Honda unveils model house built to support electric car

Honda is showcasing its energy efficiency technology in a model house built around the electric car at the University of California at Davis. The structure includes provisions for the company's Fit EV sedan, LED lighting, plus uses solar and geothermal energy sources, according to the automaker.

American Honda Motor Co./PRNewsFoto
Honda built what the company called its "Smart Home" to showcase the company's energy efficiency technology on the campus of the University of California at Davis.

Most of us think "Honda" and bring up economy cars, perhaps lawnmowers, or even portable generators. Complete houses aren't usually on the list.

Yesterday, though, the Japanese carmaker opened its Honda Smart Home US in Davis, California--demonstrating its ideas for how Americans might live a zero-carbon life in the 21st Century.

California often pushes the envelope in new technology, and with its corporate home in the Orange County city of Torrance, Honda opted to site its low-impact living testbed on the campus of the University of California at Davis.

Davis is flat, sunny, and laced with bike paths, and it's just outside the state capital of Sacramento, about 80 miles east of San Francisco.

UC-Davis has long had an emerging West Campus residential community, including space and support staff for these kinds of experiments in living.

Low-impact homes are a topic of discussion around the world, with considerable interest in places like Australia and California, where sun power is plentiful but water can be scarce.

The Honda Smart Home represents about 2,000 square feet, all of it optimized toward energy-efficient living. It's fitted with LED lighting, radiant heating and cooling, a massive geothermal recovery system, a large solar photovoltaic panel system, and even a grey-water filtering and recovery system.

The home is actually designed to be energy positive, contributing electricity to the grid and even including a battery storage system both to capture excess energy and to provide a backup in case of blackouts or peak power demands.

After a period as an open house, the home will be used for three years by UC-Davis visiting faculty and staff, with each tenant staying for a year.

Because this home is an ongoing experiment, tenants will have their power usage monitored--and also be expected to give feedback on the operation and livability of the home as part of regular interviews.

Since this is a Honda Home, the use of a zero-emission Honda Fit EV electric car is included with the home for the next three years.

The garage may be the most interesting and exciting area of what is actually a fairly small and modest home. It contains both a standard 240-Volt Level 2 charging station and, more unusually, an actual DC charging outlet as well.

The solar photovoltaic system charges a 10-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery system, housed in a garage storage area, and the solar panels can also directly charge the Fit EV via that DC cable.

For reference, that battery storage is about 40 percent the size of the Fit EV's own battery pack--but home storage is one of the uses envisioned down the road for used battery packs from electric cars, after the batteries' useful life in cars has ended.

Yesterday's event appeared to be a big deal for executives from Honda, judging by the cars parked outside: not only the low-volume Honda Fit EV, but also a 2014 Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid, and even a Honda FCX Clarity hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle.

The Honda Smart Home does not, however, have its own hydrogen filling station. For that, unlike the Fit EV electric car, residents would have to go elsewhere.


Follow GreenCarReports on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to Honda unveils model house built to support electric car
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today