An interesting question was recently posed to all of us here at CarEnvy.ca by the CE Powers that Be: what’s the best vehicle currently in production that we can’t get in Canada today?
Now, had this question not had the limitation it did, my answer might have been a bit different. Still, as it stands, you already know my answer if you a) have the “images” option turned on in your browser, b) have looked at the photo above, and c) follow the auto industry at all.
If you’d like to know why, though—you know what to do.
Firstly, I think the ramifications should be changed to “best car we can’t get almost anywhere” for this one. But it’s technically not a concept anymore, and is in limited production, so I’d argue that it counts.
Secondly, there’s no question that it’s a major milestone in the history of automotive engineering achievement, no matter what your personal stance is on energy sources and politics. That alone is enough to warm every single cell in my geeky little heart through and through.
If you’ve paid any attention to this little wunderkar’s development, chances are you’re already familiar the 100KW 57 L V-Flow Fuel Cell Stack. It produces 134 Hp, has a range of 280 miles on a single tank, and gets the equivalent MPG of 79 (city) / 68 (highway) / 74 (combined). All of which is exceedingly impressive on paper, especially considering that it’s a four-passenger vehicle with ample cargo space that weighs just over 3500lbs, yet it’s got better fuel mileage than my maxi-scooter.
And thirdly, we have the fact that all of the above just wasn’t enough for Honda—they had to take it a few steps further. Evidently, they’ve held the answer to that annoying Black Eyed Peas song all along, and have opted to toss all that junk inside their trunk out in favour of greater cabin room for optimal passenger comfort. That V-Flow Fuel Cell Stack is so small and compact, and its placement between the two front seats freed up so much space that it required a serious rethink of their cabin design, from the utilization of interior space to the sweeping panoramic windscreen that starts nearly at the nose of this astounding vehicle. Oh, and the individual heating/cooling systems mounted inside each seat to optimize the amount of energy necessary for climate control inside such a voluminous vehicle deserve special mention as well.
I’ve read reports that they drive quite well, and was glued to the screen when Captain Slow took one out and pontificated on its wonders on Top Gear. Unfortunately, I can’t offer that sort of opinion of my own just yet, as I’ve never seen one in person, much less ridden in or driven one myself. But debates like this are mostly about being swayed by static information, and with the information currently available, my choice couldn’t possibly have been clearer. In the interest of full disclosure, I should also add that I quite like the look of the FCX Clarity as well.
Some think it’s hideous, and that’s their right. I, myself, think it’s quirky—which is right up my alley.