The Honda Clarity is to Honda what the Hyundai Ioniq is to Hyundai — a single chassis that can accommodate several different powertrains. For Hyundai, that means a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid, and a fully battery-electric version built on the same platform. For Honda, it means a fuel cell, a plug-in hybrid, and a fully battery-electric version are available, all based on the same platform. Up to this point, Honda has told us a lot about the Clarity FCEV. This week at the New York Auto Show, it has provided more details about the PHEV and battery version.
The Clarity PHEV will have an electric motor and a 181 horsepower gasoline engine. Electric-only range is 42 miles, which is longer than most other plug-in hybrids on the market (every one of them except the Chevy Volt). 42 miles is long enough that most people will be able to go about their daily business without calling on the gas engine for assistance, just as long as they remember to plug in at night.
When the engine is required, the car is expected to get about 42 miles per gallon and have a total range of 330 miles. It can be fully charged in just 2.5 hours using a 240 volt, Level 2 charger.
The Clarity EV it rated at 80 miles of range. That’s pretty weak in today’s world, where 200 miles is increasingly considered to be the minimum to keep people from freaking out because of range anxiety. What makes the Clarity EV desirable? Honda claims that it is larger and more spacious than its competitors (apparently, Honda is referring to the BMW i3, not the Tesla Model S).
An 80% charge will take about 30 minutes with a DC fast charger. That’s great — now, thanks to Honda, we can drive about an hour down the highway and then stop for 30 minutes to recover. Brilliant! (Note: this charging rate is standard in non-Tesla EVs.)
Each of the cars will feature similar interior amenities as well. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available, bringing your favorite smartphone apps to the car’s infotainment system. A complete Honda Sense active safety system will be standard, which offers equipment like lane-keep assist. Bio-materials are used throughout the interior, too.
Pricing will begin in the mid-$30,000 range for both the PHEV and EV Clarity before incentives. The plug-in hybrid will be immediately released to all 50 states while the all-electric Clarity will debut in California and Oregon before moving on to other markets.
What isn’t clear is the relationship between the Accord and the Clarity. Both are within an inch or two of each other in all dimensions. They are also priced about the same. The new Accord Hybrid is flying out of dealer showrooms. Why have two cars so similar in size and price in Honda’s lineup?
I am but a simple scribe and know next to nothing about running a car company, but it seems to me there is some muddled thinking going on inside Honda’s product planning department. One wonders it the Clarity EV will ever be sold outside of California and Oregon. It seems like a lot of work to go through to build just another compliance car.
Source: The Drive