TORRANCE, Calif., Nov. 19, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Seeking to expand California's public hydrogen refueling station network as a means to support the wider introduction of fuel-cell vehicles, Honda will provide $13.8 million in financial assistance to FirstElement Fuel to build additional hydrogen refueling stations around the state. Additional state grants, combined with the Honda financing, could enable FirstElement to add at least 12 stations to its California hydrogen network.
"FirstElement Fuel is providing a vital piece of what is needed for a successful launch of fuel-cell vehicles," said Steven Center, vice president of Honda's Environmental Business Development Office. "Through this collaboration, FirstElement will enable our customers to experience hydrogen refueling that is as reliable, convenient and consumer-friendly as the vehicles are."
FirstElement received grants totaling nearly $27 million from the California Energy Commission earlier this year to build a network of 19 stations around the state. The state of California has a plan to invest $200 million into hydrogen station development over the next several years. This financial support from Honda, along with anticipated future grants from the State of California, will allow FirstElement to expand its network of stations by more than 50 percent, to at least 31 stations.
"This is an extremely positive step forward for the advancement of fuel-cell vehicles in the State of California," said Joel Ewanick, CEO of FirstElement Fuel. "We're so grateful for the confidence that Honda has shown in our team, and for Honda's leadership in the development and deployment of fuel-cell vehicles."
FirstElement Fuel is on its way to creating the world's first true retail hydrogen refueling network by developing and operating stations in California's metro areas, as well as in connector and destination locations. The company's goal is for drivers of fuel-cell vehicles to be able to travel seamlessly throughout the state, just as they are able to in a conventional gasoline vehicle today. As one of the leaders in the development of fuel cells, Honda has advocated for a robust and comprehensive network of hydrogen refueling stations to serve its customers.
Honda has led the industry for nearly two decades in the development and deployment of fuel-cell technology through extensive real world testing, including the first government fleet deployment and first retail customer lease programs in the United States. Honda has also made significant technological advancements in fuel cell operation in both hot and sub-freezing temperatures and in meeting safety regulations, since the introduction of its first generation fuel-cell vehicle, the FCX, in 2002. Honda launched its more recent fuel-cell vehicle, the FCX Clarity, in July 2008 as a real technological breakthrough in the areas of design, sedan packaging, assembly line manufacturing, and fuel-cell stack size and efficiency, winning the 2009 "World Green Car of the Year" award.
On November 17, 2014, the Honda FCV Concept was unveiled in Japan, pointing the way to an all-new Honda fuel-cell vehicles slated for launch first in Japan by March 2016 followed by launches in the U.S. and Europe. Honda's next-generation fuel-cell vehicle will feature a fuel-cell powertrain packaged completely in the engine room of the vehicle, allowing for efficiencies in cabin space as well as flexibility in the potential application of fuel-cell technology to multiple vehicle types in the future. The next-generation Honda FCV is anticipated to have a driving range of more than 300 miles.
Honda Environmental Leadership
Based on its vision of "Blue Skies for our Children," Honda is working to advance technologies that address society's environmental and energy concerns through a diverse lineup of products and technologies, including more fuel-efficient gasoline engines, natural gas, hybrids, plug-in hybrids, battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and fuel-cell vehicles (FCVs).
Today, Honda is targeting a 30-percent reduction in CO2 emissions from its U.S. automobile product lineup by 2020, compared to 2000 levels. In pursuit of its vision for a zero-carbon future, the company is advancing electromotive technologies in many forms, and is slated to introduce an advanced fuel-cell vehicle in 2016.
In keeping with its commitment to produce vehicles with the lowest CO2 emissions at plants with the smallest environmental footprint, the company is broadly addressing emissions, energy, water use and waste in all phases of its products life cycles. In the manufacturing realm, this includes a 95 percent reduction in waste sent to landfills in North America. Honda is working to extend its "green factory" and "green purchasing" initiatives to its more than 650 parts suppliers in North America and is also pursuing more environmentally responsible business practices among its U.S. dealers.
Honda is also demonstrating its vision for zero-carbon mobility and living with the creation of the Honda Smart Home US, in Davis, California, which was opened in early 2014 and is capable of producing more energy on-site from renewable sources than it consumes annually, including enough energy to power a Honda Fit EV for daily commuting.
SOURCE American Honda Motor Co., Inc.