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Clarity hits the road

Hard cell: Clarity is now being built in the world's first dedicated FCV factory.

Honda puts fuel cell FCX Clarity into production, and calls for hybrid tariff cuts

17 Jun 2008

HONDA’S FCX Clarity fuel cell vehicle entered production last week, almost two decades since the Japanese manufacturer began development on zero-emissions hydrogen-powered transport.

The Clarity is being built in Tochigi, north of Tokyo, at what Honda describes as the world’s first dedicated FCV factory.

Now in its 11th generation of fuel cell vehicles, Honda will lease the vehicle in Japan and the US, where there is a limited hydrogen-refuelling infrastructure.

15 center imageIt plans to build 70 Clarity FCVs per annum, with a total of 200 over three years.

Customers, who include actress Jamie Lee Curtis, will follow a three-year lease term at $US600 per month, including maintenance and collision insurance.

Not to be outdone, Mazda Motor Corp last week announced that it had received approval to begin testing its Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid on public roads in Japan.

The people-moving FCV is claimed to be the world’s first hydrogen hybrid car with a dual-fuel system that enables it to run on either hydrogen or petrol.

Meantime, with so much attention being trained on Toyota and its announcement of Camry Hybrid production in Australia from 2010, the other hybrid player Down Under – Honda – has called for the abolition of tariffs on imported hybrids (such as its petrol-electric Civic) and a cut in other on-road costs.

“As with any new technology, it will take time for hybrids to be widely accepted,” said senior director Lindsay Smalley.

“Honda believes abolishing federal import tariffs and cutting stamp duty and registration on hybrid vehicles would greatly assist their presence on our roads and give consumers a wider choice of hybrid motoring options.”

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