Honda launches CR-V e:FCEV plug-in hybrid on hydrogen

Honda has unveiled the CR-V e:FCEV, a plug-in hybrid SUV variant that combines a rechargeable battery with a hydrogen fuel cell drivetrain. It will be launched in the US and aims to combine the flexibility of a PHEV with a permanent zero-emissions drivetrain.

Honda is one of the few car manufacturers still working on hydrogen fuel cell technology for passenger cars, with the FCX Clarity and the second-gen Clarity as competitors for the Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Nexo. But with the infrastructure seemingly not taking off, especially for light-duty vehicles, the Japanese manufacturer has thought of a more flexible solution.

The Honda CR-V e:FCEV is based on the regular CR-V model, with a leasing formula becoming available for California customers later in 2024 /Honda

Up to 270-mile range

The Honda CR-V e:FCEV is based on the regular CR-V model, but instead of a regular plug-in hybrid drivetrain, it replaces its combustion engine with a hydrogen fuel cell. The rechargeable 17.7 kWh battery offers up to 29 miles (47 km) of range for daily use, while the 4.3 kg fuel cell adds 241 miles (388 km) for longer trips, where it can refuel quickly, just like a combustion engine.

The fuel cell module was co-developed with General Motors, while a front-mounted 174-hp electric motor provides the drive. However, the trunk space has been severely compromised to accommodate the hydrogen tank.

The Honda CR-V e:FCEV is not without compromise, as a large part of the trunk had to be sacrificed to make room for both the batteries and hydrogen tank /Honda

Small volume only

However, it seems that Honda is not planning to build many plug-in hybrid hydrogen CR-Vs. It will only be launched in California through a leasing formula, but prices are unknown.

The model will be built at Honda’s Performance Manufacturing Center in Ohio, which previously built the NSX supercar and specializes in small-volume production.

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