000. Related: Toyota FCV Plus hydrogen concept car reveals the automaker’s vision of the future Honda won’t actually sell you a Clarity, so the only way you can get one is if you lease it for three years at $369 a month with 2,868 due at signing. If you’re still not quiet ready to make the jump to a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, there’s still good news. Honda is going to offer three versions of the Clarity: the Clarity Fuel Cell, Clarity Electric and Clarity Plug-in Hybrid. The Clarity Electric will be an affordable fully-electric version with a driving range around 80 miles, while the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid will be the volume leader with a 40 mile electric mode and a 300 mile driving range. Both the Clarity Electric and Clarity Plug-in Hybrid will arrive by the end of the year. So there we have it, Honda’s latest attempt at making the fuel cell vehicle more mainstream is the closest one yet that we’ve seen from any automaker. We can expect others to follow suit; Hyundai is already working on its next fuel cell SUV and General Motors recently announced a partnership to work on fuel cell powertrains. + Honda All images @ Inhabitat and Honda

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2017 Honda Clarity fuel cell vehicle is ready for the mainstream

Toyota FCV Plus hydrogen concept car reveals the automaker’s vision of the future

October 9, 2015 by  
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Although electric cars have become more popular over the last few years, there are some automakers that still don’t believe that electric cars are the long-term answer to reducing our reliance on fossil fuels. Toyota is clearly one of those automakers, focusing instead on hydrogen fuel-cell cars as a more viable solution. This fall Toyota’s first fuel-cell vehicle , the Mirai is scheduled to arrive, but Toyota is already thinking about the future with the new FCV Plus fuel-cell concept that is going to debut later this month at the Tokyo Motor Show. Read the rest of Toyota FCV Plus hydrogen concept car reveals the automaker’s vision of the future

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Toyota FCV Plus hydrogen concept car reveals the automaker’s vision of the future

2016 Toyota Mirai is the only zero-emissions vehicle that can travel 312 miles

July 2, 2015 by  
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In the market for a zero-emissions vehicle that can travel almost as far as a regular gas-powered vehicle? Up until now, you’re only choice has been the Tesla Model S with its 265 mile range, but Toyota has just announced that the 2016 Mirai fuel-cell vehicle has a driving range of 312 miles, which is longer than any other zero-emissions vehicle on the market. Read the rest of 2016 Toyota Mirai is the only zero-emissions vehicle that can travel 312 miles Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: electric car , electric vehicle , fuel cell vehicle , green car , green transporation , hydrogen , hydrogen powered vehicle , Toyota , Toyota fuel cell vehicle , Toyota Mirai , zero-emissions

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2016 Toyota Mirai is the only zero-emissions vehicle that can travel 312 miles

Plastic cloud pods naturally cool the landscape with the power of evaporation

July 2, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of Plastic cloud pods naturally cool the landscape with the power of evaporation Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: 2015 Casa Decor , Carolina González Vives , Casa Decor rooftop , Cloud observatory , Cloud observatory by Carolina González Vives , evaporation , low energy cooling , natural cooling

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Plastic cloud pods naturally cool the landscape with the power of evaporation

Brilliant Stanford invention makes hydrogen fuel-cell powered cars even greener

June 26, 2015 by  
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In the next few years hydrogen fuel-cell powered cars are going to become more readily available thanks to new models from Toyota, Honda and Hyundai. While automakers have labeled the fuel-cell vehicles as the ultimate green vehicle, since they only emit water, there’s a dirty secret that isn’t talked about. The process to produce hydrogen isn’t very green, but a new invention from Stanford University could change that. Read the rest of Brilliant Stanford invention makes hydrogen fuel-cell powered cars even greener Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: electric vehicle , fuel cell vehicle , green car , green transportation , Honda , hydrogen , hydrogen vehicle , HYUNDAI , stanford university , Toyota Mirai

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Brilliant Stanford invention makes hydrogen fuel-cell powered cars even greener

California poised to enact toughest mandatory vaccine bill in the nation

June 26, 2015 by  
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In California, an aggressive mandatory vaccination bill that passed the State Assembly is now headed to the desk of Governor Jerry Brown. If the bill passes, it would make California the third state in the country to enact such a measure, which will require all incoming public school kindergarteners to have full schedule vaccines, regardless of their parents’ personal, religious, or philosophical objections. Read the rest of California poised to enact toughest mandatory vaccine bill in the nation Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: banning personal and religious vaccine exemptions , California , california state assembly , children’s health , governor jerry brown , mandatory vaccinations , mandatory vaccines , mandatory vaccines for children , mandatory vaccines for school attendance , medical decisions for children , parental rights , SB277

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California poised to enact toughest mandatory vaccine bill in the nation

The Frying Pan Tower is an extreme offshore hotel that used to be a Coast Guard lighthouse

June 26, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of The Frying Pan Tower is an extreme offshore hotel that used to be a Coast Guard lighthouse Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: eco design , eco-tourism , eco-travel , extreme hotel , extreme travel , Frying Pan Tower , green design , green renovation , light station , lighthouse , north carolina , North Carolina green hotel , North Carolina hotels , off-grid hotel , offshore hotel , sustainable design

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The Frying Pan Tower is an extreme offshore hotel that used to be a Coast Guard lighthouse

Google’s self-driving “Koala” cars hit California roads

June 26, 2015 by  
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As 2015 speeds by, so will Google’s self-driving vehicle prototypes adorably referred to as “Koala” cars. (Except they only move at a safe and steady speed of 25 mph.) Earlier this year Google announced plans to launch several vehicles in Mountain View, and this week the self-driving cars finally hit California streets. Read the rest of Google’s self-driving “Koala” cars hit California roads Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Ford self-driving car , google koala car , google mountain view , google self-driving car , koala car , self-driving car , self-driving technology , tesla self-driving car

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Google’s self-driving “Koala” cars hit California roads

Toyota gives away more than 5,600 hydrogen fuel-cell patents, for free

January 6, 2015 by  
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Taking a page out of Tesla’s book , Toyota has announced that more than 5,600 of its fuel-cell-related patents are available for use—for free. Toyota hopes that its announcement at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show will spur development and introduction of innovative fuel cell technologies around the world. Read the rest of Toyota gives away more than 5,600 hydrogen fuel-cell patents, for free Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: 2015 CES , 2016 Mirai , ces , consumer electronics show , fuel cell , fuel cell vehicle , green car , green transportation , hydrogen , hydrogen fuel cell vehicle , patents , Toyota , Toyota Mirai

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Toyota gives away more than 5,600 hydrogen fuel-cell patents, for free

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