Honda has equipped their FCX Clarity fuel cell electric vehicle with electrical outlets and built a new solar-powered hydrogen fueling system. Together, they turn the FCX Clarity into a zero emissions generator that’s powered by the sun and water.
Hydrogen fuel cell cars may not be grabbing as many headlines as their battery electric counterparts, but that doesn’t mean Honda hasn’t stopped work on the FCX Clarity. More than four years after the fuel cell car’s debut, Honda modified the car to feature a box of power outlets (the little wheeled unit near the car’s back tire) that lets the car function as a 9kW generator.
As part of the same project, Honda also installed a new hydrogen fueling station at a government building in Saitama, Japan that creates hydrogen from water and solar power. It’s a test of a system that, if successful, could allow the FCX Clarity to either drive or act as a generator with absolutely no tailpipe emissions.
While most hydrogen fueling stations rely on hydrogen that’s either been reformed elsewhere from natural gas, Honda’s test system in Saitama uses a high pressure water electrolysis system to produce hydrogen. The electricity to power this particular system comes from a mix of grid power and solar power, which together can create 1.5 kg or hydrogen in 24 hours — enough to run the FCX Clarity for 90 miles.
In the aftermath of last year’s devastating tsunami and Fukushima nuclear accident, we’ve seen an increasing number of Japanese carmakers turning their EVs into portable generators. Though the FCX Clarity is the first hydrogen powered car to be used as a generator, it joins the Nissan’s Leaf To Home system and Mitubishi’s MiEV Power Box as power supplies on wheels.
Honda didn’t offer too many details about the system, which just began testing late last month. Right now the FCX Clarity is only functioning as an emergency power supply, but we wouldn’t be surprised if hydrogen fuel cell cars were eventually tied into smart grid setups, where plugged-in cars could act as backup generators during times of heavy power demand.
Honda Turns Their Fuel Cell Sedan Into A Solar Powered Generator | Autopia | Wired.com