Fleet News

Honda claims fuel cell technology lead

HONDA claims to be leading the race to produce a marketable fuel cell car with a model based on the FCX prototype shown at Geneva and on sale in 2003. With other manufacturers - including General Motors, Ford and DaimlerChrysler predicting 2004 as the earliest date for a viable fuel cell car, a Honda UK spokesman said: 'The race is on and as the world's leading engine manufacturer we have a point to prove.

'However, there is a world of difference between putting a car on the road and making it commercially viable and available. Having it commercially available will be some years down the road.' The FCX is a saloon car with an electric motor powered by a fuel cell which is housed under the floor where it does not take up interior space. An electric motor drives the front wheels. The fuel cell produces hydrogen from methanol.

In the meantime, the Honda Insight - the manufacturer's petrol-electric hybrid two-seater - will enter UK showrooms in May costing £17,000 on-the-road. Just as Toyota expects to use its hybrid Prius as the launch pad for a range of hybrid vehicles, so Honda expects that the technology used in the Insight will be used to sell a range of mainstream company cars, MPVs and other vehicles within the next two to three years.

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