Hydrogen fuel cell cars creep up _ slowly _ on electrics

Posted April 17, 2017

Honda is understandably pleased with itself since this is the first time fuel cell, battery and hybrid power systems have been made available on a single vehicle platform.

Honda's fuel-cell version of the Clarity is aimed at "the most devoted of green motorists who want to cut the cord altogether", said Steve Center, vice president of American Honda's Environmental Business Development Office.

The 2018 Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid, launching at dealerships nationwide later this year, is anticipated to earn an all-electric driving range rating of 42 miles, the longest of any midsize plug-in hybrid.

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What's more, one of those other Clarity cars, the Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid, will be available in all 50 states, which will make it a lot more accessible than the California-only hydrogen vehicle. The Volt can travel 53 miles (83 km) on a full battery. Honda also detailed the Clarity Electric - 25.5-kWH battery pack, 161-hp electric motor with 221 lb. -ft. of torque and expected 120/102/111 MPGe (city/highway/combined) on the EPA cycle. The plug-in Clarity should be able to fully charge its battery pack from a 240-volt outlet in 2.5 hours (around 90 minutes faster than the Volt).

Honda says it expects a top-of-class 105 MPGe fuel-economy rating for the PHEV, which goes on sale later this year in the U.S.

Steve Center, who's Honda's vice president in connected and environmental business development, says "we're really at the beginning of the vertical" when it comes to electrified auto adoption - including hybrid vehicles with gasoline powered motors. Many EVs sold in the USA can travel near or beyond 100 miles (161 km) on a full charge, including the Nissan Leaf and new Hyundai Ioniq. And then there's the excellent Chevrolet Bolt, which we've driven to its EPA-rated 238-mile range with miles to spare.

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But, Honda points out, the mid-sized Clarity EV is bigger and roomier than a longer-range auto like the Bolt, and, besides, 80 miles really is plenty for most people's daily routines. The Ioniq now has the best combined MPGe among U.S. EVs, 136 MPGe. The Clarity Plug-in Hybrid features three selectable modes - Normal, Econ and Sport - allowing drivers to customize their experience, maximizing efficiency or driving performance.

"Electrification is the future of mobility and the future, of Honda", Center said.

The PHEV comes in two trim levels, standard and Touring, while the EV has one grade. Canada could see Clarity models by spring next next year. The Clarity series will contribute to an anticipated five-fold increase in Honda's USA sales of electrified vehicles over the next four years as the company works toward its target that two-thirds of its global automobile sales will come from electrified vehicles by 2030.

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When you think hybrid, you usually think Prius.