Honda’s new zero-emission, hydrogen fuel cell car rolled off a Japanese production line on Monday and is headed to southern California, where eco-friendly Hollywood is already abuzz over the latest splash in green motoring.
The FCX Clarity, a four-passenger sedan, runs on hydrogen and electricity, emits only water and none of the noxious fumes believed to induce global warming. It is also two times more energy efficient than a gas-electric hybrid and three times that of a standard gasoline-powered car, the company said.
Japan’s No. 3 automaker expects to lease out a “few dozen” units this year and about 200 units within the next three years. In California, a three-year lease will cost $600 (Rs 24,000) a month, including maintenance and collision coverage.
Among the first customers are actress Jamie Lee Curtis and filmmaker husband Christopher Guest, actress Laura Harris, film producer Ron Yerxa and businessmen Jon Spallino and Jim Salomon.
“It’s so smooth,” said Harris. “It’s like a future machine, but it’s not.”
The company has not revealed how much each car costs to make, and it is unclear when, or if, the car will be available for mass-market sales.
The biggest obstacles in the way of wider adoption of fuel cell vehicles are cost and the dearth of hydrogen fuel stations. For the Clarity’s release in California, Honda said it received 50,000 applications through its website but could only consider those living near stations in Torrance, Santa Monica and Irvine.