USB Stick: 2025 Honda CR-V e:FCEV

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By Car Brand Experts


The Pioneer Plug-in Battery Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles Are Now Obtainable

Honda just unveiled the pricing for the CR-V e:FCEV, which is set to go on the market in California (solely) within the next month. Introducing an unprecedented fusion of plug-in battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell electric in the all-new 2025 CR-V e:FCEV, Honda deviates from the conventional fuel cell vehicle that exclusively operates on hydrogen. The e:FCEV propels the company towards its zero emissions objectives–with all of its vehicles destined to be battery electric or fuel cell electric models by 2040, and the company aiming to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. Clean Fleet Report had the opportunity to briefly test drive the model before its official launch.

Getting Familiar with the CR-V e:FCEV

The 2025 CR-V e:FCEV, a plug-in hydrogen fuel cell electric automobile, essentially mirrors a CR-V Hybrid with the incorporation of plug-in charging and the substitution of hydrogen for gasoline. Featuring a 270-mile all-electric driving range (AER) powered by the 92.2 kW electric motor fueled by the fuel cell, along with an additional range of up to 29 miles sourced from the 17.7 kWh battery, this blend presents intriguing possibilities for drivers in California.

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Subtle Variations externally; significant ones internally

The fuel cell initiates a chemical process utilizing oxygen and compressed hydrogen, generating electricity to propel the motor and charge the lithium-ion battery. The resultant by-product is water vapor that innocuously drips from the tailpipe, rendering the e:FCEV a completely emission-free automobile. The fuel cell stack stems from a collaborative effort between Honda and General Motors.

Within less than two hours, the e:FCEV’s plug-in battery can be charged using a Level 2 240V EV charger, or approximately 10 hours with a standard 120V household plug. Level 3, DC Fast Charging is not accessible. By charging nightly and driving under 29 miles, the reliance on hydrogen fuel diminishes, a resource presently accessible at around 50 stations in California.

Fuel efficiency is gauged in MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent). The CR-V is rated at 61 MPGe city/52 highway/57 combined through a fusion of the electric battery and compressed hydrogen fuel. MPGe is a standard of how far a vehicle can travel electrically, equating to the energy contained in one gallon of gasoline.

The most comparable vehicles for hydrogen-only cars are the Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Nexo, with no direct rivals utilizing this unique amalgamation of technologies.

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Economically Priced

Pricing Structure

Offered at a single trim level and exclusively for lease, the 2025 CR-V e:FCEV is tagged at $50,000 (approximately $10,000 beyond the highest trim level gas CR-V Hybrid), inclusive of the obligatory $1,350 delivery and handling fee. It will be eligible for federal and California tax incentives, as well as the coveted HOV sticker authorizing solo use of the high-occupancy vehicle lane. Seek guidance from your tax advisor before heading to your local Honda dealer. Three lease schemes will be provided:

  • $489/month over two years
  • $459/month over three years
  • $389/month over six years
  • All schemes require $2,959 upfront, permit 12,000 miles annually (excluding the two-year program which allows 60,000 miles), and entail $15,000 annually in hydrogen fueling credit (the two-year plan encompasses a $25,000 credit).

Driving Experience Resembles a Crossover (Simply because it is one!)

Our driving session encompassed city streets and highways, garnished with some twists and turns to tackle. Honda isn’t promoting the e:FCEV as a sporty compact crossover, but it handled itself admirably as we navigated a two-lane rural road flanked by California oak trees along a river. The front-wheel drive e:FCEV equipped with 235/60 all-season tires on 18-inch wheels, features a MacPherson strut front and multilink rear suspension tuned specifically for the e:FCEV. Supplementing the suspension tweaks are tailored springs, amplitude-sensitive dampers, and front and rear stabilizer bars to optimize responsiveness.

The e:FCEV steers akin to a proficient, gasoline or gasoline-electric hybrid crossover, with its electric drivetrain merely intensifying smoothness and serenity.

Powered by the 174 horsepower electric motor producing 229 pound-feet of torque, the e:FCEV achieves an 8.5 second 0-60 mph acceleration. Not blazingly fast by EV standards, yet sufficient for merging onto freeways, a task the e:FCEV will frequently undertake as it’s exclusively available for lease in California upon its dealership debut in July.

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Truly Competitive Performance within its category

The driving modes encompass Normal, Econ, Sport, and Snow, with Normal and Sport being our preferences for accelerator response and performance. Econ would be suitable for sustained 65+ mph cruising, albeit with a dampened accelerator pedal response and reduced A/C output, trade-offs aimed at extending range.

Absence of all-wheel drive in the e:FCEV implies the Snow mode will likely see limited activation, particularly with scarce hydrogen refueling stations in the Sierra Nevadas.

Having experienced a 2024 CR-V Hybrid previously, the noticeable 500-pound weight contrast between the two models, while perceptible, didn’t negatively impact the driving experience; instead, it imparted a sense of solidity to the ride, enhancing its stable handling. Braking distance on the e:FCEV was marginally longer than the hybrid variant, yet acclimatization to this difference was swift and uncomplicated.

Regenerative braking on the CR-V e:FCEV entails pulling the left steering wheel paddle four times to enhance the regenerative braking force, and likewise pulling the right paddle four times to reduce it. Even at maximum intensity, the regenerative braking on the e:FCEV doesn’t match up to that of most EVs we’ve tested.

The system doesn’t facilitate full one-pedal driving as it automatically disengages at speeds dropping below seven miles per hour. Consequently, braking should be manually applied at this juncture.

to cease, activate the Brake Hold button, and the e:FCEV will remain stationary until the accelerator is pressed. The absence of strong regenerative capability and the lack of authentic one-pedal driving raised our curiosity. Nonetheless, as highlighted by the Honda team, the CR-V e:FCEV we tested in March 2024 was a prototype, and with the release just a few months away, there may be changes on the final production model.

Modern Styling/Cozy Interior

In terms of design, the CR-V e:FCEV draws similarities with the CR-V Hybrid. Subtle yet noticeable distinctions include the e:FCEV being three inches lengthier, a sleeker front end with a smaller upper grille, distinct lower front and rear fascia, slender headlights leading to an elongated hood, new vertical tail lamps, and 18-inch, 10-spoke black wheels.

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A familiar appearance

The CR-V Hybrid e:FCEV is offered in the Touring trim level only. Both driver and front passenger seats feature heating functionality and power adjustments. The interior layout resembles that of the CR-V Hybrid, featuring a 10.2-inch digital vehicle information display and a 9.0-inch HD touchscreen for the 12-speaker Bose sound system equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Overall, the craftsmanship exhibited high quality. Elements like the honeycomb patterned dashboard panel, soft surfaces on the dashboard and doors, wireless phone charging, heated steering wheel, and dual-zone climate control created an inviting cabin environment. The shift-by-wire gear selector, positioned in the center console, creates additional space compared to a traditional gear lever.

The rear seats, which offer a reclining feature (a neat addition, Honda!), are designed for adult occupants—two can sit comfortably, while short trips can accommodate three. The rear bench, separated by a fold-down armrest with cup holders, provided ample leg and shoulder room. Despite the absence of a sunroof option, the headroom was excellent. Although the rear seat folds in a 60:40 configuration for storage needs, space is somewhat compromised due to the placement of the 4.3-kilogram fuel tanks beneath. Nevertheless, the recessed storage compartment at the far rear of the cargo space comes with a cover to conceal valuables from prying eyes.

Security

All CR-V variants (gasoline, hybrid, and e:FCEV) come equipped with standard active and passive safety features such as front and side airbags. Honda Sensing, the advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) by Honda, incorporates features like forward collision and road departure mitigation, lane-keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control.

Guarantee

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Sacrificing space for H2 tanks
  • Basic – Three years/36,000 miles
  • Plug-in and Hydrogen Systems – Eight years/100,000 miles
  • Maintenance – One year/Unlimited miles
  • Roadside Assistance – Three years/Unlimited miles

Availability

The 2025 CR-V Hybrid e:FCEV will be accessible at the following 12 California-based Honda dealerships.

Northern California

  • Dublin
  • Oakland
  • Palo Alto
  • Roseville
  • Serramonte (Colma)
  • Stevens Creek (San Jose)

Southern California

  • Cerritos
  • Culver City
  • Irvine
  • Pasadena
  • Torrance
  • Woodland Hills

Hydrogen Considerations

  • Hydrogen is priced at $33 per kilogram (kg) as of June 2024, thus filling the e:FCEV’s 4.3 kg tank would cost roughly $142 (Honda covers this expense as part of the lease). Refueling the tank takes approximately five minutes.
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Complexities under the hood
  • Similar to electric charging stations, hydrogen fueling stations exhibit intermittent operational availability. Hence, it is imperative to consult availability portals like the one provided by the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Partnership.
  • Hydrogen prices tend to fluctuate across a wider spectrum compared to gasoline or electricity. In 2022, the price was $16 per kilogram, contrasting with the current rate.
  • In contrast to electric vehicles, the cost disparity in refueling is considerable. Charging an electric vehicle with a 66 kWh battery and 300 miles of range (similar to the CR-V e:FCEV’s 270 AER) using California’s average electricity rate of 19.39¢ per kilowatt-hour would amount to about $12. With home charging setups and solar panels, the electric vehicle charging expense would be even lower.
  • The e:FCEV is predominantly suited for California driving as there is no nationwide hydrogen fueling infrastructure.

Hydrogen’s Current Status and Future Outlook

Approximately 50 hydrogen fuel stations are operational in California, with intermittent availability of hydrogen. For comparison, China, substantially larger than California, boasts 250 stations, while Japan, equivalent in size to California but densely populated, hosts 160 stations.

For the past three decades, the state has acknowledged hydrogen-powered vehicles as part of its initiative to eliminate tailpipe emissions (including hazardous smog), supporting the development of such vehicles and corresponding infrastructure. The hydrogen fueling station network is gradually expanding, aided partly by state funding averaging $20 million annually over the last couple of decades.

The latest innovation mirrors many features of the current CR-V

In October 2023, Governor Newsom approved a bill to allocate $106 million towards the establishment of additional hydrogen refueling stations by the end of the decade. This marks the first time support has been extended to stations for commercial vehicles in addition to personal cars. The expansion of these stations is crucial for the wider adoption of this fuel among consumers for their everyday transportation needs.

Honda is making a significant wager (and significant investment) on hydrogen fuel technology. Besides the 2025 CR-V e:FCEV targeting consumers, Honda Motor Company and Isuzu Motors Limited are venturing into the commercial vehicle market. Unveiled at the Japan Mobility Show 2023, the Giga Fuel Cell is a heavy-duty FCEV truck with zero emissions and an approximate range of 500 miles. Plans are underway to introduce a production model in the Japanese market by 2027.

During the ACT Expo in May 2024, Honda exhibited a prototype Class 8 hydrogen fuel cell truck and is currently engaging with potential clientele. Honda also aims to implement its fuel cell technology in equipment used for construction, such as excavators and wheel loaders, to support the construction industry in transitioning towards carbon neutrality.

Following in the footsteps of its competitor, Toyota, Honda collaborated with Kenworth to unveil a Class 8 FCEV truck named Ocean in 2022, boasting a 300-mile emission-free range. Peterbilt also teamed up with Toyota and now offers its Model 579HFC for sale. Volvo Group and Daimler Trucks have also entered a joint venture to advance fuel cell technology.

 Critical Insights: 2025 Honda CR-V e:FCEV

The Honda CR-V compact CUV has maintained its popularity in the American market, constituting over 56% of Honda’s CUV/SUV sales and one-third of the brand’s overall sales. Since its debut in 1997, it has received periodic updates, including the launch of the first CR-V Hybrid in 2020.

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Introducing a fresh approach to market testing

The brand-new 2025 CR-V e:FCEV is set for launch in July 2024. VP of Sustainability, Jay Joseph, affirmed that this model upholds Honda’s “decades-long commitment to investment and expertise” in electrification to make hydrogen technology more accessible to the public.

Notably, the 2025 Honda CR-V e:FCEV will only be available for lease in California, with an annual production commitment of 300 units. While it offers a shorter driving range compared to its FCEV counterparts—such as the Toyota Mirai (AER between 357 to 402) and Hyundai Nexo (AER of 354)—it provides a distinctive advantage by not needing a plug for charging.

For optimum cost-effectiveness and convenience with the 2025 Honda CR-V e:FCEV, maximizing the 29-mile all-electric range and ensuring access to home charging facilities will be essential. If a significant portion of your driving occurs within a short radius of your residence and you are considering the shift to hydrogen-based transportation, the Honda CR-V e:FCEV could serve as an attractive option among hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles.

The real-world trials of Honda’s e:FCEV plug-in hydrogen fuel cell vehicle will determine its acceptance among consumers. The testing ground in California, known for its EV enthusiast community and high adoption rates (having collectively purchased over 15,000 fuel cell vehicles), offers an ideal environment for this evaluation.

Production will take place by hand at Honda’s Performance Manufacturing Center in Marysville, Ohio—the same facility responsible for crafting the performance-oriented Acura NSX.

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Written by John Faulkner

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