Good afternoon everyone and thank you for joining us.
I think the definition of trust … is being asked to walk through a wall of water without getting wet. And, of course, that wall symbolizes the only by-product from fuel cell electric vehicles … water.
Los Angeles and this LA Auto Show have been the home to a number of major milestones in the advance of Honda fuel cell electric vehicle technology. This includes delivering the first fuel cell vehicle to the City of Los Angeles in 2002 … and I was pleased to introduce our stylish FCX Clarity fuel cell sedan right here in 2007.
Today, we add to this legacy of fuel cell leadership with the introduction of the Honda FCEV Concept.
Our Environmental Vision is expressed as a commitment to realize "the joy and freedom of mobility" … and "a sustainable society where people can enjoy life." This is not a philosophy. It is a vision that guides our challenge to use Honda's unique experience in advanced powertrain and electromotive technologies to advance toward an ultra-low-carbon future … while at the same time, making products that are fun to drive and fun to own.
This commitment is not only for fuel cell electric cars. About three weeks ago, we introduced the new Accord Hybrid, with refined, fun-to-drive performance and the highest EPA fuel-economy rating of any five-passenger sedan … at 50mpg city.
This Honda two-motor hybrid system is part of the Honda Earth Dreams Technology powertrain lineup … designed to deliver both fun-to-drive performance and fuel efficiency at a very high level. Honda's "portfolio" approach to environmental vehicles includes a diverse lineup … with a growing number of alternative-fuel powertrains … Civic Natural Gas … and advanced electromotive technologies … like the Fit EV battery electric vehicle … the Accord Plug-In Hybrid … and our current fuel cell car, the FCX Clarity.
No automaker has more experience with electromotive technology than Honda. And we will continue to advance each of these technologies.
Today, we want to focus on what we believe has the potential to become the ultimate solution to realizing ultra-low carbon mobility … and that is the fuel cell electric vehicle. Using renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, water, biofuel … the fuel cell has tremendous potential for zero-emissions mobility. In addition, fuel cell vehicles have great potential to offer extended range and performance and the utility that car buyers have grown to expect. And this technology can be applied across multiple vehicle types.
Over the past two decades, Honda has many achievements in the effort to advance fuel cell electric vehicles. And we are proud that the FCX Clarity won World Green Car of Year in 2009. As a leader in this area, we continue to develop fuel cell technology for the future.
We have placed our vehicles in the hands of real customers in the U.S. and Japan … as well as testing in the European region for future expansion. This approach has helped Honda break through key barriers in the effort to meet the needs of the mass-market.
We have several of our fuel cell customers with us today, including the worlds-first fuel-cell consumer. [customers stand]
I would like to thank all of you for being with us today … and for playing an important role in advancing Honda fuel cell vehicle technology. Thank you.
Step-by-step we have continued to advance our know-how and innovation for electric motors, batteries and other electric drive technologies.
And we are using this expertise in the effort to develop fuel cell vehicles that are as fun to drive, convenient and affordable as the gasoline and hybrid cars on the road today.
Today, I am pleased to announce that in 2015, Honda will launch its next-generation fuel cell vehicle ... in the U.S. and Japan … and then in Europe. Today, we want to share our concept model that hints at Honda's future direction for fuel cell electric vehicles.
Ladies and gentlemen, I'm pleased to introduce the world debut … of the Honda F-C-E-V Concept.
[Honda FCEV Concept Reveal ]
With this futuristic styling and aerodynamic form, I think it's easy to understand the basic design principles of this Honda FCEV Concept.
While this is a concept, it points toward the arrival of the next-generation Honda fuel cell car that will come to market in 2015.
We're not offering many detailed specifications of our next gen FC technology today … but the Honda FCEV Concept targets the world's highest power density of the fuel cell stack. That means more than 60 percent improved from the FC stack in FCX Clarity. It will have a driving range of more than 300 miles … and the ability to refuel in about three minutes.
Like the FCX Clarity, this new FC stack also is designed to perform in both extreme hot and cold temperatures. And we are targeting a significant reduction in cost … addressing another barrier to the commercialization and widespread adoption of fuel cell vehicles.
Perhaps most significant … the new, more compact Honda fuel cell stack is about 33 percent smaller than the size of the stack in FCX Clarity. This enables the entire powertrain to fit inside the front engine compartment. We believe it will be the world's first mass-produced fuel cell electric vehicle sedan with a complete FC powertrain that fits under the hood. This new design helps create a more spacious cabin with comfortable seating for five adults.
This new packaging layout also makes further FCEV applications a possibility in the future.
Earlier this year, we entered into a collaboration with General Motors. Together, we believe GM and Honda can achieve the world's strongest partnership for fuel cell technology … with an even more compact, lightweight and lower cost fuel cell stack … along with more efficient on-board hydrogen storage.
We will work jointly with GM on these goals toward the 2020 timeframe. But we will continue to develop our own future fuel cell electric vehicles … and this FCEV Concept is the stepping stone to our next generation FCEV … coming in 2015.
Now, it's my pleasure to introduce Mike Accavitti, who has more information to share with you today. Thank you.
Thank you, Iwamura-san. And thanks to all of you for your time and attention here this afternoon.
You probably know the conventional wisdom on fuel cells … that they are the technology of the future … and always will be. We're working to change that mindset.
Too often … talk about future timelines in 2015 and 2020 is met with skepticism … either about the technology or the commitment. So … let me give you a word of advice today … don't confuse our candor with a lack of progress. The advancement we are making is substantial, meaningful and very real.
We also acknowledge that the hydrogen refueling infrastructure needs to expand dramatically … both here in California … and across this nation. That's why we were pleased when Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a provision to kick-start an expanded network for refueling.
This also is why Honda is an enthusiastic participant in a federal program, H2USA. This new public-private partnership is working to promote the continued development of a hydrogen refueling infrastructure. It's a collaborative effort that will begin generating a national network of hydrogen fueling stations. This will take time … but it will come.
In the meantime, the mass production fuel cell electric vehicle under development in our engineering labs will be our next significant step forward in this process. So, what you see here on stage is more than a concept car … this Honda FCEV Concept is a commitment to the future of mobility. And we're excited to debut it here at the LA Show!
Now … shifting gears … I want to talk about another innovative Honda vehicle ... that's coming to market in just a few weeks … and that's the 2014 Honda Civic.
Based in part on significant enhancements we made to Civic for 2013 … this year is shaping up to be a banner year for the Honda brand. We are closing in on our goal to achieve number-one retail sales for our four highest volume models … Civic, Accord, CR-V and Odyssey … and maybe our best sales year ever!
Civic has been a leading vehicle for Honda, not only in sales volume, but also in the areas of safety and the environment. The 2013 Civic was the first compact sedan to achieve the IIHS Top Safety Pick-Plus rating … and it is the only car on the market offered with gasoline, hybrid and natural gas powertrains.
We are further strengthening the Civic value equation for 2014. We shared some of the change points at the SEMA show two weeks ago … including significant styling changes to the Coupe and Coupe Si models, larger wheels and tires, retuned suspensions and increased horsepower and torque … courtesy of retuned exhaust systems. But that's just half the story.
On top of all the feature-content we added for 2013, including a standard rearview camera, Bluetooth, Pandora, and USB connectivity … we're raising the ante again with the debut of our new Display Audio system.
This is a major leap forward in connected-car technology. With its new 7-inch capacitive touchscreen, our Display Audio system will let customers swipe, tap, and pinch their way through a multitude of audio and navigation functions. This Display Audio system also has additional connectivity that we will reveal in the coming weeks.
But … there's more. The 2014 EX and EX-L model Civics will get keyless entry and push-button start. And the Honda exclusive LaneWatch blind spot display system that debuted last fall on Accord, now further advances Civic's list of key safety and driver assistive technologies.
There's also a change to the powertrain. All gasoline-powered Civics equipped with automatic transmissions will get an all-new continuously variable transmission. As you know, we launched the ninth-generation Accord last fall with a new, sporty CVT … and the reception from our customers has been nothing short of terrific.
Now, the Civic adopts a similar sporty CVT for both improved performance and fuel efficiency. Fuel economy for the 1.8-liter Sedan and Coupe is up by two mpg City and one Combined.
All-in-all … for the third straight year … we're bringing to market an even better Civic. That's great news for our customers that reflects our determination to create something new … and then immediately set about to make it better.
Finally, the Civic Natural Gas also gets significant upgrades for 2014 … a vehicle that remains the only dedicated CNG passenger car mass-produced by an automaker in America. And a new leather equipped trim will give those single occupant carpool commuters yet another reason to love the Civic Natural Gas. As a reminder, only two years ago this vehicle was named the 2012 Green Car of the Year … right here at the LA Auto Show.
And that's a pretty good place for us to end. Because Accord Hybrid is a finalist for the 2014 Green Car of the Year. And with any luck, we'll get to see you again bright and early tomorrow morning!
Now, I'd like to invite Mr. Iwamura back to the stage for a quick photo … and then please join us for a closer look at the Honda FCEV Concept and the 2014 Civic lineup.