MOTEGI, Japan - Honda Motor Co. rolled out two fuel-cell-powered electric vehicles. One uses technology from Ballard Power Systems Inc. of Canada, and the other uses Honda's own fuel-cell stack.
Honda said it plans to commercialize a fuel-cell vehicle by 2003. It did not say which approach is more likely to prevail.
The FCX-V1 uses hydrogen fuel, stored in an occlusion alloy. Its Ballard-built solid polymer proton exchange fuel cell puts out 60 kilowatts.
The FCX-V2 uses methanol fuel. It puts the methanol through an auto-thermal reforming system to turn methanol plus water into a combination of hydrogen and carbon dioxide. The system removes the CO2, then uses the hydrogen in a Honda-developed solid polymer proton exchange fuel cell to yield 60 kW.
The carbon dioxide emissions of the methanol-driven vehicle are less than half those of a gasoline engine, Honda engineers said.
The hydrogen-fueled vehicle has a top speed of 80 mph. It weighs 4,400 to 4,800 pounds. Figures for the methanol version were not disclosed.
The two prototype powerplants were mounted in Honda's discontinued EV Plus electric car. Reporters and analysts were allowed to drive them gingerly on a course that more closely resembled a garden path than a test track.
Honda has built only the two prototypes, which are expected to be shown at the Tokyo Motor Show in October. It also has a demonstration display of the system's layout along the bottom of a car platform.