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Production Start for FCX Clarity Fuel Cell Vehicle


Production Begins for the New FCX Clarity Fuel Cell Vehicle

-- And first customers are announced including film producer Ron Yerxa and actress Jamie Lee Curtis --

Honda Motor Co., Ltd. announced that it has begun production of the new FCX Clarity fuel cell vehicle, with the first vehicle (U.S. specification) coming off the line.

It also announced five of the first customers for its advanced new FCX Clarity hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicle and provided details of the world’s first fuel cell vehicle dealership network in the United States.

Film producer Ron Yerxa (Little Miss Sunshine and Cold Mountain) will take delivery of the first FCX Clarity in July. The remaining four early adopters for Honda’s next-generation fuel cell vehicle are author and actress Jamie Lee Curtis and her filmmaker husband Christopher Guest; business owner and car enthusiast Jim Salomon; actress Laura Harris; and Jon Spallino, already the world’s first retail fuel cell vehicle customer, who has been leasing the current generation FCX since 2005. Yerxa, Harris and Spallino attended the event in Japan.

The FCX Clarity is produced at the Honda Automobile New Model Center (Takanezawa-machi, Shioya-gun, Tochigi Prefecture). A new dedicated fuel cell vehicle assembly line was established, which includes processes unique to a fuel cell vehicle such as the installation of the fuel cell stack and hydrogen tank.

The fuel cell stack itself is produced at Honda Engineering Co., Ltd. (Haga-machi, Haga-gun, Tochigi Prefecture). In manufacturing fuel cells, exclusively designed automated equipment was introduced to ensure quality of the highest precision while enabling mass production of cells, with several hundred cells required for each fuel cell stack. Through these initiatives, Honda is making steady progress in the area of fuel cell vehicle production, in addition to fuel cell and fuel cell vehicle technologies, thereby moving closer to realizing its goal to achieve more widespread use of fuel cell vehicles.

The FCX Clarity was designed from scratch as a dedicated fuel cell vehicle. It is powered by the highly compact, efficient and powerful Honda V Flow fuel cell stack. Boasting a low-slung, dynamic and sophisticated appearance made possible by the innovative layout of the fuel cell power plant, the FCX Clarity offers superior design and driving performance as well as environmental responsibility. Lease sales are scheduled to begin in July in the U.S. and this fall in Japan.

The combined sales plan for Japan and the U.S. calls for a few dozen units within a year and about 200 units within three years. Additionally, the FCX Clarity will be exhibited at the Environmental Showcase in the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit to begin July 7, as one of a group of advanced environmental technologies.

To provide its customers with outstanding sales and service support and as a critical step in advancing fuel cell vehicles in the real world, American Honda announced the establishment of the first network of dealers to facilitate the sales and service of fuel cell vehicles. The three Southern California Honda dealers are Power Honda Costa Mesa (Costa Mesa), Honda of Santa Monica (Santa Monica) and Scott Robinson Honda (Torrance).

“This is an important day in the history of fuel cell vehicle technology and a monumental step closer to the day when fuel cell cars will be part of the mainstream,” said John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda. “Our customers and dealers share in our vision for a cleaner and more sustainable transportation future, and share in our challenge to embrace a new generation of automotive technology that we think will carry the auto industry and its customers into the future.”

About the FCX Clarity
The FCX Clarity is a next-generation, hydrogen powered fuel cell-powered vehicle. Propelled by an electric motor that runs on electricity generated in the fuel cell, the vehicle’s only emission is water, and its fuel efficiency is three times that of a modern gasoline-powered automobile. Based on the entirely-new Honda V Flow fuel cell platform, and powered by a highly compact, efficient and powerful new Honda V Flow fuel cell stack, the FCX Clarity marks the significant progress Honda continues to make in advancing the real-world performance and appeal of the fuel cell car. Significant advances over Honda’s previous generation FCX include:
• an advanced new four passenger sedan design
• a greater than 30 percent increase in driving range up to 280 miles1
• a 25 percent increase in combined fuel economy to 72 miles/kg-H21
(74 mpg GGE )
• a 50 percent improvement in fuel stack power output density by volume
• a 40 percent smaller and 50 percent lighter new lithium ion battery pack


Honda is responsible for the development of the world’s first fuel cell car (Honda FCX) to be certified for regular commercial use by the U.S. EPA and California Air Resources Board; the first deployment of a fuel cell car with a fleet customer; and the first individual retail customer for a fuel cell vehicle.

About the FCX Clarity Customers
The five customers announced today were among the very first people to share with Honda their passion for the environment and interest in the FCX Clarity, dating back to its debut as a concept model at the 2005 Tokyo Motor Show. The initial criteria for fuel cell vehicle ownership, including proximity to hydrogen refueling stations, driving patterns and vehicle needs, all played a part in Honda’s customer selection process.

“Auto companies can’t explore the potential for fuel cell technology as the ultimate solution to our world’s energy and environmental challenges by ourselves. Our customers are true pioneers and leaders in the effort to bring fuel cell technology to the marketplace,” said Mendel.


Ron Yerxa, a film producer and partner at Bona Fide Productions, is a long-time car enthusiast and advocate for the environment. He lives with his wife, Annette Ballester, in Santa Monica, California. Yerxa first learned of the FCX Concept vehicle from a car magazine and contacted American Honda to share his interest and enthusiasm.

Jon Spallino, partner and Chief Financial Officer of an Irvine, California-based engineering and construction firm and the world’s first retail customer of a hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicle, is excited to trade in his first-generation FCX for the all-new FCX Clarity. Having lived with fuel cell technology for three years now, Spallino and his family, residents of Redondo Beach, California, are looking forward to the all-new vehicle’s vastly improved performance, enhanced features, improved fuel efficiency, and advanced four-door, four-passenger sedan design.

Actress and children’s book author Jamie Lee Curtis and her husband, filmmaker Christopher Guest, also live with their family in Santa Monica. Curtis and Guest have owned other alternative fuel and hybrid vehicles, and they continue to seek out ways to live and advocate a greener lifestyle.

Jim Salomon, a business owner and car enthusiast, resides in Newport Beach, California with his family and will be American Honda’s first retail customer to regularly refuel at the recently renovated Irvine hydrogen refueling station. Salomon and his family live in a home he designed and built with an emphasis on energy efficiency as well as recycled and sustainable materials.

Actress and green advocate Laura Harris learned about the FCX Clarity from a friend and test drove a prototype car at the Los Angeles auto show in November 2007. Canadian-born Harris lives in Silverlake, California, and will refuel primarily in Burbank. Lessons learned from her usage patterns and experiences can help pave the way for eventual market expansion outside of the Irvine, Torrance, and Santa Monica areas.

Honda previously announced plans to deliver about 200 FCX Clarity hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicles in the U.S. and Japan to customers in the first three years of production, with leases beginning in July. The lease program marks the world’s first large-scale retail initiative for fuel cell vehicle technology.


1: Based on official 2008 EPA estimated range and fuel efficiency values


ENDS

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