Honda unveils world’s first hydrogen plug-in hybrid car, available to lease in California this year




The CR-V e:FCEV will be produced in small volumes at a factory in Ohio


Honda has unveiled the world’s first hydrogen plug-in hybrid car, which will be available to lease in California this year.


The 2025 CR-V e:FCEV hydrogen tank will power a fuel cell made in Michigan, providing 270 miles (434.5km) of range, while its 17.7KWh plug-in battery can also add a further 29 miles of range.


Its hydrogen fuel tank only has a capacity of 4.3kg, making it the smallest on the market, compared to the 5kg of the Toyota Mirai and the 6.33kg of the Hyundai Nexo, the two other fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) on sale in the US.


It will be the first FCEV to be built in the US, at Honda’s Performance Manufacturing Center in Marysville, Ohio, which is used for building small volumes of specialty vehicles.


Honda has previously produced a handful of FCEV models, staring with the Honda FCX in 2002, which was followed by the FCV Clarity in 2008, and then the Honda Clarity Fuel Cell in 2016, which was ditched in 2021 due to poor sales.


“A fun-to-drive compact CUV [crossover utility vehicle]… the CR-V e:FCEV combines all-new US-made fuel cell system along with plug-in charging capability designed to produce up to 29 miles of EV driving around town with the flexibility of fast hydrogen refueling for longer trips,” Honda states in a press release.


“For additional convenience, the included Honda Power Supply Connector utilizes a 110-volt power outlet [the US standard is 120 volts] that can deliver up to 1,500 watts of power, turning CR-V e:FCEV into a clean power source capable of running small home appliances, portable air conditioners, power tools, camping equipment, and more.”


Honda has not revealed how much the new model will eventually cost, but it cannot expect the new version of its popular CR-V to be a money spinner.


Only 2,979 hydrogen-powered vehicles were sold in the US last year (all in California), with less than 100 sold in the final quarter of 2023 amid a months-long fuel supply crisis that drove prices at the pump as high as $36/kg.


Toyota last week started offering a 60% discount on its 2023 Mirai Limited FCEV in California, in addition to $15,000 of free H2 fuel and interest-free financing.


The CR-V e:FCEV’s fuel cell will be built by the new Fuel Cell System Manufacturing (FCSM) 50:50 joint venture between Honda and General Motors at its new factory in Brownstown, Michigan.


“The 5-passenger CUV is the first application of the second-generation Honda Fuel Cell Module, which is produced at Fuel Cell System Manufacturing, LLC (FCSM) in Michigan, offering improved durability, higher efficiency, increased refinement and lower cost compared to Honda’s previous generation fuel cell system.


“Co-developed with General Motors (GM), the next-generation Honda Fuel Cell Module leverages the knowledge, know-how and economies of scale of both companies and will reduce the cost by two-thirds compared to the cost of the fuel cell system in the Honda Clarity Fuel Cell.


“This significant cost reduction was achieved by various measures including the adoption of innovative materials for electrodes, advancement of a cell sealing structure, simplification of the supporting equipment and the improvement of productivity.”



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