In 2013 Honda showed their highly aerodynamic FCev concept car. The production version has been revealed and is surprisingly close in feel to the ’13 car.
The objectives with the FCev are for a vehicle to produce 100kW from its fuel-cell stack and carry four adults. The aerodynamically creased body shell reduces the cD in an overt way we have not seen for two decades. This promises 300 miles of range, which is not so bad if you recall that the Citroen CX GTi got by with a 280 mile range. If you drive an Aston Martin hard you can get considerably less.
Among the changes to the 2013 concept car (above) are that the wheel arches are now fared in to a lesser extent, and reminiscent of said CX. The swoopy, arrowlike shape has been deformed to fit a more realistic package. While considerably less sleek, it is still a remarkably pure design which manages to look bold without being contrived.
The ’13 concept car had a more pronounced inward rip forward of the rear axle and its black cladding around the sills has been toned down for production. There is also the addition of an extra styling crease over the rear wheel arch on the 2016 car; had the rear axle been narrower of track than the front (as Citroen used to do) they could have avoided this addition.
Curiously, the side glass line has the same upward flicks at the front and back as can be found the current Citroen C5.
The fuel cell concept is also being explored by Toyota who announced details of the Mirai today. While there is the distinct lack of infrastructure available for fuel cell cars, this can be counterpointed by the difficulties that pertain to electric charging. The main claimed advantage is the dramatically reduced charging time. Honda say that it can take under a few minutes to re-tank the car with hydrogen while electrically powered vehicles can require several hours, depending on the level of charge needed.
We haven’t covered so much Honda news here at DTW but this vehicle shows a lot of promise, both in engineering terms and in the clarity of its aesthetics. I am particularly impressed with the skilful job done in translating the style of the 2013 car to the production model (which is effectively what the car shown yesterday is).
As a side note, PSA have announced that the DS brand will become a standalone line of cars but have very clearly said that the identity of the cars will be led by “style”, “design” and “French flair” rather than engineering. In the light of this production-ready car from Honda where the styling reflects real aerodynamic characteristics, PSA’s arguments for DS seem rather thin.