Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!





Honda Throws Down the Gauntlet---Hydrogen Car is Here!

Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,404
edited March 11 in Honda
Well it looks like the Japanese once again tap the Big Three on their right shoulder and then run around their left end:

http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/2007-05-10-honda-fuel-cell_N.htm?csp=34

What do you all think? Is this going to fly? And if it does, what effect will it have on the American car buying public, the world, the economy?

Is this HUGE or is this just PR smoke and mirrors and a way for Honda to improve gas car sales?

Think Honda will ditch this in two years like GM did with their EV lease program on the IMPACT?

Target date 2008--coming to a driveway near you.

MrShiftright
Visiting Host

MODERATOR

«1

Comments

  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,850
    What I notice in the press release is a bit of smoke and mirrors on pricing.

    Honda (HMC) says it will put a sleek hydrogen fuel-cell sedan into limited production next year and also will sell a unique mass-market hybrid in the USA within two years, priced less than the $25,000 Civic hybrid.

    So, how much is this fuel cell vehicle going to sell for. Last I read it cost Honda $100k to build the one they had leased near the office in Orange County.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,404
    Could be a "lost-leader" type of car or could be a lease deal maybe?

    MODERATOR

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    I don't think Honda will just ditch this in two years. This is part of an ongoing program they have had, first with the EVs of the late 90s and early 00s, then with the natural gas cars that after several years of lease-only are now for sale, and now with this.

    The real problem early on is going to be fuel availability just as it is with E85. I don't think E85 will ever take off because it actually costs consumers money. This at least saves consumers a bunch of money over straight gasoline power.

    But as far as far-reaching consequences/impacts, does it use less energy from the ground to the tank than gasoline does? That is the big problem they are having a hard time solving. I mean, right now they are making the hydrogen available from natural gas, which has price spikes just like oil. And some day it will be in limited supply too, just like oil has finally become.

    Maybe some of those are problems for solving in the future. For now, I am glad Honda has gone ahead with this program, and I find it funny this announcement comes in the same week as GM proudly announced theirs would be ready for sale in 2012! :-P

    But mainly I want all the automakers going full steam ahead on this kind of stuff, and I wonder where Toyota is at: they make mention of an ongoing fuel cell program from time to time, but have made no specific product announcements yet. So when you say Honda taps the Big 3 on the right shoulder and goes around them on the left, I am assuming one of the Big 3 you refer to is Toyota...

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,404
    Nah, Toyota may have been caught flat-footed as you say but they won't respond with the dinosaur-like slowness of the Big Three. Chrysler is on its knees, Ford has lost 18 billion bucks last year, and GM is the only "contendah", and a late-comer.

    Honda covets its "green image" and has historically been the most forward-thinking of all the manufacturers, so I'm not surprised they're first out.

    It's just the same old story, a fight for love and glory, a case of do or die..... :P

    MrShiftright
    Visiting Host

    MODERATOR

  • fezofezo Posts: 9,328
    Yeah, Honda has been like that for as long as they've been in the business. I like that a lot. It no doubt accounts for why I keep buying the things. I can find vehicles that are as nice I would imagine but I like how corporate Honda thinks and have for a couple of decades.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 39,971

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    Rick Wagoner saying a few years back that their GM fuel cell vehicle would be mass produced by the end of the decade, and so far we still haven't seen anything.

    I am impressed with the FCX, and wish it huge success, but Honda should really consider leasing the car to people that live outside of California and New York. I would actually be extremely interested in leasing or purchasing a Civic GX, as the thought of being able to refuel at home impresses me. However, I'm not a New Yorker nor a Californian.

    If Honda just found 1 dealership in each major metropolitan area to train a few technicians to work on FCXs and Civic GXs then they could probably lease/sell far more GXs than they are selling now...
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,850
    I don't think you will see many leased even in CA. They will be given to high profile figures that can promote the technology. I imagine the car still costs them close to $100k to build. That $500 per month is just to keep the riff raff from applying for the car. I think the home fueling is a ways off also. It is not an old technology like CNG. Even PHILL is debatable as an economical home fueling device. This could be another EV-1 in the making. Time will tell.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    True, but I think Honda is more committed to the environment than GM was in the mid-late 1990's.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,850
    I agree with that. I think GM was just spending our tax dollars the way they were mandated.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Honda enjoys being "first" to market with their cars.

    1. First USA hybrid.
    2. First to have 2 USA hybrids for sale.
    3. First to have a V6 hybrid.
    4. First to have a hybrid version of a non-hybrid car (HCH)

    This will be another of their "firsts" and I say kudos to them for at least working on the technology.

    Other automakers probably will have better and cheaper fuel cell vehicles later, but Honda will have been "first" again and they surely love that.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,120
    Magnavox was the first to offer home video games via its Odyssey system in 1972. Where is the Magnavox Odyssey system today? Honda may have been first with a hybrid, but Toyota took that market and ran with it.

    I read a review of the Lexus LS460lh. The car is fierociously expensive for a Lexus and the fuel economy is a rather unimpressive 20 MPG. You could probably do better with an ordinary old Lincoln Town Car.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    "The car is fierociously expensive for a Lexus and the fuel economy is a rather unimpressive 20 MPG. You could probably do better with an ordinary old Lincoln Town Car."

    Hehehe, yeah, but you wouldn't have anywhere near the amount of acceleration, or luxury features.

    Given that, luxury hybrids mostly exist so people can buy guzzling overpriced cars for snob appeal, and assuage their conscience because they have bought the "environmentally friendly" option.

    Honda likes to be a leader in "green" automotive engineering, and usually doesn't just let the product fade away into obsolescence after being first on the scene.

    I may even give this new fuel-cell car a try, if I can figure out the gassing-up part...

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,120
    ...develop a hydrogen fuel cell car first because everybody else will soon copy it. I'd like anybody to come up with a solution for energy independence be it Honda, GM, or VW. It would be so awesome for us to tell our "friends" in the Middle East they can just keep their sloppy black goop.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,404
    I'd prefer Honda to develop it and then GM to copy and mass-produce it for Americans. I have no confidence in GM to invent new tech and stick with it long enough to get it right. Sorry but I don't. Shock absorbers, fine. Total new energy system---no. Twice burned, thrice learned or something like that.

    Honda "does their homework" and comes to school totally prepared.

    MrShiftright
    Visiting Host

    MODERATOR

  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,476
    I'd prefer Honda to develop it and then GM to copy and mass-produce it for Americans. I have no confidence in GM to invent new tech and stick with it long enough to get it right. Sorry but I don't. Shock absorbers, fine. Total new energy system---no. Twice burned, thrice learned or something like that.


    I completly agree with you. Funny that 30 or 40 years ago it would have been a completly reversed situation though.

    A US company would develop a new technology using vast resources to do it. The Japanese would reverse engineer it and figure out how to make it cheaper then better then the Americans.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,404
    Everyone wonders what motivates the Japanese but I think I know...well at least I have my theory....

    They looked back at the ruins of World War II and figured out that they lost not because of courage or a cruel ruthlessness (they had both in spades) but because their technology failed them.

    I think this drives them to this day and they've channeled their militarism into a competitive spirit that is pretty difficult to beat right now.

    But maybe it'll be their banking system that fails them this time...that's fairly scary these days. Maybe the auto world does belong to China and/or Malaysia. I dunno.

    MrShiftright
    Visiting Host

    MODERATOR

  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,476
    That makes sense. How many Asian/Japanese financal crises have we had over the last 10-15 years.
  • texasestexases Posts: 5,511
    The continuing problem is where to get the hydrogen. People talk about an oil shortage - it's actually a hydrogen shortage. There are large volumes of heavy oil available in the world, but it takes lots of hydrogen to upgrade them to usable products, like gasoline. This has been a difficult problem for refiners to solve, just for the volumes required to upgrade oil. Now think about the huge volumes needed to fuel a fleet of cars. I hope a solution presents itself, but, like the flying car, I'm not betting on it in the next 10 year.
  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    The difference between the fuel cell car and the electric car is that the fuel cell car has a future.

    But,it isn't today.
    This car is essentially a PR exercise and even Honda admits that it will be years before such a car is ready for mass production.
«1
This discussion has been closed.