Committed to the 2015 rollout of Honda’s new FCEV, the company’s Torrance Headquarters campus has recently been fitted with a fast-fill charging unit oriented to furthering the development and support of its hydrogen-based cars. The utility system, branded as the ‘MC Fill’, will establish and evolve a series of standard applications protocols that can, ultimately be directly applied to daily H2 vehicular operations.
The Honda system employs a 700 bar (70MPa or 10,000 psi) compressor that projects a reduced fill-time by up to 45%. The goal-set also calls for an in-and-out cycle time of 3 minutes, when operating within ‘normal’ temperature ranges (typically 15c/50f to 32c/90f). The system is integrated with temperature-sensor packaging that alters pressures to accommodate ambient conditions, in order to maintain optimum flow during throughout a filling regime.
According to Steve Mathison, Senior Engineer at Honda R&D Americas, “In order to meet customer expectations, hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicles need driving ranges and fueling times comparable to conventional gasoline vehicles. This new fueling (system) will allow FCEV customers everywhere to realize short fueling times over a wide range of temperatures.”
It might be remembered that Honda has been working on the practical application of H2 fuel-cell operations for nearly 20 years, beginning with initial work with fleet and lease operators, and subsequently evolved to become the 2002 rollout of its first consumer hydrogen practical prototype entitled the FCX. This, in turn, lead to a more sophisticated consumer test-bed, branded as the FCX Clarity in 2008.
In November 2013, Honda announced a full-blown FCEV concept car at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Information associated with the vehicle suggested that a consumer variant could be introduced to U.S. and Japanese markets in 2015. In turn, successful deployment to these markets would trigger a series of follow-on rollouts based on scheduled events across various European markets. The proposed concept suggested final packaging that employed the integration of both fuel-cell and engine components within a common operating bay, thereby creating and increasing additional useful space.