Honda Clarity Will Get Hybrid and Full-Electric Versions in 2017

Honda FCV Clarity 1 photo
Photo: Honda
Honda has announced an unusual change in the Clarity lineup. Instead of keeping the fuel cell version as the only model in the range, the Japanese carmaker will provide electric and plug-in hybrid versions. Both versions will be launched on the U.S. market in 2017.
The triple powertrain option in the Clarity range is not entirely unique in the automotive industry as an idea, as Hyundai will offer the three eco-friendly choices in their Ioniq notchback, but Honda will be the first to market the trio.

Unlike Honda, Hyundai does not provide a fuel cell version of its model, while Honda does not offer a plain hybrid version of the Clarity.

Honda has revealed that the plug-in hybrid of the Clarity range will be the last to be launched, but it will probably bring the highest volumes.

The Japanese brand announced an all-electric driving range of over 40 miles (64 km) with its gasoline-electric plug-in hybrid powertrain. Since it can be fully charged from a plug, the car can provide zero tailpipe emissions while in full-electric mode.

The expansion of the Clarity range will allow Honda to provide more cars with the wide and aerodynamic proportions of its fuel cell vehicle. Furthermore, the shared platform strategy will help recover development costs for this model, an important issue for all products developed from scratch.

In the world of fuel cell vehicles and electric cars, this is a significant problem, as sales do not match expectations for most propositions in these segments. The situation described above is a typical issue for automakers, in particular for the first generation of these types of models, which did not provide massive driving ranges and came with high sticker prices.

In turn, elevated prices of these electric and fuel cell cars made some potential customers switch to traditional vehicles or hybrids, and most motivated their choice on the driving range provided by these models.

The early adopters of these vehicles also face significant losses in resale value once the replacement models of the cars they own come to market, which often bring lower acquisition prices and improved all-around efficiency.

Let’s hope this will not be the case with the new Clarity, which promises to achieve impressive autonomy for all powertrain options offered in the range.
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About the author: Sebastian Toma
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Sebastian's love for cars began at a young age. Little did he know that a career would emerge from this passion (and that it would not, sadly, involve being a professional racecar driver). In over fourteen years, he got behind the wheel of several hundred vehicles and in the offices of the most important car publications in his homeland.
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