Honda has taken the wraps off its next-generation hydrogen fuel cell at a trade show in Brussels, Belgium. The drivetrain, which is still in the prototype stage, is being developed for a wide range of applications, including hydrogen-electric cars, commercial vehicles, and construction machinery.
While there are only a few automakers investing in hydrogen technology, Honda is one of them. BMW is collaborating with Toyota and showcased a hydrogen-powered experimental X5 earlier this year. General Motors is also working on the technology with Honda, and Hyundai is a major advocate for hydrogen-powered vehicles. However, there are still obstacles to overcome, such as the lack of refueling infrastructure. Honda executives, however, believe that these challenges will be resolved soon.
Ingo Nyhues, the deputy general manager of business planning and development for Honda’s European division, stated, “We believe demand for the technology will soon reach the critical mass required for full commercial deployment.”
Honda has not provided specific technical details about its next-generation hydrogen drivetrain. The company has described it as a versatile system with compact dimensions, a powerful output, excellent durability, and the ability to start quickly even in low-temperature environments. While the development work is still ongoing, Honda has already identified four primary use cases for the drivetrain.
The first use case is a hydrogen-powered CR-V, which will be available in North America and Japan from 2024. Honda is also designing the system for heavy-duty commercial vehicles and plans to begin testing a prototype developed in collaboration with Isuzu by March 2024. If successful, the prototype will evolve into a production model and hit the market in select regions by 2027.
The third use case identified by Honda’s research and development team is stationary power generation. The system could serve as a backup power source for data centers and other facilities. Additionally, Honda will collaborate with other companies to develop hydrogen-powered construction equipment.
In conclusion, Honda’s next-generation hydrogen fuel cell drivetrain shows promise for various applications, and the company is confident that demand for the technology will soon reach a level that allows for full commercial deployment.