Honda is doubling down on hydrogen with a new fuel cell SUV

Honda has announced a new hydrogen fuel cell vehicle for the U.S. market, in a sign that the automaker hasn’t given up on the most common element in the universe for its vehicle lineup.

The 2025 Honda CR-V e:FCEV may not roll off the tongue easily, but Honda insists it can find a fan base, especially as hybrid powertrains prove more popular with American car buyers than purely battery-electric vehicles. The fuel cell electric vehicle has an EPA-estimated range of 275 miles, including an all-electric driving range of 29 miles.

The CR-V e:FCEV is a compact crossover SUV co-developed with General Motors using fuel cell modules produced by the company’s Fuel Cell System Manufacturing (FCSM) joint venture in Michigan. It will be available for leasing in California later this year, but pricing details were not immediately available.

The fuel cell modules delivered an estimated power of 92.2 kW, with 174 horsepower and 229 pound-feet of torque. The battery has an energy capacity of 17.7 kWh and can be charged via a normal socket or a level 2 charger. And the FCEV will have bi-directional charging capabilities, delivering a modest 1.5 kW of power for small home appliances or camping equipment.

Size-wise, it’s a CR-V, so don’t expect huge space. The wheelbase is 106.3 inches, the same as the gas-powered 2024 model, with an overall length of 187.6 inches.

The FCEV comes standard with HondaLink, the company’s connected app, which includes information about hydrogen fueling stations. Finding a gas station will be one of the biggest challenges for anyone interested in owning Honda’s new SUV. According to the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Partnership, there are only 55 hydrogen stations in California.

Hydrogen fuel cells use compressed hydrogen as fuel, with water vapor being the only emission. A number of automakers have recently seized on the technology for its benefits in developing heavy-duty vehicles and mobile power generators – and as a way to move further away from polluting gas-powered vehicles and meet their own climate goals.

FCSM was founded in 2017 as a joint venture between GM and Honda. The two automakers have also collaborated on battery-electric vehicles, including the Honda Prologue, Acura ZDX and Cruise Origin.

Hydrogen has had little success in the passenger car market. Honda was one of the few companies to sell a hydrogen-powered car – the Clarity – before it was discontinued in 2017. The problem stems from the almost total absence of a refueling infrastructure. Automakers are now focusing on work trucks and construction equipment, thinking it will be easier to build hydrogen fueling stations for vehicles that travel in tight spaces.

The energy content of hydrogen per volume is low, which makes storing hydrogen a challenge because it requires high pressures, low temperatures or chemical processes to be stored compactly. Overcoming this challenge is important for light vehicles, as they often have limited size and weight capacity for fuel storage.

The Biden administration recently proposed new tax guidelines to make it cheaper to produce hydrogen as a less polluting alternative to fossil fuels. The problem, however, is that most hydrogen is made using fossil fuels, usually through a process called steam methane reforming, which produces carbon dioxide emissions. Methane is an even more potent greenhouse gas than CO2 and routinely escapes throughout the supply chain, from production to end use.

The Honda CR-V e:FCEV only comes in one trim, the Touring model, with a 10.2-inch instrument cluster, a 9-inch central touchscreen, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless phone charging, a Bose audio system with 12 speakers. system and a number of other standard functions. There are four driving modes: Normal, Eco, Sport and Snow.

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