An article in the Autochannel says that best-selling author Edwin Black has charged Honda Motors with delaying, sabotaging and suppressing its Home Energy Station IV for rollout with the Clarity FCX hydrogen car. The Honda FCX Clarity was rolled out this past July 2008 to a few movie stars and other notables. Since this time there hasn’t been much marketing noise from the Japanese automaker.
According to the article, Black claims Honda is suppressing its Home Energy Station from the marketplace (which was built for use with the Clarity) in order to push for more local corner hydrogen fueling stations to be built. The Clarity is being rolled out in the Los Angeles area because of the number of supporting hydrogen fueling stations already in place.
Black believes that when Honda says it is waiting for the infrastructure to catch up as a reason not to produce more Clarity FCX’s in a timely manner, this is a false reason. Black says that the Clarity FCX was meant to be home fueled from the very beginning as is the case with the Honda Civic GX CNG car that uses a home natural gas fueling station for similar purposes.
According to Black, the company that produces the Home Energy Station, Plug Power has stated that Honda’s home refueling unit has been good to go since 2005. But, because of their license agreement with Honda, Plug Power cannot go into production without the express orders from the Japanese automaker.
According to Honda’s website, they still show a model of the Clarity FCX in a garage of a solar home next to a Home Energy Station. But, Black claims most other promotional materials from Honda pairing the Clarity and the Home Energy Station have been dropped.
If the Home Energy Station is being suppressed as Black claims, this still won’t stop other manufacturers such as ITM Power from rolling out their own hydrogen home refueling stations. Also, if the suppression is true, this would be the hydrogen equivalent of crushing the electric car a few years back. It may be a temporary stalling tactic, but you can’t keep good ideas and technology down forever.