Honda may have ditched its Clarity hydrogen-powered car last year due to poor sales, but it has not given up on the technology, announcing today that it will build a new fuel-cell electric vehicle (FCEV) in small volumes from 2024.

The new version of its popular CR-V crossover utility vehicle (CUV) would be the first production car in North America that can be driven entirely on hydrogen fuel or a plug-in battery.

“[This] enables the driver to charge the onboard battery to deliver EV [electric vehicle] driving around town with the flexibility of fast hydrogen refuelling for longer trips,” the Japanese company said.

Gary Robinson, vice-president of auto planning and strategy for Honda in the US, explained: “Honda established our goal to realize carbon neutrality by 2050 and the complete electrification of our vehicle lineup by 2040 is critical to achieving it.

“As we accelerate our plan to produce Honda battery EVs in the United States, we also will begin low volume production of fuel cell electric vehicles there to further explore their great potential as part of a sustainable transportation future.”

The vehicle would be produced at Honda’s Performance Manufacturing Center (PMC) in Marysville, Ohio, which has been producing the Acura NSX supercar, and was “conceived as a small volume, specialty manufacturing facility, focused on craftsmanship and hand-assembled vehicles”.

“This makes the PMC uniquely suited to production of high-quality FCEVs, which require special assembly procedures,” said Honda.

“As America’s best-selling CUV of the past quarter century, the Honda CR-V will provide an excellent foundation for a FCEV, adding zero emissions and EV performance characteristics to its fun-to-drive personality, sporty styling, and outstanding utility, while retaining generous passenger and cargo spaces.”