This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

March 03, 2004

Honda Fuel Cell Vehicle Passes Cold-Weather Test

Photo of Honda fuel cell.

Honda's fuel cell, mounted on the frame of the FCX.
Credit: Honda Motor Company

Honda Motor Company, Ltd. announced on February 27th that its fuel cell vehicle, the Honda FCX, has passed cold-weather tests. Cold-weather performance is a major technical hurdle for fuel cell vehicles, since moisture in the fuel cells can freeze and damage the cell. Honda tested the vehicle on its test track and on public roads in northern Japan. After being parked outside in temperatures as low as 12 degrees Fahrenheit, the vehicle started successfully. The Honda FCX incorporates a fuel cell stack developed by Honda. See the Honda press release.

While the main vehicular application for fuel cells is cars and trucks, researchers are examining a wide range of possible uses. Hydrogenics Corporation, for instance, is launching an initiative to develop fuel-cell drive trains for light off-road vehicles, such as ground-support vehicles at airports. Thinking a bit bigger, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) has ordered eight fuel cells from Nuvera Fuel Cells as part of its effort to develop a fuel-cell-powered locomotive. The train would run on 1.2 megawatts of fuel cells. Not big enough for you? How about a fuel-cell-powered warship? The Office of Naval Research (ONR) is investigating fuel cells for a future naval destroyer, starting first with the problem of converting diesel fuel to hydrogen. DOE's Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory is helping with that issue. DOD is also thinking small: it's testing out a fuel-cell-powered Segway personal transporter. See the news from Hydrogenics, Nuvera, the ONR, and the DOD Fuel Cell Programs.