Honda CR-V hydrogen fuel cell prototype unveiled — and it's a PHEV too

Honda CRV Hydrogen FCV 2024


Honda has unveiled its hydrogen fuel cell-powered CR-V, scheduled to go on the market in Japan later this year. Of course, it’s not entirely unveiled, because the prototype wears a molecules-morphing-into-circuit board camouflage wrap. Not surprisingly, the CR-V will largely have the same shape as the current gasoline and hybrid models.

The CR-V FCEV is engineered to run on a hydrogen fuel cell, which converts the compressed gas into electricity that drives the car. However, what sets it apart from other hydrogen fuel cell vehicles like the Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Nexo is that it has a lithium-ion battery pack that can be charged via plug. It’ll function similarly to a plug-in hybrid, just without the gasoline part.

That means the CR-V will be able to run solely on that battery for a number of miles, so far unknown, before the dual H2 tanks kick in. This is said to mitigate concerns about finding a hydrogen filling station, which are still few and far between in the U.S.

The CR-V will also have power export capabilities. An accompanying video shows a driver plugging in a portable coffee maker to the car while taking a break from driving through lush seaside landscapes in Japan. 

It should be noted that the current, sixth-generation Honda CR-V is not sold in Japan. That means it may exist solely as a hydrogen fuel cell EV when it returns to that market. Gasoline and hybrid CR-Vs will continue to be available in the U.S.

Visually, the FCV is distinguished from other CR-Vs by clear taillights and a charging port door on the left side front fender.

Honda has said it plans to build only 2,000 of these cars annually. A portion of that allotment will go to General Motors, with which Honda has a technology sharing partnership. They will be built at Honda’s Performance Manufacturing Center, or PMC, in Ohio, where the second-generation NSX was built.

The CR-V fuel cell vehicle unofficially replaces the Clarity, which was discontinued in 2021. It’s not yet known whether it will be offered outside California.

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