SWOT Analysis of the New Honda Fuel Cell Vehicle

Honda is changing the vehicle market as we know it, by making a vehicle that emits water vapor. Honda’s FCX Clarity fuel cell car is the new breed for green cars. This car has some similarities to hybrid, but nothing compares to its new fuel source hydrogen. Besides hydrogen it runs with an electric motor that generates electricity to the fuel stack and a lithium ion battery. The lithium ion battery serves as a supplemental power source. The lithium ion battery charges up while braking and decelerating. Some questions might arise when thinking about this new fuel cell vehicle, like what makes this car better than the other hybrid cars? What are the Honda FCX Clarity strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?

One of the biggest strengths about this new fuel cell vehicle is that it emits water vapor and is designated as a Zero emission vehicle (ZEV). The environmental protection agency (EPA) has given this vehicle the lowest possible emission rating. It also can be driven up to 280 miles before being refueled with hydrogen. FCX Clarity is achieves an energy efficiency of 55% which is twice the energy efficiency of the hybrid vehicles and three times the efficiency of regular gas vehicles. Since FCX Clarity is more energy efficient it has been one of the first fuel cell vehicles to receive certification from the EPA and the California Air Resources Board. Unlike the hybrids the FCX Clarity doesn’t need to be plugged in to be charged up and there is no need for regular gas.

Honda has many opportunities with this new fuel cell vehicle. First off Honda is designing a home refueling station. No more worrying about going out and getting refueled at the pump. Home refueling stations will elevate the stress at the pump. Also, Honda could make this fuel cell vehicle a household name and market this vehicle all over the globe. Honda just needs to get out there to show off their new vehicle. Honda is starting to market the new fuel cell a little bit. Honda has just released the FCX Clarity for Japan.

One of the few weaknesses for this fuel cell vehicle is its limited availability in the United States. Southern California and Japan are the only two areas where this new vehicle is available. Honda plans to release around 200 vehicles in 3 years in California and Japan. Honda believes that this new fuel cell vehicle will be able to be mass produced by 2018. I think this is one Hondas biggest downfall is the limited release and so few refueling stations.

This car is a little small it’s only able to carry four people. The cost of the FCX Clarity is about 600 a month on a 3 year lease. It seems a little steep for someone who is middle class to afford that payment. Not anyone is California will be able to lease this new vehicle. These people who are selected live near the refueling stations and they make a limited amount of commutes.

Basically Toyota and GM vehicles are Hondas biggest threat. With so many new hybrids and small gas efficient cars, this creates a problem for Honda. Another threat is Chevrolet. Chevrolet has developed a fuel cell SUV “the Equinox” and it has already arrived at New York City, Washington D.C. and Southern California. With this being said, it becomes a race between Honda and Chevrolet with the new fuel cell technology. How would the new fuel cell FCX Clarity size up in popularity? The lack of mass production and refueling stations, Honda won’t have a chance.

I think Honda has come up with a good concept car with its new fuel source. The new fuel source needs to be researched further before they should market this vehicle. This car is for people who are willing to go green and have the money to do it. The whole problem is making this car available to the public and easily accessible.

On the other hand Honda has a comparative advantage because of their home refueling station. There is no other vehicle out there that you can just plug in and refuel at home. Hybrid vehicles rely on battery and gas to run. You have to plug the hybrid in to recharge the battery.