Daily Debrief: Honda's FCX Clarity Video
Daily Debrief: Honda's FCX Clarity Video Transcript
^B00:00:00 [ Music ]
>> Did we just get a glimpse of auto transports' future? Earlier this week, Honda began commercial production of the first hydrogen cell powered car. Welcome to the CNET News.com Daily Debrief. I'm Charlie Cooper, here with CNET's Brian Cooley. Brian, you and I disagree about this, but I wanted to get...
>> A little bit.
>> A little bit.
>> But why is the FX - FCX Clarity not the cat's meow?
>> It's, at the very least, the next wave, Coop, because infrastructure is a big issue. They're gonna roll these out. They said they're going into production. Let's clarify that. They are going to make about 200 of them to float in the Southern California market. One of the first people to get one is Jamie Lee Curtis. That gives you an idea of who they're putting these in the hands of. It's an evangelizing mini-fleet. And you've got to live near a hydrogen fueling station to be approved to lease one of these. And you can't buy one. In other words, this is a big, old road-going beta.
>> But you can rent one for about 600 bucks a month.
>> Yeah. It's a two-year lease, 600 bucks a month, and then it has to go back. It's a big beta. And I admire the fact that it's a production car, and I think it's going to run and operate just like a real solid, stable car. Honda's apparently got this well debugged. I've seen it at the car show circuit. It's well done. It presents like a big Accord, or an entry-level Acura, so it's a nice looking product. It's not like, you know, you had to give up a lot of luxury to get into a super-green car, which is good messaging.
>> But the big thing for me, and I'm sure a lot of other people, is to fill up here in California at $4.50 plus per gallon...
>> Its only emission right now is water. That is as green as you can get.
>> That's a fuel cell car.
>> That's all that it will put out, and that's the ultimate in green. It's also outstanding miles per gallon. Now it's, you know, kilograms of hydrogen per kilometers is the number, but it ...
>> About 70 something?
>> About 74 miles per gallon, Honda says, is the equivalent in terms of if it was a gas car. I'm not sure if they're doing that in terms of volume of fuel, or cost of fuel. I haven't been able to figure out how they did that math, but let's just take it on faith that it's an incredibly high-mileage car that puts out nothing but a little water droplets. I love that. But where are you gonna fill this thing up? The infrastructure we've built up for gas stations in this country over the last 100 years is truly amazing.
>> That's point well taken, but as far as the future goes, this does point in interesting directions. You've got this. You've got electric cars under development.
>> General Motors is talking about the Volt for 2010, perhaps.
>> Yeah. And that's a gas engine plus electric drive train. There are a lot of ways to get to what's electric. By the way, this is an electric car. When we say hydrogen, it's turning hydrogen into electricity in fuel cell, a membrane that causes a chemical reaction and generates voltage. There are also cars that burn hydrogen. Different use of hydrogen, both are very much out there because of supply.
>> I think I know the answer to this question, but since I can't quote myself, let me ask you. Why has it taken this long for Detroit to get its act together? The Japanese seem to be way ahead of us in terms of bringing leading edge technology into auto design.
>> Yeah. And that's a fair thing to say, even today, although the American car companies are building a good number of fuel-efficient cars that are actually desirable now. The new Chevy Malibu is a hot car. Ford's small cars, especially the ones that are coming on right now - the Fusion is a very nice car. And these are good mileage cars, but they aren't breakthroughs. Honda has stayed, for example, mileage and low emissions focused since it's founding. So they get the brand promise and the expertise running for decade after decade, making them more acceptable. And when we think, "What am I going to get with these new, high gas prices?" We think Honda. We think small Toyotas. In fact, I was just reading an article how it is almost impossible to get a Honda Fit right now, or a Honda Civic. The dealers are going out, buying used ones at auction for more than a new one costs because there's no new one to be had because the factory can't keep up. This is where your brand pays off even more than your engineering. The American cars are often as fuel efficient, but they don't have as many models that are as desirable with a brand that we associate with being fuel-efficient.
>> Get away question. In terms of five, ten years hence...
>> ...what is the future? Will it be hydrogen? Will it be electric? Will it be something we don't even know about?
>> I think hydrogen's more than five or ten years out because of infrastructure. And we still don't know if it costs more energy to make hydrogen than it gives us in savings getting away from oil. We haven't done the math yet. I mean I'm not an expert in that, and the physics guys out there will figure that out. But right now we're seeing a big run on two things. Diesels using clean, ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel, which is now getting available nation wide, and even here in California, and also electric combinations. Either a plug-in hybrid that has a small fuel-burning engine, or a regular hybrid, like a Prius. It doesn't ever plug in. And also electric cars, although I think we're gonna see a lot of hybrids and plug-in hybrids coming on strong. All the big manufacturers have said, "We're doing plug-in hybrids now." And a lot of them are doing diesels, companies that have never done diesels before. So, that's what I'm looking for right now. And then down the road, maybe it's hydrogen, but infrastructure is such a big issue. You don't want to go hunting for gas. You want it to be available wherever you go - or hydrogen.
>> In the meantime, we can take our bicycles.
>> Yeah. Have fun with that.
>> Thanks, Brian. On behalf of Brian Cooley, I'm Charlie Cooper. ^M00:05:08 [ Music ]
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