Feb 27, 2024 - Business

Honda's newest hybrid runs on battery electricity and hydrogen

Schematic of the fuel cell system inside a hydrogen powered Honda CR-V utility vehicle.

Honda's CR-V e:FCEV is a plug-in hybrid that stores compressed hydrogen on board. Photo courtesy of Honda

Honda introduced on Tuesday a new zero-emissions version of its popular CR-V crossover utility: a plug-in hybrid that runs on battery electricity and hydrogen.

Why it matters: The CR-V e:FCEV (Couldn't Honda come up with a better name?) is part of the automaker's broader effort to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

  • Honda plans to sell only zero-emissions automobiles — meaning battery-electric or fuel cell electric vehicles — by 2040.

The intrigue: Plug-in hybrids, which run on electricity around town and use a gasoline engine for longer trips, are increasingly common. But Honda has a unique take on the technology.

  • The e:FCEV recharges on an ordinary household outlet and offers up to 29 miles of electric driving range for daily errands.
  • It uses a hydrogen fuel cell system, rather than a gasoline engine, for longer distances.
  • The fuel cell system is manufactured by Honda and General Motors at a newly opened joint factory in Michigan.

The catch: You've gotta fill up with hydrogen somewhere — and the U.S. has only 52 hydrogen refueling stations, all in California.

  • The e:FCEV will be available for leasing exclusively there, starting later this year.

What to watch: Honda says it has other markets in mind to expand its hydrogen business, including backup power stations, commercial vehicles and construction machinery.

Go deeper: Hydrogen vehicles could finally have their moment

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