Honda FCX Clarity a surprise backup energy system powered by hydrogen and solar energyApril 10, 2012
Honda hydrogen powered car goes hybrid.
Honda has announced plans to upgrade its FCX Clarity’s energy system into a hybrid of hydrogen and solar power. The Clarity was released four years ago and has been powered entirely by hydrogen fuel throughout that time. Honda believes that a hybrid energy system will make the vehicle more appealing to consumers and will establish the Clarity as one of the leading alternative energy vehicles currently available. The hybrid system does not serve a singular purpose, however, and the Clarity may be a very useful tool in the event of a natural disaster.
The vehicle includes a small 9 kilowatt generator that is charged by the vehicle’s solar power system. The generator includes power outlets that will allow users to charge mobile devices and use the energy of the generator to power their homes. Honda claims that the generator could be a boon in the event of a catastrophic power outage caused by a natural disaster or energy grid failure. The Clarity is currently the only production vehicle that combines solar and hydrogen power.
Last year, Japan fell victim to a massive earthquake that caused damage in many of the Northern provinces. The quake generated a monstrous tsunami that dealt a harsh blow to the country’s energy infrastructure and sparked a nuclear crisis that threatened to be significantly worse than the Chernobyl event. The disaster left thousands of Japanese citizens without power for several weeks. This is one of the reasons Honda decided to upgrade the Clarity’s energy system; in the event of another natural disaster, the car can be used as a backup power source.
The Clarity can be used to provide electricity to a household, but not enough to keep it powered for more than 9 hours maximum. The Clarity may not be alone in the market for long, as both Nissan and Mitsubishi have plans for similar energy systems. Both automakers projects will not be ready before next year, however, which means the Clarity will enjoy its plans as a unique alternative energy vehicle for the time being.