Honda Motor Co. will build a sixth-generation fuel cell electric version CR-V compact crossover from 2024.
In addition to using fuel cell technologywhich promises quick refueling and generous assortmentthe vehicle will have an outlet that will allow drivers to charge the on-board battery for city trips on electricity.
The Japanese automaker will build the vehicles at its Performance Manufacturing Center in Marysville, Ohio. Honda has not said how many fuel-cell CR-Vs it plans to build, but the plant is used to build smaller-volume products and specialty vehicles, such as the Acura NSX hybrid supercar, which ended production this month.
Hondathe world’s largest manufacturer of gasoline engines, has set a tough goal to achieve carbon neutrality for its operations and products by 2050, which includes the complete electrification of its vehicle range by 2040.
Manufacturing fuel cells in the U.S. will help Honda “further explore their great potential in the future of sustainable transportation,” Gary Robinson, vice president of automotive planning and strategy at American Honda Motor Co., said in a statement.
The CR-V’s 2024 fuel cell target date coincides with the launch of Honda’s first battery electric vehicle, Prologue mid-size crossover that will be built in cooperation with General Motors.
In the meantime, Honda will offer hybrid options of its best-selling CR-V, Chord and Civic to reduce emissions and prepare customers for electrification. Although it debuted with the CR-V hybrid, it plans to launch the Accord hybrid in January. The Civic hybrid plan is still pending.
Fuel cell vehicles use a high-pressure hydrogen tank to generate electricity inside the fuel cells, which powers the vehicle’s electric motor. Although the refueling process is comparable to filling a gas tank in both time and process, the lack of hydrogen fueling stations has proved a challenge for automakers such as Honda and Toyotawho develop the technology.
The country’s hydrogen network has so far been concentrated on the west coast, clustered mainly in California. Honda says it has invested $14 million to support infrastructure in the Golden State that has paved the way for zero-emission vehicles.
Since 2013, Honda has been part of H2USA, a private-public partnership with other automakers, hydrogen suppliers and the fuel cell industry to find a cost-effective way to build infrastructure that will deliver affordable and clean hydrogen fuel to the US.