Home » The Hydrogen-Powered Honda CR-V e:FCEV Seems Like A Waste Of Time

The Hydrogen-Powered Honda CR-V e:FCEV Seems Like A Waste Of Time

Honda Crv e:FCEV Ts

The 2025 Honda CR-V e:FCEV is here, and man, is it ever unequivocally a vehicle. With a hydrogen fuel cell and a battery pack on board, it should theoretically offer plug-in power for local errands and green, water-emitting hydrogen power for longer journeys, and Honda will even lease them to Californian residents rather than just keep them internal as one big engineering exercise. However, given the *ahem* limitations of this vehicle, would Californians actually want one? Honda is quick to tout that the “CR-V e:FCEV is the only fuel cell electric passenger vehicle made in America,” but doesn’t seem to dig a bit deeper and ask why nobody else is currently building fuel cell electric passenger vehicles in America.

This isn’t the first time a manufacturer has explored the idea of a hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicle with a battery pack and a charging port so it can cover some distance on plug-in power alone. It’s a compelling thought exercise, and it allows the CR-V e:FCEV to also function like an enormous power bank, but the spec sheet of reality hits like the ruler of a recently-divorced 52-year-old chain-smoking English teacher from the 1970s with bits of biscuit crumbs stuck in his mustache.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Let’s start with packaging. Directly above the rear axle seems like a fairly safe location for a hydrogen tank, but it also isn’t exactly optimal for practicality. Instead of a flat load floor, you get a shadowbox theater, a platform in the trunk for your weekly shopping to perform The Book Of Mormon or Spamalot. There’s a lot less “U” in this CUV than in other CR-V CUVs, which might just make it a CV. Actually, that tracks.

01 2025 Honda CR-V e:FCEV

In the year 2024, many electrified crossovers offer abundant range, but this isn’t one of them. The Honda CR-V e:FCEV is good for 270 miles in total, with just 29 miles on plug-in electric power alone. For the record, that’s less plug-in range than a Toyota RAV4 Prime, a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, a Hyundai Tucson PHEV, a Kia Sportage PHEV, a Kia Niro PHEV, or a Ford Escape PHEV. In short, less plug-in range than any comparable PHEV crossover. That’s, um, impressive.


13 2025 Honda CR-V e:FCEV

Alright, well with range that disappointing, at least there should be some power under the skin, right? Not quite. With 174 horsepower and 229 lb.-ft. of torque on tap, the CR-V e:FCEV is less potent than a regular CR-V hybrid, so don’t expect outrageous acceleration in exchange for inefficiency. Then again, with front-wheel-drive being the only option, maybe tame output isn’t such a bad thing.

20 2025 Honda CR-V e:FCEV

Oh, and once you run out of all 270 miles of combined range, then there’s the small issue of finding a hydrogen station that doesn’t look like an Arco circa 1973. California is in the midst of massive light-duty hydrogen shortages and exits, including Shell deciding that it just doesn’t want anything to do with light-duty hydrogen fueling in America anymore. Admittedly, it’s not the first time an oil company has turned up its nose at green technologies, but decisions on the ground play an outsized role in the viability of hydrogen as a fuel. What we have here is something that’s neat in principle but difficult to live with in practice, just like a pizza slice the size of an entire actual pizza, or hydrophobic towels, or a roommate who only speaks Klingon.

03 2025 Honda CR-V e:FCEV


The Honda CR-V e:FCEV just strikes us as a way to occupy idle time and resources. Think of all of the research and development, all of the factory tooling, all of the PR and marketing money that went into the launch, all the distribution logistics, and all of the sales training put into a vehicle that seems so deeply uncompetitive in the face of, say, the Tesla Model Y, or even the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. I pity the techs who’ll have to get trained on such a low-volume product, and I pity the parts counter that may get stuck with, for example, a CR-V e:FCEV bumper cover for ages. Then again, once the sedanpocalypse is complete and Stancenation issues more passports to crossovers, I’m sure the clear taillights will become a hot commodity.

19 2025 Honda CR-V e:FCEV

Hydrogen may have been good enough for the Apollo program, but Apollo the deity had a swan-powered chariot, something that seems more useful and more renewable than the Honda CR-V e:FCEV. Swans exist in places hydrogen filling stations don’t, they run on a combination of spite and grass, they can reproduce, and each swan comes with a built-in honk function, which saves on wiring. Sure, it may be a niche propulsion system, but the CR-V e:FCEV also has a niche propulsion system. While details of pricing and incentives for the Honda CR-V e:FCEV haven’t been released yet, one thing’s for certain: As far as methods of powering a vehicle go, this is certainly one of them.

(Photo credits: Honda)

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1 month ago

I don’t get all this hate towards hydrogen cars. Sounds almost identical to the EV hate circa 2010

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