Honda To Expand Clarity Lineup With Plug-In And Battery-Powered Models
Fuel Cell to hit the market in 2016; Plug-In and Battery-Powered to follow in 2017by Kirby, on
The Honda Clarity Fuel Cell made its debut at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show, and while it’s set to become the first mass market fuel cell car to be introduced by the Japanese automaker, it won’t be the only one. Two more models will join the Clarity Fuel Cell and form a three-car lineup that will spearhead Honda’s dive into the world of electrification.
Once the Clarity Fuel Cell hits the market in California later in 2016 as a 2017 model, it will soon be joined by a battery-electric variant a plug-in hybrid version. Both models will also carry the “Clarity” name and as such will be called the Clarity Electric and Clarity Plug-in Hybrid. Specifics details are scant at this point, particularly with the EV and PHEV versions. Honda did say that the Clarity Electric will first go on sale in California whereas the Clarity PHEV will be sold across the U.S. at the same time, thus making it the volume leader among the three Clarity models.
Moreover, all three models will be packaged as premium mid-sized models, creating a distinct separation from Hyundai’s own three-car Ioniq lineup, which will be packaged as compact vehicles. Honda also said that the Clarity PHEV will have more than 40 miles of electric-only range, far better than what today’s PHEVs are capable of achieving.
The launch of the three Clarity models is the clearest and most emphatic sign of Honda’s goal to electrify all of its core models over the next decade and beyond. While it’s true that three models will be tagged as new models, their launches will be preempted by the release of the2017 Accord Hybrid, which is scheduled to go on sale in the spring of 2016.
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Why it matters
I guess Honda had far more serious plans for the Clarity Fuel-Cell than any of us could have imagined. While it’s true that such a step isn’t drastic – Hyundai essentially beat it to the punch with its own plans for the Ioniq – the announcement still caught a lot of people off-guard, myself included. I didn’t see this one coming, even though in hindsight, I probably should’ve.
Whatever the case may be, I’m happy that Honda’s finally making the dive into these roads, essentially confirming its promise to have all of its core models electrified in some form or fashion within the next 10 years. Now that the announcement is done, the hard part for Honda now begins. First up is to ensure that the development of these models are on schedule. The Clarity FCV is the most pressing model since the automaker has already scheduled its release to take place within the year. Once that’s out, the focus now turns to the Clarity EV and the Clarity PHEV, the two models that we know very little about at this point.
I’d like to believe that development for these two models is underway and that Honda already has a plan in place ahead of their debuts in 2017. In addition to everything that has been said, Honda also announced that all three Clarity models will feature five-seat interiors and will have tech systems like Display Audio with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and standard Honda Sensing safety and driver-assistive technology. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. What we all want to know now are the rest of the details, specifically with the EV and PHEV variants. Hopefully, those details will be made available sooner than later.
Read our full review on the Honda FCV here.