The environmental challenges in transport are significant and businesses such as Honda must address them and contribute to improving environmental standards. To this end, one of Honda’s global corporate objectives is to “strive to realise the joy and freedom of mobility and a sustainable society where people can enjoy life”.
Honda seeks to achieve this via the ‘triple zero’ concept: zero CO2 emissions, zero energy risk and zero waste. This entails looking at our footprint all the way from production to product usage through to end of life disposal.
Reducing CO2 emissions, improving air quality and improving recycling standards are all elements that can better the environment and which businesses can tackle by various means.
Hydrogen powered fuel cell vehicles deliver zero CO2 emission mobility at the point of use, and offer the potential for zero well to wheel CO2 emissions. Honda is involved in a number of hydrogen-related programmes both at national and Europe-wide level.
In April 2014, Honda and other leading motor manufacturers, hydrogen fuel suppliers and energy consultancies from around the globe signed a €38.4 million agreement (£31m) to develop and demonstrate technology and infrastructure that will help fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) to become a viable and environmentally responsible option for European motorists in the future.
The pioneering deal, known as the HyFive project (Hydrogen For Innovative Vehicles), is the largest of its kind in Europe. Honda is one of five manufacturers to agree to deploy a total of 110 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles at several European locations, including London, and develop new clusters of hydrogen refuelling stations.
The potential for FCVs to become widely available is now increasingly likely as the cost of the technology is reduced and refuelling infrastructure is improved. Honda’s next generation FCV will be launched in Japan from March 2016 and then in Europe.
For Honda, the HyFIVE project is a unique opportunity to showcase advances made in fuel cell technology and fuel cell electric vehicle development to contribute to greener mobility.
In October 2014, the UK’s first green hydrogen refuelling facility on a commercial scale opened in Swindon at Honda’s UK manufacturing site. The consortium, which comprises Honda, BOC, Commercial Group, Swindon Borough Council, Fuel Cell Systems, Briggs Equipment and Revolve, worked together to secure funding from the Technology Strategy Board (now the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK) and to design and commission the facility. It highlighted the UK’s leadership in environmental technologies using hydrogen, a low carbon energy source that offers energy security, employment opportunities and economic growth.
This facility will produce commercial volumes of truly ‘green’ hydrogen produced from solar power, by electrolysis, at the point of use. It is hoped that this facility will reinforce the UK’s attractiveness as a location for major car manufacturers to roll out fuel cell vehicles and encourage the growth of a national refuelling infrastructure.
Through this project great advances have been made in proving the commercial viability of truly ‘green’ hydrogen for a wide range of applications.
Demonstrating its commitment to managing end of life products, Honda has signed an agreement for the recycling of batteries from hybrid vehicles in Europe. In September 2013, Honda formalised the long-term partnership with SNAM (Société Nouvelle d’Affinage des Métaux), based in France, which will collect and recycle Honda’s hybrid vehicle batteries (high voltage Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) and Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) industrial batteries) across Europe.
The two companies established a European system to trace end-of-life batteries from the moment they are collected from Honda dealers and end-of-life vehicle centres through to the recycling of the batteries.
Such initiatives are beneficial not only to the environment but to customers who can enjoy mobility in a greener way.
Ian is a Senior Vice President for Honda Motor Europe (March 2013). Honda Motor Europe is the regional holding company for Honda’s Bikes, Cars and Power Equipment business in Europe and manages and coordinates Honda’s activities in the region including sales, manufacturing and finance. As a member of Honda’s regional operating board, Ian is part of a small team setting policy and strategy for European operations. He has specific responsibilities for information technology, finance & accounting and human resources.