2017 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell
2017 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell
The world’s most advanced fuel cell vehicle
Sedan layout for five occupants – a world first for a fuel cell vehicle
Innovative downsizing of the fuel cell stack enables the complete powertrain to be housed under the bonnet
Lightweight, high-strength frame with a body that showcases advanced streamlined design
Longest maximum driving range rating of any zero-emission vehicle, offering approximately 650 kilometers under NEDC conditions
The all-new 2017 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell is a showcase for advanced aerodynamic design, with features that help to smooth the airflow around the car. The innovations complement the Honda Clarity Fuel Cell’s lightweight and high-strength body frame, featuring a world-first application of high-tensile lambda-type steel that offers excellent formability.
Ultra-high tensile steel, aluminium and composites are used for 55 percent of the frame and body materials, which is significantly higher than the typical proportion of around 29 percent in other Honda sedans. As a result, the car’s unibody weighs approximately 15 percent less than an equivalent gasoline vehicle’s, which helps to boost its efficiency compared to rivals.
Honda’s "Advanced Modern Lounge" theme for the cabin reflects the harmony of advanced technology and affords superior levels of comfort.
The all-new Honda Clarity Fuel Cell 2017 is the world’s most advanced fuel cell vehicle, and delivers the longest maximum driving range of any zero-emission vehicle: approximately 650kilometers under NEDC conditions, based on Honda’s internal tests.
Its state-of-the-art fuel cell stack is smaller than in its predecessor – the FCX Honda Clarity – yet has a higher power output. Innovative downsizing of the individual cells within the stack has enabled the complete unit to be housed on top of the motor, gearbox and Power Control Unit assembly.
The all-new Honda Clarity Fuel Cell (2017) is the first production car equipped with Honda’s two-stage supercharging electric turbo air compressor. The compressor further helps to downsize the powertrain, enabling a smaller fuel cell stack by boosting the intake supply pressure. A newly-developed Fuel Cell Voltage Control Unit delivers 500V to the drive motor, enabling it to produce 30 percent higher motor output than its predecessor.
The arrival of the 2017 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell in Europe is a key part of Honda’s "Electric Visio", announced at the 2017 Geneva MotorShow, which aims to have electrified powertrains in two thirds of its cars sold in Europe by 2025. The Honda Clarity Fuel Cell reinforces Honda’s continued efforts to drive increased adoption of fuel cell vehicles and the creation of a viable hydrogen refuelling infrastructure across the continent. Honda will run a dedicated fleet of Honda Clarity Fuel Cell (2017)vehicles in European demonstration projects until 2022, showcasing its advanced fuel cell leadership, as well as the impressive real-world performance of these vehicles.
A fuel cell powertrain that fits under the bonnet
The comprehensive programme of downsizing all components and materials in the all-new Honda Clarity Fuel Cell means the new, slimmer fuel cell stack can be housed under the bonnet and on top of the motor, gearbox and PCU (Power Control Unit) assembly.
The reduction in packaging requirements in the underfloor area means that the car is a fuel cell sedan that can accommodate five occupants in comfort – a world first. The complete fuel cell powertrain under the bonnet is comparable in size to Honda’s latest 3.5-l. V6 gasoline engine and transmission.
More space was freed up under the bonnet by reorienting the main drive motor, gearbox and a new PCU. The latter combines the PDU (Power Drive Unit) and the battery VCU (Voltage Control Unit) of the FCX Clarity into a smaller housing, representing another space-saving innovation. The overall drive motor assembly was rotated through 90 degrees, taking the assembly from a vertical to a horizontal orientation. By combining functions and reorienting the motor unit, Honda was able to shrink the height of the assembly by 34 percent.
Two-stage supercharging air compressor
Situated at the base of the powertrain next to the motor assembly, Honda’s two-stage supercharging electric turbo air compressor is used for the first time in a production car.
While the narrower gas flow paths in each fuel cell boost the power density of the stack, they require air to be supplied at a much higher pressure. Honda therefore designed a new electric turbo compressor that boosts the air supply pressure by 70 percent. The turbo air pump is enhanced by two different superchargers, one at each end of the compressor motor’s axis, providing the higher level of boost that enables the smaller stack.
The new electric turbo air compressor is significantly quieter than the previous-generation air pump, which has therefore enabled the amount of sound-suppression materials in the new car to be reduced by 60 percent – saving weight and packaging requirements. The compressor is also 40 percent smaller than the air pump, which further benefitted Honda’s goal of reducing the overall powertrain size.
Sophisticated, aerodynamic exterior design with an eco-friendly interior and outstanding cabin refinement
- Design emphasises "stateliness" and "gracefulness";
- Fastback roofline with unique "bird back" tail shape joins with other aerodynamic features to enable optimum efficiency;
- Low environmental-impact materials including Ultrasuede® used for 80 percent of interior surface finishes;
- Total Air Quality Management system deodorises air in the cabin and removes allergens.
Honda’s design team focused on two key themes for the all-new Honda Clarity: "stateliness" and "gracefulness". In order to express a clear signature for its environmental flagship, Honda has incorporated advanced new styling elements. Its futuristic take on the new Honda family ‘face’ – as seen on the all-new Civic – uses ultra-thin LED headlights and unique daytime-running lights.
The "Advanced Modern Lounge" interior theme of the 2017 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell reflects the harmony of advanced technology and supreme cabin comfort. Thanks to the innovative packaging of the complete fuel cell powertrain under the bonnet, the all-new Honda Clarity Fuel Cell offers a sedan layout that can accommodate five occupants –unique in its class.
The main aerodynamic goal for the exterior design was to maximise driving range, without compromising the spacious cabin layout or the forward-thinking styling. As a result, the all-new sedan is a showcase for advanced streamlining.
The sleek aerodynamic profile helps to reduce turbulence around the car, a fastback roofline sloping down to meet the high boot lid and creating a unique "bird back" tail shape. The smooth glasshouse helps to disrupt the vortices generated at the A- and C-pillars, while the swooping tail reduces air resistance at the back of the car – mitigating a typical airflow problem that affects sedans in particular.
Innovative aerodynamic body features help to further reduce drag and boost efficiency, which ultimately helps to increase the driving range. Air is channelled in through ducts in the front bumper and guided out of the wheel arch ahead of the tyre, to help smooth the airflow around the wheel arch .
Meanwhile, airflow at the waist line is smoothed directly over the rear tyre using partial covers that cut across the top of the wheel arches. The lower airflow, just above the side skirt, is channelled through an inlet ahead of the rear wheel arch, and is then released out and over the rear tyre, helping to reduce the turbulence of air around the wheel arch.
Airflow is carefully managed through the car using ducting behind the open areas at the front, rather than mesh grille covers. Instead of a large opening that air can flow into in an uncontrolled manner, the 2017 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell has specific ducting to guide air to where it is needed, whether for cooling or aerodynamic streamlining purposes. Furthermore, underfloor covers ensure that the airflow under the car is not disturbed by unnecessary extrusions.
The bodywork is not the only area to benefit from Honda’s expertise in aerodynamics. A unique "hybrid" alloy wheel comprises an 18 in. five-spoke alloy, which is capped by a durable 10-spoke circular trim featuring a line of moulded ridges on every other spoke. These ridges help to draw out and discharge air from inside the wheels, which is beneficial to the aerodynamics as well as improving wheel cooling. The wheels are shod in newly-developed low rolling-resistance tyres: 235/45 R18 Bridgestone ECOPIA EP160.
An additional design feature is the application of laser welding between the roof panel and side rails – a first for Honda. The seam between the side rails and roof panel does not use a conventional rubber trim strip to seal the join. Instead, Honda’s use of "laser brazing" creates a fine seal between the panels that is more sophisticated than using conventional rubber trim.
Excellent sound insulation for a peaceful driving experience
Outstanding refinement is aided by the use of high-efficiency insulating materials, including: dashboard inner and outer insulators; insulating covers beneath the drive motor and on the underside of the bonnet; windscreen and door windows made from specific noise-insulating glass; sound-supressing wheel arch liners at the front and rear; a front sub-frame undertray; and noise-insulating carpets.
Eco-friendly and recycled materials
Low environmental-impact materials are used for approximately 80 percent of the interior surface finishes, bolstering Honda Clarity Fuel Cell’s credentials as an environmentally-conscious flagship. An eco-friendly Ultrasuede finish across the dashboard and door cards is manufactured through a low-energy process that uses recycled polyester. Elsewhere, the majority of the seating upholstery is trimmed with "Prime Smooth" synthetic leather, with a bio-yarn fabric backing to improve the texture.
A black Rosewood film finish on the dashboard structure produces an authentic appearance without the associated environmental impact of using real veneer. To produce an appearance virtually indistinguishable from natural material, Honda carefully mirrored the patterns of real wood grains. Completing the list of eco-friendly finishes, while a plant-based material is used to create the fibres for the noise-insulating carpets and roof lining fabric.
The Honda Clarity Fuel Cell makes use of Honda’s Total Air Quality Management system, which cleans, deodorises and removes allergens from the air before it reaches the cabin. An air quality sensor works with a high-performance allergy-free deodorising filter, before the air is subjected to oxygen catalyst and ion-generator technologies.
Air passing through the vents at the top of the dashboard is treated with innovative Plasmacluster Ion Technology to remove contaminants. Unlike conventional "ionisers" which produce only negative ions and do not deactivate contaminants, Plasmacluster produces both positive and negative ions, which can effectively destroy contaminants at the molecular level.
Air passing through the lower level vents is treated via an oxygen catalysis process, whereby allergens or bacteria are absorbed, deactivated and broken apart. Air kept in the ventilation cycle around the car is further cleaned by a Triple Fresh deodorising filter at the rear of the cabin.
Advanced in-car infotainment
Standard equipment includes advanced in-car infotainment, which aims to improve the presentation of information to the driver and ensure intuitive operation.
A new 8 in. central monitor incorporates a larger viewing angle display to improve visibility from oblique positions.
Connectivity to the monitor is made possible by a cable, or by using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto smartphone integration. A link between the central monitor and the instrument display ahead of the driver means that certain operating functions can be displayed on the meter behind the steering wheel, to enable easier visibility at a glance.
A Fuel Cell Power Monitor displays the status of the fuel cell powertrain and storage, with real-time fuel cell power use shown by a glowing blue ball graphic, which changes size according to the energy being discharged. Complementing this information for the driver, the Internavi on-demand telematics system shows real-time status information about the nearest hydrogen stations on the navigation display.
Advanced standard features also include a keyless smart entry system and Honda’s Premium Audio System. The latter provides a high-grade, professional sound experience, using a 12-speaker, 540-watt setup with a premium amplifier.
Refined, high-output motor and offering the longest driving range
of any zero-emission vehicle
- Longest maximum driving range rating of any zero-emission vehicle, offering approximately 650 kilometers under NEDC conditions;
- Powerful and refined drive motor with a maximum output of 130kW and a newly-developed Fuel Cell Voltage Control Unit;
- Sophisticated multi-link rear suspension setup for excellent ride comfort and secure handling.
The all-new Honda Clarity Fuel Cell is the most fuel efficient hydrogen car in the world. Its pair of fuel tanks have a combined capacity of approximately 5 kilograms of hydrogen, enabling an unrivalled maximum driving range of approximately 650 kilometers under NEDC conditions, based on Honda’s internal tests.
A newly-developed FCVCU (Fuel Cell Voltage Control Unit) delivers input voltage of 500V to the main drive motor, delivering a 30 percent improvement in motor output while reducing the number of cells in the fuel cell stack.
To create a thinner FCVCU, newly-developed silicon-carbide power semiconductors are used, which operate at a switching frequency four times higher than conventional silicon – a world first for a production vehicle.
The drive motor’s maximum rotational speed of 13,000rpm is the highest in any of Honda’s fuel cell vehicles to date. Its maximum output is 130 kW and maximum torque is 17 percent higher than its predecessor’s, with a peak of 300Nm.
A more refined experience
Despite having a higher power output and a faster maximum rotational speed, the main drive motor is quieter and more refined than the previous Clarity’s motor. Additional structural ribs on the casing of the motor improve the rigidity of the unit and reduce vibrations. Torque fluctuations from the magnetic locking effect in the motor mechanism have been reduced, by using twice the number of skewed rotor bars. As a result, the motor sound transmitted to the interior when the car is accelerating is significantly lower.
The driver is offered two driving modes. "Normal" is the default mode, offering a relaxed setup for driving in all conditions, with a rapid accelerator response and linear drive force. "Sport" mode facilitates a more exhilarating driving experience delivering a quicker response for faster acceleration. In addition, there is improved motor regeneration response when the accelerator pedal is released, with higher g-force in the deceleration phase.
Reducing weight and improving stability
Aluminium panelling is used for various inner and outer skins of the Honda Clarity Fuel Cell to save weight, front wings, including the bonnet, doors and boot lid. The front sub-frame also comprises a hollow die-cast aluminium section, which is a world-first on a production car. The aluminium rear sub-frame provides high rigidity, improving steering stability and weight distribution under heavy loads.
To help achieve a combination of excellent ride comfort and secure handling, the Honda Clarity Fuel Cell features a sophisticated multi-link rear suspension setup with five forged aluminium control arms. At the front, the new car uses MacPherson struts with hollow knuckles, forged lower arms and high-strength aluminium tie-rods.
High-strength, lightweight chassis features world-first construction techniques
- World-first application of high lambda-type 980MPa-class high-tensile steel, enabling high-strength rigidity within a much slimmer stamping;
- High lambda-type steel can be press-formed into a single-piece complex shape more readily than conventional 980MPa plates;
- Makes extensive use of aluminium, composites and ultra-high tensile steel;
- Features Honda’s next-generation Advanced Compatibility Engineering collision-force dispersion technology.
The all-new Honda Clarity Fuel Cell 2017 is built on a bespoke high-strength chassis. A robust passenger cell is formed in ultra-high tensile 1500MPa-class hot stamp steel for core strength. In a world-first application, newly-developed high lambda-type 980MPa-class high tensile steel is used in critical strength areas of the frame, including floor cross-members.
This high lambda-type 980MPa-class high-tensile steel can be press-formed into complex single-piece shapes with similar ease to 590MPa- or 780MPa-class plates, but it retains the high strength and rigidity within a much slimmer stamping. These slimmer sections enable more widespread use of this high-strength steel on the (2017) Honda Clarity Fuel Cell, saving weight compared to conventional steel stampings.
The proportion of ultra-high tensile steels in the body frame is significantly higher than in a typical gasoline sedan. While these stampings are much stronger than lower-grade steel, they are also much lighter, helping the body frame to weigh approximately 15 percent less than that of an equivalent gasoline sedan.
The typical proportion of aluminium, composites and ultra-high tensile steel in an equivalent gasoline car is around 29 percent. In the all-new Honda Clarity Fuel Cell this material mix represents 55 percent of the frame and body materials.
A world-first material application is present in the use of a GFRP (glassfibre-reinforced plastic) hybrid moulding for the rear bumper beam. The front bulkhead is manufactured with a resin-based hybrid structure with aluminium compornents, and is bolstered by a newly-developed bumper beam using 7000-series high-strength alminium alloys .
Enhancing occupant protection
The car uses Honda’s next-generation ACE (Advanced Compatibility Engineering) body structure. ACE uses a network of connected structural elements with extensive use of high-tensile steel to distribute and disperse crash energy more evenly throughout the front of the vehicle.
The straight-frame body provides a superb base structure that achieves excellent collision-force dispersion characteristics. A network of front frame structures absorb and deflect collision forces from a frontal impact efficiently, reducing the forces transferred to the cabin, as well as more evenly dispersing the forces transferred to other vehicles involved.
Building end-user adoption of fuel cell vehicles in Europe and improving the hydrogen infrastructure
- Arrival of (2017) Honda Clarity Fuel Cell in Europe is a key part of Honda’s new "Electric Vision";
- Trials of fuel cell cars will help to develop a viable refuelling infrastructure;
- Honda will run a dedicated fleet of new Honda Clarity Fuel Cell vehicles in European demonstration projects until 2022.
The arrival of the all-new Honda Clarity Fuel Cell in Europe is a key part of Honda’s new "Electric Vision". The strategy, announced at the 2017 Geneva MotorShow by Honda Motor Europe’s President and COO, Katsushi Inoue, has a specific aim of having electrified powertrains in two thirds of European cars sold by 2025.
Honda Clarity Fuel Cell in particular highlights Honda’s continued efforts to increase the adoption of fuel cell vehicles. As well as actively promoting the benefits to end users and demonstrating the advanced technology, the trials of fuel cell cars across Europe will also help to develop a viable refuelling infrastructure.
Honda will run a dedicated fleet of new Honda Clarity Fuel Cell vehicles in European demonstration projects until 2022, showcasing its advanced fuel cell leadership, as well as the impressive real-world vehicle performance.
The company’s involvement with fuel cell demonstrations in Europe began with the first test drive of the FCX hydrogen hatchback in 2005. The unveiling of the next FCX Concept was followed in 2008 by test drives of that vehicle on Gotland Island, Sweden. Two examples of the first production version, the FCX Clarity, were introduced to Europe in 2009 to support the Clean Energy Partnership initiative in Germany, showcasing the capability and analysing the usage characteristics of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
As well as demonstrating its leadership in the development of fuel cell technology, Honda’s new Clarity Fuel Cell fleet will also encourage government confidence in fuel cell vehicles, and influence provisions for their future use. Demonstrations of the vehicle across Europe will further ensure that skills of Honda servicing agents are updated to prepare for the introduction of alternative powertrains to the Honda model range.
Honda’s participation in European hydrogen fuel cell projects will help to greatly increase the number of hydrogen refuelling stations across the region. The number of hydrogen refuelling stations constructed as part of the demonstration project alone will increase from six in 2017 to 55 by 2022.
Five-door, five-seat sedan with unitary construction bodyshell. Compact and efficient hydrogen fuel cell powertrain driving the front wheels.