Life & Career

Must See: Fuel Cell Innovation Explained by Honda’s Bodiless Singing Children

A screenshot from Honda's new ad campaign. Image: Honda / YouTube
A screenshot from Honda's new ad campaign. Image: Honda / YouTube

Honda is letting floating children’s heads introduce its new fuel cell-powered electric car, and it’s not as crazy as it sounds.

Although Advertising Week magazine correctly observed that the campaign features “bodiless singing children,” Honda would probably prefer we stick to the project’s original title: “Thinking About Tomorrow.”

The Japanese car producer says its new campaign is meant to take fuel cell technology mainstream by educating consumers about the advantage its new car, an “everyday drivable vehicle” that uses hydrogen instead of petrol or diesel.

Hydrogen Molecules

The PR initiative is headlined by a one-minute spot and a soundtrack based on Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop,” featuring the famous chorus “don’t stop thinking about tomorrow.”

Honda says the voices of singing children, who’s heads can be seen floating around like hydrogen molecules, help communicate that the company is creating vehicles today that will have an impact on future generations.

The video emphasises that hydrogen is the fuel that powers the new car and that its only emission is crystal clear water. The fuel cells work by fusing hydrogen – stored in the car – with oxygen sucked in from outside, producing electricity in the process.

Next Big Thing or “Very Dumb”?

Honda says fuel cell cars are the “next big thing” because their range is greater than other electric vehicles and it only takes a few minutes to fuel up. The technology competes with lithium-ion batteries produced by companies like Tesla.

The campaign does not mention that that hydrogen can be quite carbon-intensive to produce, but promising cleaner production technologies are currently under development.

Start-ups, some supported by the EU’s Climate-KIC innovation initiative, are already working on different applications such as heating homes and offices.

Tesla’s Elon Musk has said he is not very impressed with hydrogen fuel cell technology in cars, calling it “very dumb” because it is much less efficient compared to charging a battery pack directly with solar power.

But Steve Center, vice president of Honda’s environmental office in California, says the new campaign is “the next step in our effort to advance fuel cell vehicles to the mainstream market.”

“Nerding Out on Fuel Cells”

In addition to the main video advertisement, the campaign also features five educational videos that educate consumers about the benefits of hydrogen – and of course Honda’s new car.

You can watch all the videos on Honda’s YouTube channel, included a “Nerding Out on Fuel Cells” video that explains the basic concept behind hydrogen fuel cell technology.

Just a few months ago, UN climate chief Patricia Espinosa was spotted testing out a fuel cell car from Honda competitor Toyota in Norway.


Espinosa’s predecessor, Christiana Figueres, can be seen test driving a Toyota fuel cell car near the UNFCCC headquarters in Bonn, Germany, in a YouTube video.

During the drive, Figueres notes how the significant range of the car – 500 kilometres – means that “you could have refuelling in every large city without having to have it along the highways.”

Find out how Climate-KIC helps start-ups and students accelerate in the low carbon market.

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