The Frontal Cortex

The Honda FCX

The Times takes the FCX for a spin. The good news is that it drives like an ordinary car, even though it runs on hydrogen:

Normalcy is a recurring, and intentional, theme of the FCX Clarity. It is refueled using a high-pressure connector tucked behind a typical gas-cap door on the rear fender. It has a handsome exterior, a nice audio system and plenty of knee room in the back. (A design analysis is at nytimes.com/autos) Anyone who has driven a Toyota Prius will feel at home with the dash-mounted gear selector and the park button.

And yet, this car manages to get 68 miles to the gallon and generates 50 percent less carbon dioxide than a conventional gasoline vehicle. Since so many power plants in the US rely on coal, a hydrogen car is also superior in many instances to a battery-electric car. Plus, the FCX is handsome. The pressure is now on Chevy to actually build a real Volt prototype.

Update: Here’s a good article on the emerging battle between proponents of fuel cells/hydrogen and advocates of plug-in hybrid technology. The important point, of course, is that this shouldn’t be an either/or discussion. Both technological options should be pursued, at least until one technology emerges as a clear winner.