2009 Honda FCX Clarity Road Test Car and Driver

14 Июн 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи 2009 Honda FCX Clarity Road Test Car and Driver отключены
Honda FCX Clarity

2009 Honda FCX Clarity

Honda s mobile chemistry set offers hope for, if not clarity about, the future.

Where’s the best place to meet Jamie Lee Curtis? Why, at the bustling corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Federal Avenue near hippy-dippy Santa Monica, California, where you can’t toss a watermelon without hitting a Toyota Prius .

Jamie Lee will be the one in the merlot-colored Honda. gliding up to one of those rarest of things, a commercial hydrogen fuel pump. Stand there, enjoying the company of the loitering beach bums for a day or three, and you’re all but guaranteed to see her roll in, low on juice, her FCX Clarity shaped like an Australian lungfish and whining like a tomcat being scalped.

On the Santa Monica smugness scale, the Clarity mops the floor with the Prius. It stores hydrogen at a liquefied 5000 psi, plumbs it through a Honda-designed fuel cell with air to make electricity, leaving water as the sole tailpipe effluent. The only powertrain noise is the lynx-like yowl of the fuel cell’s air compressor, plus the tap-tap of Henry Cavendish, the 18th-century discoverer of hydrogen, doing I-told-you-so jigs in his grave.

Honda plans to lease about 200 Clarity s over the next three years, at $600 a month for 36 months. The car is not for sale, and no one outside Southern California and its cluster of hydrogen dispensers and service-ready dealerships will get one.

Each handmade, million-dollar Clarity exists to polish Honda’s green-leaf clusters, preferably in such telegenic venues as Jamie Lee Curtis’s driveway. Each is also an experiment to see if an electric car fueled with a highly explosive diatomic gas can mesh with the typical 2.3-child American household as seamlessly as the Honda Accord it closely emulates in size and performance.

Can’t stomach the terms? Don’t bother applying. Really, don’t bother anyway, because all the candidate owners, including normal folks and a few glitterati such as Curtis, have already been selected.

Over our six days with the Clarity, we learned that the 3574-pound car does indeed sway to your mundane daily rhythm. That is, assuming you live near Santa Monica Boulevard and Federal Avenue. We don’tour West Coast base is 18.8 miles of apocalyptic traffic away.

There are 15 other hydrogen stations in the L.A. areabut they’re run by state, municipal, and university programs, and none is closer.

Honda FCX Clarity

The subject of fuelingand perhaps meeting Jamie Leeweighs constantly on the Clarity driver’s mind.

Every trip begins with a check of the digital miles-to-go meter. Honda claims a full load of 9.0 pounds of hydrogen provides a 270-mile range, but our six days with the car begged to differ. By our first fill-up, which took eight minutes and 42 seconds, we had motored 108 miles, and the car’s digital miles-to-go meter reported 70 miles worth of hydrogen remaining in the tank. On the second fill, at 101 miles, the switchover to hoof power was due in 81 miles, the car reported.

For the third and final fill, at 118 miles, we had 45 miles left, by the gauge.

From the amount of hydrogen pumped, we know our Clarity averaged 47.4 miles per kilogram (roughly similar to miles per gallon of gasoline on an energy basis). That equates to a range of 194 miles, far short of Honda’s claim.

Shell’s hydrogen pump in Santa Monica is self-serve only, designed to be …-proof (or, at least, very, very …-resistant). After you lock the heavy, machined-aluminum hose onto the car’s fueling nipple, the pump’s computer takes over. A disconcerting screechingit gets fever pitched as tank pressure nears 5000 psiencourages bystanders to step back, especially after they realize that you’re not, in fact, Jamie Lee Curtis.

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