Honda Announces Freeze-Tolerant Vehicle Fuel Cell

October 19, 2003 by Jeff Shepard

Honda Motor Corp. (Japan) announced a new next-generation fuel cell for cars that is cheap, small and can operate at freezing temperatures. The next-generation fuel cell stacks were tested in a Honda FC Stack FCS car, which delivered a quiet ride that was as smooth as a regular gasoline-engine car. The vehicle can go 245 miles (395km) on a full tank, up from 220 miles (355km).

Fuel cell cars are virtually pollution-free. They run on electricity produced when hydrogen stored in a tank combines with the oxygen in the air leaving water as byproduct. However, fuel cell cars have had problems running at chilly temperatures because hydrogen fuel freezes. By using metal parts not used in past fuel cell stacks, Honda's new version runs at temperatures as cold as -4°F. It said the new metal helps because it heats up faster. Honda also simplified the design of the fuel cell stack to require half the number of parts of Honda's 2001 model.