LOS ANGELES — American Honda will select three dealers to sell its next-generation fuel cell car when it goes on sale next summer.
Steve Ellis, fuel cell marketing manager for American Honda Motor Co., says the dealers will be near the Southern California cities of Santa Monica, Irvine and Torrance. That's because those cities are near to fuel cell stations.
With a subsidized three-year lease of $600 a month, the redesigned FCX Clarity will be Honda's first fuel cell vehicle marketed to general consumers, even if in a narrow area. The current FCX is leased only to three hand-picked consumers at a cost of $500 a month.
Ellis would not say how many of the vehicles Honda plans to produce. "We have a Web site for people to sign up, and we have about 50 or so hand raisers now," Ellis told Automotive News during the unveiling of the car at the Los Angeles auto show on Wednesday, Nov. 14.
The FCX Clarity is far different from its predecessor. This is a clean-slate platform, designed around fuel cell components. The first car was built on an electric vehicle platform.
The new sedan has four doors vs. two for the current model. The fuel cell stack is 65 percent smaller, allowing for more interior room. The range is 270 miles, up 30 percent.
Ellis says: "We will be debuting new ads to feature the FCX to educate the people about the car and to show the public that Honda is committed."
Honda would not divulge the cost to build the vehicles. It is not a profitable venture.
Dan Bonawitz, vice president of corporate planning and logistics for American Honda, says: "We have to get the costs down. But we needed to have a subsidized lease to make it affordable for a wide range of customers."