The Honda Clarity Fuel Cell vehicle, which is supposed to have a 300 mile range running on hydrogen, will go on sale at the end of this year. America still won’t have a convenient network of hydrogen filling stations by then. But Honda will have other versions of the Clarity. So, you might actually want one.
Honda calls the Clarity Fuel Cell the company’s “most technologically advanced vehicle ever.” That’s right– not the HondaJet, not the new NSX. Not that robotic spaceman and hey what ever happened to ASIMO anyway?
The hydrogen-burning luxury compact car is supposed to be the answer to the range shortcomings of electric cars and the emissions issues of gasoline and diesel vehicles.
For those just joining us; Honda Clarity Fuel Cell doesn’t mean “fuel cell” like a race car fuel cell, which is really just a protected traditional gas tank. The Honda’s fuel cell is a sort of tank, into which hydrogen and air are combined.
Power is derived from hydrogen ions reacting with the air– that flows juice into an electric motor which moves the car.
That all sounds super cool! To nerds. Anybody who’s buying a car as the most convenient way to move their butts from one spot to another, which I would argue is a strong percentage of Honda’s fan base, only hears “you can’t fill up at just any gas station.”
Lucky for Honda the Clarity’s modularity is going to save its sales numbers. By making the platform easily portable to straight-electric and plug-in hybrid configurations.
Whether it was Honda’s plan to release hybrid and full-electric versions of the Clarity all along or they’re just now realizing their customers don’t want to buy a car they have to learn how to use, diversifying the Clarity lineup seems like a great idea.
The hydrogen variant will still be first offered up on sale, starting in California where inconvenient cars status symbols, for a lease price below $500 a month. Not cheap, but probably a more attainable alternative to a Tesla.
The full-electric and plug-in hybrid variants will hit the market next year, with the plug-in to be offered in all 50 U.S. states. It’s supposed to have a 40-plus-mile full-electric range with “a hyper-efficient gasoline-hybrid extended range mode” that hasn’t been detailed yet.