While the Obama administration is yawning at the future prospect of hydrogen cars dotting the highway landscape, the major automakers are thinking otherwise. One such automaker is Honda which is full steam ahead in putting up hydrogen fueling stations in Japan and in the United Kingdom.
In Japan, Honda is building a solar hydrogen fueling station at the Saitama Prefectural Office just outside of Tokyo, an area not affected by the recent earthquakes, tsunami and nuclear disaster. And yes, Honda is mindful of the recent disaster in Japan and will incorporate some features in the future Honda FCX Clarity that will help if there were to be another disaster.
Honda says this, “In a further initiative, Honda will equip the FCX Clarity fuel cell electric vehicle with an outlet to function as a 10kW or higher power source, the approximate equivalent of the power required by 2 households*. Since the FCX Clarity uses a chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen to produce power with zero CO2 emissions, with its new outlet the vehicle will be able to serve as a zero-emission mobile electric generator.”
Now, this may not sound like a big deal, but if the power was out and the country was under emergency conditions, battery electric vehicles would have limited use. They may not even be able to flee the scene if they were uncharged.
An FCX Clarity however which runs on hydrogen fuel could both flee the scene of a disaster and be used as a power generator that could supply emergency electricity to medical clinics, shelters and other strategic locations throughout the country.
Now, on the other side of the world in the United Kingdom, a next generation hydrogen pump will be installed at the Honda plant in Swindon with the help of the South West England Regional Development Agency.
The idea is to encourage Honda to build FCX Clarities and other fuel cell models in the UK as part of the United Kingdom Hydrogen Highway initiative. Currently all of Honda’s fuel cell vehicles are being built in Japan. But, as the 2015 deadline looms when all of the major automakers say they will be building hydrogen cars commercially, this hydrogen fueling station along with the others to come in the following few years will help economic development of the region along with the future prospect of cleaner air and a break in ties with the Big Oil industry.