Honda recently announced production of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles under the brand name "FCX Clarity"
Since Honda is only planning a production run of 200 and the only places to replenish the tank with hydrogen are in Southern California, it's unlikely that many of us will be checking out the specs with a view to leasing one. Nonetheless, Honda created a flashy web site to show off the fascinating new technology:
I'm sure that this site has garnered a lot of attention since Honda's announcement. I haven't done a formal usability evaluation of the site, but I played around for a few minutes and was able to find the answers to a few questions that I had. That's a fair indicator that it's not horribly difficult to use.
The site seems to avoid detailed scientific explanations of the physics inside the fuel cell itself. For most people (myself included) that's probably a wise design decision. Overall, I came away feeling like I learned something and had some fun — and I think that's what the site designers intended.
Of course, I still have nagging doubts about the safety of carrying a tank of hydrogen under a moving vehicle. I'm still skeptical that it's better to manufacture, store and transport hydrogen with a view to producing electricity inside a vehicle rather than just charging up some batteries. And I'm still doubtful that hydrogen gas stations will become ubiquitous, as they would need to be for this vehicle to become a widely used form of transport.
But… I spent some time exploring the site. I came away impressed with Honda's technology prowess. I will remember that Honda is investing money in alternative fuels. And perhaps I'm one step closer to being a Honda brand advocate.
Score (after five minutes of play):
Honda Clarity Web Site: 1 Natural skeptic: 0