At the Los Angeles auto show this week, Honda announced that its all new Clarity fuel cell car will go on sale in the US in 2016. Well, parts of the US, anyway. Initially, sales will be limited to southern California and the San Francisco Bay area. That makes sense, since those places have the only commercial hydrogen refueling stations in the country at the moment. Honda plans to expand the Clarity marketing area to the Northeast region, once refueling facilities are available in that part of the country. (In other words, don’t hold your breath, New Englanders.)
As reported by Hybrid Cars, Ryan Harty, manager of environmental business development for American Honda told the press on Friday, “The Clarity Fuel Cell will serve as the first vehicle launched from a new platform that will be followed by an all-new Honda plug-in hybrid electric vehicle that we plan to launch nationwide by 2018.
“This new [car] will feature our next-gen two motor hybrid system [and] offer significant improvements in battery capacity and power, more than tripling the all-electric range of the Accord plug-in, which stands at around 13 miles today. This electric range will enable a zero emissions commute for the average American with significant range-extended capabilities enabled by an efficient gasoline engine. The increase in power will enable [all electric] operation at highway speeds.”
The Clarity platform will also provide the basis for the all electric car Honda plans to bring to market in 2018. Whether the fuel cell, plug-in and battery cars will share the same styling is unknown, but the plug-in will be a stand alone model, not a variation of the Accord as it was previously. Using the same chassis architecture for three cars is a smart move by Honda. It will save tremendously on development costs and that will help keep the retail price of the cars as low as possible.
The Clarity on display in Los Angeles is a rather attractive design, especially compared to the outlandish looking Toyota Mirai. If the plug-in hybrid and electric models built on the same chassis employ the same design language, Honda may have a hit on its hands. Then again, almost any car could sell better than the now discontinued Accord PHEV. Honda only managed to sell 343 of them in 2014.
Photo Credit: The Car Connection