2018 Honda Clarity
Honda introduced the Clarity nameplate back in 2008 with the FCX Clarity, a mid-size, five-passenger, four-door sedan equipped with a hydrogen-powered electric motor. Based on the FCX Concept vehicle from 2006, the original Clarity was the first hydrogen fuel cell passenger car ever offered for general public consumption. Production of the original Clarity ended in 2014 with just a handful of units sold, but now it’s back, with Honda reintroducing the nameplate in December of 2016. The basics are the same, including the four-door sedan body style bristling with nerdy cuts and details, while under the hood you’ll find a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain. Joining the H2-powered model now is two other powertrains, including an all-electric and plug-in hybrid variant, both of which were unveiled earlier this year at the New York International Auto Show.
With three options on the table, Honda hopes to bump up U.S. sales to 75,000 units over the course of the next four years, representing a five-fold increase in electric vehicle sales overall. This also coincides with goals of making two out of every three vehicles sold an electrified green alternative by the year 2030. “The Honda Clarity is aimed at accelerating the deployment of advanced electrified powertrain technology and bringing electrified vehicles further into the mainstream,” said Jeff Conrad, senior vice president of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. “The Clarity series also heralds the advancement of our Honda Electrification Initiative, representing our investment in the full spectrum of electric-vehicle technologies.” Can the Clarity deliver?
Update: 06/12/2017: Honda has just announced a new leasing program for the Honda Clarity Electric. Check out the “Prices” section below to learn all about it.
Honda’s first mass market fuel cell car has taken a lot of different forms as it evolves into something that you can buy at a dealership. The first prototypes were shown all of the way back in 1999, then there were a number of test vehicles build from there. Another concept showed up in 2006, followed by the FCX Clarity in 2008, which was produced and leased in very limited numbers for research purposes. Then Honda showed off a concept of an actual production model at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show, and the name of the project changed from FCX to FCV.
This represents a change from “Fuel Cell eXperimental” to “Fuel Cell Vehicle”, signaling that Honda is finally serious about putting the car into production, even if it does have a tremendously uncreative name. Now Honda is announcing that a production-ready version of the car will debut at the Tokyo Motor Show, along with a real name, and a few teaser photos have come out as well. The car has been toned down from the concept, obviously, but the evolution of the model is still evident in the new design. And although Toyota might has beaten Honda to market with its own fuel cell car, this is still a very important vehicle.
Updated 10/29/2015: Honda dropped the official details on the next generation Clarity Fuel Cell Vehicle during its official debut at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show. Sales in Japan will begin in early 2016, with Europe to follow later in the year.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Honda FCV.
It wasn’t all that long ago that the idea of a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle seemed like a dead-end endeavor. The prospect of a world full of cars that consume hydrogen and emit only water has always ranked right up there with flying cars on the list of things that have always been right around the corner. The technology remained too expensive for public consumption, and when hybrids and EVs began selling huge numbers, it seemed everyone just sort of forgot about it. Except for Honda.
The Japanese company has arguably more experience than any car company in the world when it comes to hydrogen fuel-cell technology. Way back in 1999, the company introduced it first prototype fuel-cell vehicle, the FCX, and later introduced a limited-run compact hatchback FCX for limited fleet use in the United States and Japan.
In 2008 Honda launched its first pilot program for individual customers with the FCX Clarity in 2008. It was built in limited numbers and offered in parts of Southern California and Japan and Europe, where hydrogen fill-up stations were starting to pop up. Because the FCX Clarity was so expensive to manufacture (rumors suggest as much as $1 million per unit), they were only offered for lease.
The FCX Clarity program ended in early 2014, but now Honda is doubling down with a new hydrogen fuel-cell car, the FCV Concept. As the name implies, it’s just a concept for now, but Honda has committed to launching a road-ready version in 2016 as part of a wider initiative in Southern California and eventually other parts of the world. Honda has also committed to helping expand the state of California’s public hydrogen refueling station network. Heck, I even saw a hydrogen pump at a Shell station in Orange County just last week.
Updated 01/23/2015: We’ve added a series of new images from the car’s official debut at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. Check the new images in the "Pictures" tab.
Click past the jump to read more about the Honda FCV Concept.