Special Coverage

Greater L.A. Auto Show

LOS ANGELES – High performance and environmental friendliness do not have to be mutually exclusive.

At least, that’s the idea behind the Honda FC Sport, a fuel cell-powered sports car concept that aspires to be a Ferrari for the green consumer.

The 3-seater is “super low and super wide,” with the design goal being maximum performance with a minimal environmental footprint in mind, Jason Wilber, American Honda Motor Co. Inc. designer, says during a press conference at the Los Angeles auto show.

The FC Sport features a mid-engine layout, with brightly colored hydrogen-fuel storage tanks exposed under the car’s transparent rear hatch.

The idea is to show off the powertrain, similar to the current Audi R8, Corvette ZR1 or other supercars that have engine parts on display with see-through hoods and hatches.

“The Honda FC Sport explores how to satisfy automotive performance enthusiasts in a world beyond petroleum,” says Dan Bonawitz, American Honda vice president-corporate planning and logistics. “People who love sports cars will still have a reason to love a hydrogen-powered future.”

The concept car is a purpose-built platform, designed to accommodate a custom-built, high-power fuel-cell stack located between the rear seats and a battery pack placed low in the middle of the vehicle. The electric motor sits just forward of the rear axle, while the two fuel-storage tanks are located above the rear axle.

Locating all the heavy parts in this fashion distributes the majority of the vehicle mass between the axles. The method creates an ultra-low center of gravity and gives the balanced weight distribution sought after in sports cars, Wilbur says.

Green construction materials and techniques were used to produce the vehicle.

dwinter@wardsauto.com