American Honda Motor Co., Inc., announced today the one-year anniversary of the world's first lease of a hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicle to an individual retail customer. The anniversary marks the halfway point of a successful leasing partnership between American Honda and the Los Angeles-based Spallino family.
The FCX is currently being used for everyday activities, having logged several thousand miles, largely on trips to the supermarket, soccer practices and long work commutes. Twelve months since the beginning of the lease, the FCX has met the driving needs of the family, while providing valuable, real-world feedback to Honda on the expectations and requirements needed for the technology to move forward. Acting as impromptu fuel cell vehicle educators, the family is no stranger to being stopped by the public asking about their experiences or to ask for a ride in the car of the future.
"I am surprised at the amount of attention and rubbernecking received while driving the FCX," said Jon Spallino, the first individual fuel cell vehicle retail customer in the world. "Despite being a developing technology, we have not suffered from any reliability issues and the car has all the comforts and conveniences we need."
"The lease of the Honda FCX to the Spallino family demonstrates the real-world viability of fuel cell vehicle technology and its ability to meet the needs of a family on an ongoing basis," said Gunnar Lindstrom, senior manager of Alternative Fuels Sales and Marketing. "Honda will continue to evolve and refine hydrogen vehicle technology based on feedback from real world customers, and we'll see that expressed in future models"
The Spallino family, living in the Los Angeles area, is the first to begin utilizing California's first hydrogen stations that are part of a planned statewide network of refueling stations know as the "Hydrogen Highway". Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger made the commitment to build the Hydrogen Highway in April 2005, creating a public and private partnership to build California's Hydrogen Highway by 2010.
The FCX is powered by Honda's originally developed fuel cell stack (Honda FC Stack) with the breakthrough capability to start and operate at sub-freezing temperatures as low as -4 degrees Fahrenheit, along with increased performance, range and fuel efficiency compared with earlier models. The FCX was the first fuel cell vehicle to be listed in the EPA's fuel economy guide in 2003. The FCX carries an EPA city/highway rating of 62/51 miles per gallon and a range of 210 miles.
Honda (NYSE: HMC) is one of today's leading manufacturers of automobiles and power products and the largest manufacturer of motorcycles in the world. With more than 120 manufacturing facilities in 30 countries worldwide, Honda now attracts more than 20 million customers annually. More than 75 percent of the automobiles and light trucks that Honda sells in the U.S. are built in North America using domestic and globally sourced parts and increasingly, many of these products are developed in America as well.