• 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 2017

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.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

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.

Honda FCV

2016 Honda FCV
- image 653340

Read our full review on the Honda FCV here.

Kirby Garlitos
Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read full bio
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Press Release

Honda today announced that the upcoming Clarity Fuel Cell will be joined by two additional variants, the Clarity Electric and Clarity Plug-in Hybrid, launching in the U.S. in 2017. The addition of two new Clarity vehicles, based on the same platform underpinning the new Clarity Fuel Cell, makes Clarity the first vehicle in the industry to offer fuel cell, electric and plug-in hybrid technology on one model platform, offering Honda customers an expanded array of electrified vehicle choices to suit their individual tastes and driving needs.

Following the U.S. launch of the Clarity Fuel Cell in late 2016, the Clarity Electric will go on-sale in 2017. The Clarity Electric will be the first affordable, midsize, five-passenger battery electric vehicle (BEV) to offer premium content and features. The third vehicle in the Clarity series, the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid, will launch in all 50 states later in 2017 and will be the volume leader in the series, seamlessly combining an all-electric driving range in excess of 40 miles with a hyper-efficient gasoline-hybrid extended range mode.

With elegant exterior styling, the Clarity series of vehicles will also offer spacious interiors outfitted with premium, environmentally-responsible materials and thoughtful, stylish design cues. The Clarity series will also feature advanced technologies, including Display Audio with Android Auto™ and Apple CarPlay™ as well as standard Honda Sensing™ safety and driver-assistive technology.

"The Honda Clarity Series will provide customers with a well-equipped, premium, midsize vehicle with range of ultra low-carbon powertrain options to suit their lifestyle needs," said John Mendel, executive vice president, Automobile Division, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. "This Honda trio of dedicated, advanced technology vehicles, along with the expanded application of two- and three-motor hybrid systems to our core models, represents a strong commitment to Honda’s future and will help create a new volume pillar for electrified vehicle sales."

All of the Clarity models will leverage the platform that has enabled the Clarity Fuel Cell’s low, wide and aerodynamic proportions and spacious five-passenger cabin. This shared platform strategy also enables flexibility in responding to infrastructure and market developments, and the ability to provide customers nationwide with an ultra-low carbon vehicle that meets their lifestyle needs while expanding the market for Honda advanced technology products. The first of the Clarity Series to launch will be the Clarity Fuel Cell, Honda’s most technologically advanced vehicle ever, slated to begin deliveries to customers in select California markets in late 2016. The Clarity Fuel Cell will have a targeted monthly lease price of under $500.

Technological innovations to the Clarity Fuel Cell include a fuel cell stack that is 33 percent more compact than its predecessor with a 60 percent increase in power density compared to the outgoing Honda FCX Clarity. The more compact fuel cell and integrated powertrain, comparable in size to a V-6 engine, now fit entirely under the hood of the car, allowing for a more spacious cabin with seating for five adult passengers. The new Clarity Fuel Cell will feature an anticipated U.S. EPA driving range in excess of 300 miles, with a refueling time of approximately three to five minutes, roughly equivalent to customers’ experience with gasoline refueling.

In addition to the Clarity series, a reengineered 2017 Accord Hybrid will go on-sale this spring, delivering both top-of-class power and fuel efficiency in a midsize hybrid sedan, as Honda seeks to grow sales of electrified vehicles – hybrids, plug-in hybrids, battery electric vehicles and fuel cell vehicles. On a global basis, Honda is aiming to have electrified vehicles account for two-thirds of its vehicles sales around 2030.

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