It’s official. The Honda Clarity fuel cell sedan due out by the end of this year is officially rated by the EPA as the longest range electric car offered for sale in America — 366 miles. Now wait a minute, all you Tesla fanatics. Yes, we know there is a world of difference between the Honda Clarity and your beloved Model S, but technically speaking, the range of the Clarity is 100 miles more than the average Tesla and both are electric cars. Sort of.
The Clarity gets its electricity not from an enormous battery but from a fuel cell that is powered by compressed hydrogen. There is actually a small lithium ion battery in there somewhere to power the car when full acceleration is called for, but it is tiny compared to what Tesla puts in any of its cars.
Compared to the last Clarity fuel cell car, which was withdrawn from the market in 2015, the new car has a fuel cell stack that is 33% more compact than its predecessor with a 60 percent increase in power density. The more compact fuel cell and integrated powertrain, comparable in size to a V-6 engine, now fits entirely under the hood of the car, allowing for a more spacious cabin with seating for five passengers.
The EPA also says the Clarity has an MPGe rating of 68. Frankly, that’s a lowly figure. The Tesla Model S is rated higher and the new Prius Prime has an MPGe rating of 124 — almost double that of the Clarity. That won’t keep Honda from lauding its new fuel cell car to the skies, however.
Honda will lease the Clarity through a network of twelve dealers — six in southern California, five in the San Francisco Bay area and one in Sacramento. More dealers will be added as the infrastructure of hydrogen fueling stations expands. Refueling time is estimated to be five minutes or less using the highest pressure refueling facilities available.
The new Clarity is thoroughly modern and up to date in appearance. Inside, it features luxury appointments and intuitive controls. The Clarity is equipped with the Honda Sensing suite of safety and driver assist technologies, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for smartphone connectivity, distinctive LED exterior lighting, and 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels. The Clarity will be available in Crystal Black Pearl, White Orchid Pearl and signature Bordeaux Red Metallic exterior paint schemes.
Honda plans to make the Clarity a stand alone model separate from the Accord. Eventually, the Clarity platform will offer customers a choice of the fuel cell powertrain, a plug-in hybrid, or a battery electric car. Those other versions are expected to debut sometime in 2017.
Source: Electric Cars Report Image credit: Honda