The three-variant Clarity is one of Honda's most advanced creations

I drove Honda's stunning hydrogen-powered car — here's what it was like
The three-variant Clarity is one of Honda's most advanced creations
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17 April, 2017

Pricing for the new versions has not been announced. The model uses an 1.5-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine to charge the battery pack and even drive the wheels - the electric motor boasts 181 horsepower and 232 foot-pounds of torque. Joining the Clarity Fuel Cell that was launched late last year, the trio is expected to contribute to an anticipated five-fold increase in Honda's USA sales of electrified vehicles over the next four years.

While the versions are basically the same vehicle, Honda says each Clarity variant will have some distinguishing appearance touches, including an exclusive color, its own wheel design and some variations on lighting and front ends.

Offering Honda's "fun-to-drive" DNA, each Clarity variant provides a smooth, quiet and highly refined driving experience, aided by the smooth and seamless character of electric drive torque and acceleration. The 17 kW battery pack in the Clarity PHEV, meanwhile, can be fully charged in 2.5 hours using a 240-volt outlet. That has a 161 HP electric motor and a larger battery than the PHEV, at 25.5 kWh. The EPA rating of 105 MPGe combined suggests the auto has been geared towards maximum efficiency, so just like the fuel-cell model, it's aimed at geeks like us. So within the next few years, drivers might have the choice of driving hydrogen-powered cars in places other than California.

The PHEV comes in two trim levels, standard and Touring, while the EV has one grade. Drivers can manage battery power and ride with three primary driving modes: Normal, Econ and Sport.

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But the filling stations are the biggest obstacle for the fuel cell cars.

As for the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid model, Center said the vehicle is designed for those "wanting to take the next step in environmental performance", but still want range and fuel flexibility.

Although electric auto manufacturers have long claimed that 95 per cent of vehicle trips are under 50 miles, they have also begrudgingly acknowledged that consumers' fear of running out of charge is one of the main barriers to purchasing an electric auto.

The customers are able to choose from fuel cell variant, electrified variant, and plug-in hybrid variant. Past that point, the gasoline motor will generate electricity as well as propulsion for a total range of 330 miles. It will get the Electric to market later this year, beginning with lease programs in California and Oregon. The Clarity Fuel Cell is available for the competitive introductory lease price of $369 a month for 36 months with $2,868 due at signing The lease terms include an attractive mileage allowance of 20,000 miles per year, up to $15,000 of hydrogen fuel, up to 21 days of an Avis Luxury Rental in California, 24/7 roadside assistance, and eligibility for California "White Sticker" single occupant HOV access.


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