Clarity Plug-in Hybrid and Clarity Electric Unveiled:
‘Series Provides Unparalleled Electric Drive Choice’
As Two-Motor Hybrid Electric Truck Is Promised Too
American Honda has expanded its line of Clarity-badged electric drive vehicles beyond the hydrogen-fueled Clarity Fuel Cell sedan, establishing a three-model line of five-passenger midsize sedans including the new Clarity Plug-in Hybrid PHEV and all-battery Clarity Electric car.
“The ‘three-in-one’ Clarity series,” Honda says, “provides unparalleled electric drive choice with premium midsize sedan capability and three advanced electrified powertrain options.”
Honda says it’s targeting a five-fold increase in sales of electrified vehicles in next four years.
‘Bringing Electrified Vehicles Further into the Mainstream’
“The Clarity series is the first of its kind, the very first car in the industry to offer fuel cell, battery electric, and plug-in hybrid powertrains on a single vehicle platform,” American Honda senior VP Jeff Conrad said in an announcement from the New York International Auto Show, where the Clarity line was unveiled.
“This three-in-one approach, as we call it, is aimed at accelerating the deployment of advanced electrified powertrain technology.”
“We’re bringing electrified vehicles further into the mainstream by providing choices that meet the diverse needs of customers interested in advanced technology vehicles,” Conrad said.
- PHEV/Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle: The Clarity Plug-in Hybrid is expected to have an all-electric range of 42 miles from its 17-kilowatt-hour battery pack, with a 1.5-liter, four-cylinder Atkinson-cycle engine yielding “an EPA fuel economy rating of 105 MPGe/miles per gallon of gasoline-equivalent combined, “at the top of its class.” Total driving range is 330 miles.
- All-Battery Electric: The Clarity Electric has an expected single-charge range of 80 miles from a 25.5-kilowatt-hour battery pack with an anticipated EPA fuel economy rating of 120/102/111 MPGe.
- Hydrogen: The Clarity Fuel Cell boasts a fuel cell stack that is 33% more compact with a 60% increase in power density compared to its predecessor, the Honda FCX Clarity. “The more compact fuel cell and integrated powertrain, now comparable in size to a V-6 engine, fits entirely under the hood of the car, allowing for a more spacious cabin with seating for five passengers,” Honda says.
The automaker began deliveries of the 2017 Clarity Fuel Cell in December 2016 in select California markets (F&F, December 20), “where a consumer friendly network of hydrogen stations continues to grow.” The car is offered at a “competitive introductory lease price of $369 a month for 36 months,” including an allowance of 20,000 miles per year, and up to $15,000 of hydrogen fuel.
More than 100 have been delivered, Conrad said in New York.
Stepping up the pace, “Over the next two years, more than half of the new models we bring to market in the U.S. will be electrified vehicles of one kind or another,” he said.
Hybrid Honda Trucks ‘Within the Next Several Years’
An all-new dedicated Honda hybrid car with the two-motor system now available in the Accord Hybrid is “coming next year,” he pledged, with the design applied to Honda’s light trucks “within the next several years.”
“We’ve set a target for two-thirds of Honda’s total vehicle sales to be electrified by the year 2030,” Conrad said.
“For the near to mid-term, advancing toward this goal will depend heavily on sales of hybrids and plug-ins,” he said. “This is a challenging target, especially here in our market, where gas costs less than bottled water.
‘Electrification is the Future of Mobility’
“Nonetheless, we believe it’s critically important that we continue to make rapid progress in the deployment of next generation vehicles and make these products the kind of vehicles that our customers want to drive.”
“Electrification is the future of mobility and the future of Honda, and it all starts now with this new Clarity series,” said Steve Center, American Honda VP for connected and environmental business development.
“For the near-term, much of our effort at growing sales of electrified vehicles will focus on plug-in hybrids and, to a lesser degree, battery electrics,” Center said in New York.
“The Clarity Electric is an early part of that effort and is designed for the EV ‘purists,’ customers who want the experience of an all-electric vehicle combined with the premium quality, five-passenger sedan space and affordability of a Clarity.”
‘Purists’ & ‘Flexibility’
Clarity Electric’s estimated 80-mile range “is designed around the needs of commuters,” Center said, “offering them greater efficiency in their daily driving.” The car is to be available later this year, starting via lease in California and Oregon.
The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid, Center said, “will be the volume leader in our Clarity lineup, sold in all 50 states.” The car “is designed for customers who want to take that next step forward in environmental performance but still want the range and refueling flexibility that comes from a gas-electric hybrid approach.”
Hydrogen ‘for the True Believers’
“The Clarity Fuel Cell,” Center said, “is for the true believers, the most devoted of green motorists, who really want to cut the cord altogether and be on the absolute leading edge of an advanced technology future.”
Honda said it hopes to sell some 75,000 Clarity vehicles in America over the course of the first four model years.
The company is expected to show the Clarity Fuel Cell at the upcoming Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo. ACT Expo 2017 takes place May 1-4 at Southern California’s Long Beach Convention Center.
Contact information is only available to premium subscribers. Click here to purchase a subscription.
Source: American Honda with Fleets & Fuels follow-up