News about plug-in hybrids coming to market soon was everywhere last week. Honda, Volvo, Lync & C0, and General Motors all had something to say on the subject. Some of the announcements were bold; some were partially hidden. Honda kicked things off by releasing final pricing details about the plug-in hybrid version of its multi-faceted Clarity sedan.
Meet The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid
The Clarity may look a lot like an Accord to most shoppers, but it is built on an entirely new chassis designed to accept three modes of propulsion — hydrogen fuel cell, plug-in hybrid, or pure battery electric. Honda now says the plug-in hybrid version will go on sale before Christmas and be priced at $33,400 for the well equipped standard trim version.
The Touring version with more bumpf and features will list for $36,600. Sharp eyed readers will notice those prices are many thousands less than the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid. While the Volt is a fine car, it is a bit tight in its interior dimensions. Expect the Clarity to have more room in its comfy interior for real passengers, especially in the back seat.
The Clarity PHEV will come with a 17 kWh battery — large enough to qualify for the full $7,500 federal tax credit unless and until Republicans in Congress repeal the tax credit entirely. Honda says it has an electric only range of 47 miles, nearly as much as the Volt. Recharging time is given as 2.5 hours using a 240 volt charger.
Volvo and Lync & Co. Will Offer Plug-In Crossovers
Volvo and Lync & Co, both owned by Geely, say they are close to bringing plug-in hybrid crossover models to American shores. Sales of the Volvo XC40 PHEV are expected to begin in the second half of 2018. The Lync & Co 01 will debut in China next year before heading to showrooms in Europe the following year. Sales in the US will begin sometime after the European introduction.
Kissing cousins beneath their separate badges, both will both share a plug-in hybrid powertrain with 31 miles of electric range backed up by a 1.5 liter three cylinder gasoline engine. There are reports that a version with 50 miles of range will be offered as well.
A Stealth Reveal For General Motors
Speaking to the Barclays 2017 Global Automotive Conference last week, General Motors CEO Mary Barra said her company has up to 20 electrified models in the pipeline. While she spoke, the image seen above appeared on the screen behind her with a caption reading “New CUV entries — two entries by 2020.”
Fox News was quick to point out that the image bore a remarkable resemblance to the exciting Chevy FNR-X concept unveiled at the Shanghai auto show earlier this year. See for yourself. Notice the resemblance?
Barra made no reference to the image behind her and we don’t know whether it will be built on the Chevy Bolt electric car chassis or the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid platform. Clearly GM has an economic interest in leveraging the investment made in both by applying it to other models in its corporate lineup.
Electric car advocates dislike plug-in hybrids because they have internal combustion engines, but they may well be an important — if temporary — part of the transition to electric vehicles that is gathering momentum worldwide. Sometimes 50% of something is better than 100% of nothing. Especially if some of those plug-ins are crossover utility vehicles which happen to represent the hottest part of the new car market right now.