The Honda Clarity Is Dead

A Drop In Demand Has Killed Honda's Fuel Cell Vehicle

2021 Clarity
2021 Clarity
Image: Honda

I have bad news for all you hydrogen fans out there: Motor 1, and Asian business site Nikkei report that the Clarity is going out of production along with the closure of the Sayama, Japan, plant that produces it. It’s not just the hydrogen model leaving either. The plug-in hybrid is getting the ax as well. In a statement to Motor 1, a Honda rep confirmed the death:

We are evolving our strategy with a focus on increased application of our two-motor hybrid system to core models in advance of the introduction of our first volume BEV models in 2024.

Consistent with this strategy, Honda will conclude production of the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid and Clarity Fuel Cell in August 2021. This will ensure we have the Clarity Fuel Cell available for lease through 2022, and Honda will continue to support our Clarity customers in the marketplace.

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Demand for the Clarity has plummeted the last few years. This could have something to do with the limited market the vehicle was available in. The fuel cell was only sold here in California, where it seems like we have the only viable Hydrogen fueling infrastructure in the country; the plug-in was available nationwide. A third Clarity variant, the EV version, was axed last year.

Sale have pretty much fallen off a cliff. The Clarity was reintroduced in 2015 with the fuel cell vehicle debuting first. However, it didn’t go on sale until 2017. Its best year was 2018 when 20,174 were sold. Last year? 3,664 with just 1,896 sold so far this year.

The market for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles has pretty much bottomed out. Inside EVs reported at the beginning of the year that the fuel cell market, which consists of just three models (Hyundai NEXO, Toyota Mirai, Honda Clarity) collectively sold under 1,000 in 2020. It makes you wonder why Toyota bothered to even come out with a second generation of the Mirai.

The closure of the Honda Sayama plant has also killed the Honda Legend, known to us as the Acura RLX and the Odyssey for the Japanese market. Our Odyssey is safe as it’s built here in the U.S. The Clarity will cease production in August.

DISCUSSION

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WasGTIthenGTOthenNOVAthenGTInowA4

It’s a bummer because it was a unique and “futuristic” vehicle, but if I’m honest, I wasn’t ever going to buy it, so I don’t think I’m allowed to be upset.