The race to fuel-cell supremacy just got a new participant as Honda introduced its new Clarity sedan to the U.S. during the Los Angeles Auto Show.
Like the other recently introduced fuel cell vehicles – the Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Santa Fe – the Clarity will be available in limited numbers and areas, mostly California, which is undergoing a concerted effort to expand the hydrogen refueling network.
“Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are a zero emissions technology that Honda believes in, and has worked to advance for more than 20 years,” said John Mendel, executive vice president, American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
“Vehicles like the Clarity Fuel Cell are potential game changers because they offer an uncompromising, zero emissions customer experience, with utility, range and refueling times on par with today’s gasoline-powered cars.”
(Honda clarifies fuel-cell plans with debut of new hydrogen car. For more, Click Here.)
Technological innovations to the Clarity Fuel Cell have created a fuel cell stack that is 33% more compact than its predecessor with a 60% increase in power density compared to the outgoing Honda FCX Clarity.
The more compact fuel cell powertrain, comparable in size to a V-6 engine, fits entirely under the hood of the car, allowing for a spacious cabin with seating for five passengers. The Clarity boasts a driving range estimated to exceed 300 miles, and an anticipated refueling time of approximately three minutes at a pressure of 70 MPa. The powerplant produces 134 horsepower.
The new fuel cell will, like most of the others, be available on the West Coast first. Honda will begin deliveries to customers in late 2016 starting in Los Angeles and Orange Counties, the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento. Eventually, Honda will expand the scope of its marketing to additional California markets and other states, including the Northeast as hydrogen refueling networks expand.
(Click Here for more about Honda’s new Civic couple debuted in Los Angeles.)
While no pricing information was release, the automaker said it “will be priced competitively with others in the segment.” Not only will it be priced to sell, it’ll also feature a spate of driver-assist and infotainment technologies drivers are demanding.
Additional features include the Honda Sensing suite of safety and driver assistive technologies, support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, LED exterior lighting and 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels. The Clarity Fuel Cell will be available in black, white and signature red exterior paint schemes.
The Clarity is actually more than just the maker’s latest entry in the fuel-cell arena. Honda announced that the platform underpinning the Clarity will also serve as the foundation for a next-generation Honda plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) that will launch nationwide by 2018, with more than triple the all-electric range of the Accord Plug-In Hybrid Sedan.
(To get more about Honda’s introductions at the L.A. Auto Show, Click Here.)
The new PHEV will be a volume production vehicle available nationwide. Featuring a second iteration of the two-motor hybrid plug-in system offering significant improvements in battery capacity and power, the next-generation Honda PHEV will offer more than triple the 13-mile all-electric range of the Accord Plug-In Hybrid Sedan. This range will enable a zero emissions commute for the average American, while increases in power will enable EV operation at highway speeds.