“Honda’s Strategic Decision: The Advancement of Hydrogen Fueled CR-V e:FCEV”

Just like battery-electric cars 20 years ago, hydrogen fuel cell cars suffer from the old chicken and the egg problem. Nobody wants to buy a fuel cell vehicle until the supporting infrastructure is in place, but it’s tough to invest in infrastructure when nobody owns a fuel cell vehicle. Honda sees four ways to apply the second-generation hydrogen fuel cell: in consumer and commercial fuel cell vehicles, in stationary power stations and in construction machinery. A Honda CR-V with a twistHonda is not new to the hydrogen fuel cell game. 2025 Honda CRV e:FCEV inside and outThe e:FCEV looks a lot like the standard CR-V, but those with sharp eyes will notice a few key differences.

Just like battery-electric cars 20 years ago, hydrogen fuel cell cars face a familiar obstacle: the chicken and the egg dilemma. It’s a catch-22 situation where consumers are not willing to buy a fuel cell vehicle until there is adequate infrastructure in place, but companies are hesitant to invest in infrastructure when there are no fuel cell vehicles on the road.

Honda, however, is taking a different approach and playing the long game. The company has set a lofty goal to sell only zero-emission vehicles by 2040, including both battery electric and fuel cell vehicles. But that’s not all, as Honda plans to become a net-zero carbon emissions company by 2050 across all of its products and facilities.

To achieve this, Honda is focusing on both the chicken (infrastructure) and the egg (vehicles).

The “egg” in this scenario is the new 2025 Honda CR-V e:FCEV – a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle that I had the pleasure of test driving for a day. This model will soon be available for lease in California. While it may seem risky to launch a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle in a country where there is little to no infrastructure, Honda has found a way to mitigate the uncertainty.

The “chicken” in this equation is Honda’s overall strategy towards hydrogen. The company sees potential to apply second-generation hydrogen fuel cells in four different ways: as consumer and commercial vehicles, in stationary power stations, and in construction machinery. By utilizing hydrogen in these various industries, Honda hopes to create a demand for hydrogen, which will in turn incentivize the development of better infrastructure.

“We are doing this to advance the hydrogen economy, because somebody has to,” said Jay Joseph, VP Sustainability and Business Development at Honda, in reference to the company’s ambitious plan.

While the 2025 Honda CR-V e:FCEV is just one piece of Honda’s larger hydrogen puzzle, the company is also exploring other applications for this fuel. For example, they have implemented a 576 kW hydrogen-powered generator as a backup to the grid- and solar-powered data center at their headquarters in Torrance, California. Additionally, Honda is currently developing a Class 8 fuel cell semi-truck as a proof-of-concept in the United States.

The e:FCEV is not Honda’s first foray into the world of hydrogen fuel cells. The company first introduced a fuel cell car, the FCX, in 2003 which was only available for fleet use. Later, Honda released the FCX Clarity and eventually in 2016, the Clarity Fuel Cell was made available to consumers.

Now, eight years later, Honda is incorporating a hydrogen fuel cell into their popular CR-V crossover, but with a twist.

“The e:FCEV can run just on hydrogen, but it also has a 17.7 kWh battery that provides 29 miles of all-electric range. This makes it a plug-in hybrid that replaces the internal combustion engine with a hydrogen fuel cell,”

Honda understands the potential volatility of hydrogen supplies and has taken measures to address this issue. With the added battery backup, there is less stress over fueling and it also improves efficiency for short trips. Honda has found that most Clarity Fuel Cell owners primarily use their vehicles for short distances, typically five to ten miles at a time. Using the battery for these short trips is more efficient than relying solely on the fuel cell.

Behind the Wheel

The 2025 Honda CR-V e:FCEV is equipped with an electric motor that produces 174 horsepower and 229 pound-feet of torque, slightly less than the standard hybrid model.

There are multiple driving modes available, including EV-only, hybrid, and a “save” feature which allows drivers to save the battery charge for later use. While driving in “sport” mode, I didn’t notice any significant difference in terms of steering or throttle response, but I appreciated the ability to adjust the regenerative braking settings.

According to Honda, the CR-V e:FCEV has a range of 270 miles when fully charged and filled with hydrogen. The battery can be charged in under two hours using a Level 2 charger or 10 hours using a standard household outlet. Additionally, the battery can be used to power small home appliances or even Honda’s Moto Compacto electric scooter in case of a power outage.

The company has also announced that they will be subsidizing the cost of hydrogen for CR-V e:FCEV owners, similar to their previous offer for Clarity Fuel Cell owners. However, the specifics of this subsidy have not yet been revealed.

Fuel Cells: A Love Story

The CR-V’s carbon fiber hydrogen tank has a capacity of 4.3 kilograms, and when combined with incoming oxygen atoms, it produces a chemical reaction that generates energy. This energy is then used to power an electric motor, effectively propelling the front wheels of the vehicle.

“The hydrogen atoms and oxygen atoms are like two star-crossed lovers, brought together in a passionate chemical reaction that can only be described as electrifying,”

explained an engineer at Honda.

2025 Honda CR-V e:FCEV: Inside and Out

Visually, the e:FCEV looks similar to the standard CR-V with a few notable differences. It has unique front and rear fascias, larger front overhangs, and a wider grille opening. Other subtle design elements, such as clear taillight lenses and gloss-black 18-inch wheels, give the e:FCEV a distinctive look.

Inside, the vehicle is equipped with a push-button gear selector and eco-friendly materials like faux leather seats and a steering wheel. The digital gauge cluster provides detailed information on power delivery, and the cargo area now includes a two-tiered design with a movable panel, making it more versatile.

The 2025 Honda CR-V e:FCEV is only available in a Touring trim, but it comes with a range of convenient features such as wireless charging, USB-A and -C ports, and a 12-speaker Bose audio system. Additionally, the vehicle is equipped with the Honda Sensing suite of driver assistance technologies and a 9-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Currently, the only other hydrogen fuel cell vehicle on the market is the Toyota Mirai, which might be a more practical option for drivers looking to make longer trips. However, the added battery backup on the CR-V e:FCEV may appeal to those who want a bit more range assurance.

The 2025 Honda CR-V e:FCEV will be available for lease in California this summer, with an expected limited release of around 300 vehicles. While this may seem like a small number, Honda is looking towards the future and betting on the long-term success of hydrogen as a clean energy source.

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Kira Kim

Kira Kim is a science journalist with a background in biology and a passion for environmental issues. She is known for her clear and concise writing, as well as her ability to bring complex scientific concepts to life for a general audience.

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