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The Honda FCEV concept has been unveiled at the Los Angeles auto show, previewing a next-generation fuel-cell electric vehicle set to launch in Japan and the US in 2015.

Teased in a sketch last week, the Honda FCEV concept’s fuel-cell powertrain is completely contained in the engine bay – a claimed world first for its type. Honda says the condensed packaging allows for more cabin space and flexibility with applying fuel-cell technology to future vehicles.

According to the Japanese manufacturer, undisclosed advancements to its fuel-cell stack have also resulted in a 33 per cent reduction in stack size compared to the FCX Clarity of 2010 and a more than 60 per cent increase in power density – suggesting a total system output of at least 160kW.

Honda FCEV Concept - 4

Honda claims the FCEV concept will deliver a driving range of more than 482km and offer three-minute refuelling. Matching Toyota‘s refuelling time claim for the production version of its recently revealed FCV concept, the rival Japanese fuel-cell-powered car, while down approximately 60kW, promises a driving range in excess of 500km.

With a body focused on aerodynamics, the five-seat Honda FCEV concept has a smooth front end with front fenders flowing into the bonnet, a heavily curved rear end sitting below an integrated rear spoiler and its rear wheels covered.

American Honda president and CEO Tetsuo Iwamura said while the FCEV is a concept at this stage, “it points toward a very real future”.

Though Honda can trace its long-term commitment to fuel cell and hydrogen technology back to the FCX of 2002, the company is also looking ahead, announcing an agreement with General Motors in July targeting the release of commercially viable systems by 2020.

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