Honda Brings FCV Concept and Turbocharged VTEC Engines to Detroit
To compliment the strong emphasis on green technology and efficient motoring we’re seeing at this year’s Detroit Auto Show, Honda is making its presence known with a concept hydrogen fuel cell vehicle and the latest iteration of the high-strung VTEC performance motor. It’s a product showcase that caters to both the Earth-conscious commuter crowd and performance lovers, all with that characteristic H-badge pragmatism.
With the 2014 FCV Concept car in Detroit for its North American debut, Honda is looking to round out its already impressive lineup of alternative fuel vehicles, which currently includes the 2015 Fit EV, 2015 Civic Hybrid, 2015 Civic Natural Gas, 2015 CR-Z hybrid, and 2015 Accord hybrid. U.S. availability for a production FCV is scheduled to open up sometime next year, following a March 2016 launch in Japan.
Thanks to an innovative drivetrain and a body shaped to minimize drag, the FCV is expected to come with a range of 300 zero-emission miles, with refuel times approximated at just three minutes. The fuel cell used is 33-percent smaller than that found on the outgoing FCX Clarity, which means the FCV boasts a large cabin with seating for five.
The automaker also unveiled plans for a new VTEC Turbo engine slated for debut at the end of this year. The combination of Honda’s renowned variable timing and lift system with forced induction can only mean one thing: hyper-efficient internal combustion, good for both power and mileage. We’re talking four cylinders and two liters making 300 horsepower and 40 mpg (although that’s just speculation). With $340 million invested in its engine plant in Anna, Ohio, the new VTEC Turbo should start rolling off the assembly line very soon.
Honda says it plans to offer a variety of “advanced powertrain vehicles” in the next few years, including a new battery-electric model, plug-in hybrid model, and additional use of its “two- and three-motor hybrid systems,” all scheduled for release by 2018.
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Why it matters
Back in November of 2014, Honda stated it would provide FirstElement Fuel with $13.8 million to build hydrogen-refueling stations throughout California. FirstElement Fuel also partnered with Toyota, which recently announced an expansion onto the northeastern seaboard with 12 new hydrogen-refueling stations built in cooperation with Air Liquide.
One of the biggest hurdles facing widespread adoption of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles is a lack of supportive infrastructure. But as cars like Honda’s FCV integrate into the mainstream alongside substantial financial backing to keep them topped off and running, we can only predict a growing tide of fuel-cell vehicles in the near future.
The new VTEC Turbo motor is exciting for a number of reasons. First, Honda has made cars that combine sporting fun with high mileage specs for decades and decades. As the rest of the world starts to move in that direction, Honda is a step ahead with experience, which means we could see a surplus of Honda awesomeness very soon.
Lending credit to this claim is the highly anticipated release of the new Civic Type R, which will come with a turbocharged, 2.0-liter engine and “at least” 276 horsepower. Sound familiar? Throw in rumors that the motor will make it stateside in one form or another, and it’s hard to not get at least a little giddy.
With Honda’s Acura luxury brand breaking cover on the new NSX in Detroit, we have a feeling the Japanese automaker is just getting warmed up for a year packed with activity, both with green alternatives and canyon-carving screamers.