21 November 2008

LA show: Honda FC Sports

Coupe version of the hydrogen-powered FCX Clarity wows the crowds

Honda FC Sports

We love the Honda FC Sports concept. A real show pony this: it doesn’t run, doesn’t even have an interior except in the virtual renderings. But it’s drop-dead gorgeous. And it’s utterly original except for a bit of McLaren F1 and a bit of Hot Wheels fantasy car.

The brief, at Honda California Design studio, was to design a sports car using the elements of Honda’s FCX Clarity fuel-cell saloon.

So the electric motor is switched from the nose to the tail, making it RWD. The hydrogen tanks go on top of that. The fuel cell is behind the driver in the centre of the car, the battery in the spine of the floor. The car is wider, shorter and lower than the FCX.

Honda says there’s no way you could make a petrol car this shape: there just wouldn’t be the space to fit the big lumps of engine and transmission. In a fuel-cell car, the various components can be separated, and are mostly connected only by wires and pipes.

To make it feel like a racing car, the designers put the driver in the middle, with a passenger either side and a bit behind. The doors open in double-hinged scissor style.

To give it a techy look, almost the entire exterior is modelled on hexagons, some of them elongated. The wheels bulge out of the sides in hexagonal arches, the nose is a hexagon, and the tail is a long, wide, six-sided taper.

No one expected it, everyone loved it, and the designer Jason Wilbur is clearly a star.

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