The Spallinos were an average American family— until Honda asked if they'd test-drive its new hydrogen-powered fuel cell car. Now the four of them are tooling around Redondo Beach, California, in a million-dollar eco-car, and their feedback is helping the company get in gear for the future. We spoke to engineering firm CFO, and dad, Jon Spallino.
WHAT'S IT LIKE TO DRIVE?
Quiet. When you turn the key, a display lights up, but you don't hear the engine turn over. There's a little whir as you roll along.
HOW DO YOU 'GAS' UP?
Southern California has about a dozen refueling stations. It's not much different from filling a regular car—except the hydrogen is in gaseous form, so it's under pressure.
"Aren't you afraid it's going to blow up like the Hindenburg?" In truth, it feels safer than a tank full of gasoline. More than once, another driver has hollered, "I've heard about that—how'd you get one?"