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

July 06, 2005

Honda is First to Lease Fuel-Cell Vehicle to Private Family

Photo of a couple and their two young daughters posing with a two door coupe labeled Honda FCX.

The Spallino family and their Honda FCX.
Credit: Honda

Jon and Sandy Spallino of Redondo Beach, California, are now the first private individuals in the world to lease a fuel-cell vehicle. Though it's usually a rare privilege to drive a fuel-cell vehicle, American Honda Motor Company, Inc. is leasing a 2005 Honda FCX to the Spallino family for two years of everyday use, including commuting to work and daily errands such as dropping the kids off at school. The vehicle requires hydrogen fuel, so the Spallinos will also be the first private citizens to take advantage of fueling stations built under California's Hydrogen Highway initiative. The 2005 FCX has a range of 190 miles and carries a fuel economy rating of 62 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 51 mpg on the highway. Honda didn't make public the terms of the lease. See the Honda press release.

Converting all the vehicles in the United States to fuel-cell vehicles could save up to 6,000 lives each year, according to an article published in the June 24th edition of the journal Science. The study compared the impacts on pollution of today's gasoline and hybrid electric vehicles with fuel cell vehicles fueled with hydrogen, and found the greatest pollution decrease and health benefit for fuel cell vehicles using hydrogen derived from wind power. The study also compared fuel costs. See the Stanford press release.

The U.S. public embraces advances in automotive technology, according to a new poll, and many are expecting success from hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. The poll, sponsored by General Motors Corporation (GM), found that reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil is a much higher priority for Americans than other environmental or economic considerations. Unfortunately for GM, when it comes to meeting that challenge, the poll found that domestic automakers are given much less credit than Japanese automakers. See the GM press release, or go directly to a summary of the report (PDF 60 KB). Download Adobe Reader.