The 2017 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell steps up to and including mid-size form, drives just like a battery-electric car, and earns a range rating of 365 miles—but you’re still tethered with a hydrogen fueling network.
The 2017 Honda Clarity is usually a mid-size four-door sedan that is included with two different powertrains, each of them zero-emssion.
The first to arrive, in December 2016, was the Clarity Fuel Cell, which is powered using a hydrogen fuel cell that feeds pure hydrogen, stored in the car’s high-pressure tanks, into a fuel cell that mixes with air to supply electricity and pure water. The electricity powers a motor that drives entry wheels. It won’t should be plugged in to charge battery power; instead, the driver would need to refill it with high-pressure hydrogen at the specialized (and expensive) station—that you will find no more than 30 only at that point. The Clarity proceeded sale in December 2016, but is provided only in elements of California where hydrogen stations are available. It is packaged in one trim level, but is well-equipped for the mid-size sedan.
Your second version, the 2017 Honda Clarity Electric, will proceed sale in spring 2017, and it is powered by exactly the same electric motor. Its energy develops from a lithium-ion power supply that may be connected to either household current or maybe a 240-volt Level 2 charging station to recharge it. Even though some technical details haven’t been released, Honda says it range will likely be “about 80 miles.” That puts the electrical Clarity at a significant disadvantage against smaller electric cars get enhanced ranges of 100 to 125 miles, not to mention the Chevrolet Bolt EV having its 238-mile rating.
Both versions with the Clarity will initially be very low-volume, lease-only models offered solely in California. The electric model will cost about $35,000, while the hydrogen version starts at a lot more than $50,000—though Honda throws in three years’importance of free hydrogen your one. Still, Clarity sightings this season are often as rare as that surrounding exotic supercar models. (Next year, the happy couple will likely be joined by a higher-volume sibling, the 2018 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid, with an all-electric range projected at 42 miles or better.)
We rate the 2017 Honda Clarity lineup at 6.0 outside of 10, although that number doesn’t include a safety score because it hasn’t been rated for crash safety through the NHTSA or IIHS and possibly won’t be. It wins for the comfortable interior and quiet ride, but loses points for strange exterior lines which do not quite combine and employ that’s limited to California.
The Clarity Fuel Cell is up to date in long distinct fuel-cell vehicles Honda has produced since 1999, all of them released only in handfuls. It succeeds the FCX Clarity, another hydrogen sedan model of which about 60 were leased in the U.S. from 2008 to 2014. Its rivals would be the Toyota Mirai sedan and Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell—both offered in similarly limited areas, although Toyota offers to deliver nearly 3,000 of the Mirai fuel-cell models each year. Honda offers to offer only a little fraction of that. The Clarity Electric follows 1,100 Honda Fit EVs hatchbacks leased from 2012 through 2014, a few of them now re-leased recommended to their drivers for the second time.
We spent every day and most 80 miles in a Clarity Fuel Cell sedan outside Santa Barbara, California, in March 2017, including a quick fuel top-off as well city’s one hydrogen station. Can be to a filling station of the proper pressure and communications interface, the Clarity Fuel Cell might be refilled inside three minutes. We haven’t yet driven a Clarity Electric.
Styling and design
The 2017 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell is comparable size because the Honda Accord mid-size sedan, nevertheless it looks distinctly different. The proper execution looks to have been made with equal elements of three departed models: the previous Clarity FCX sedan, the Honda Insight hybrid hatchback, along with the Honda Accord Crosstour fastback utility vehicle.
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The exterior lines are challenged for flattering angles, as well as in profile, the Clarity appears portly at a back corner fenders. Its bulk is slightly disguised using a black roof, which pulls the interest rate lower. The high-tailed “kammback” design will likely be familiar to people who follow high-efficiency green cars; the rakish fastback profile has a lift, that has a prominent lip spoiler within the tail.
The greenhouse also tapers at a back corner to help you aerodynamics—which is partly accountable for that odd rear-fender contouring. The Clarity includes lightweight aerodynamic wheels, underbody aero panels and—due to the tougher sightlines the fact that upkick in back introduces—a supplementary rear window in the spine lid to assistance with rear visibility.
Inside, the Clarity’s passenger space is divided into four spaces, one per occupant, together with the tunnel creating dividing the cabin on the middle. A smallish shifter allows easy fingertip number of forward, reverse, neutral, or park modes by way of a shift-by-wire system. The dash is in step to current Honda models, even though the instrument panel itself offers a futuristic, energy-focused layout, and trims and door handles provide a futuristic departure from Honda’s other production models.
Performance and efficiency
At a straightforward level, the Clarity Fuel Cell is powered by an electric powered motor, with a rating of 174 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque, that drives the leading wheels. The electricity that powers it develops from a fuel cell inside the given hood, along with a small lithium-ion power supply inside the given front seats can offer added power when sudden acceleration is needed.
The 2017 Honda Clarity uses Honda’s latest generation from the so-called V Flow fuel-cell stack. It’s smaller but tougher, and Honda notes that it is entire system—fuel-cell stack, power electronics, and drive motor—fits inside the given hood in the exact same space as the standard V-6 drivetrain. The fuel cell runs most of the time of the fact that vehicle is moving; the power supply also recaptures energy from braking, or unused energy created by the fuel cell, and stores it for future use as needed for efficiency or sudden power.
The Clarity uses a complicated double-wishbone suspension and the turning radius ‘s just 17.7 feet. Driving, it drives confidently and holds the road as good as a few other mid-size sedans. Honda says its acceleration and satisfaction are roughly those of a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder gasoline vehicle of the same size. Our rough estimate for 0-to-60-mph acceleration was 9.2 seconds, on par with mass-market electric cars (though not, perhaps, the mid-size luxury sedans within the Clarity’s price of a lot more than $50,000). The individual disappointment is that often while the Clarity drives such as an electric car, its off-the-line performance is much more measured because it can’t pull maximum current looking at the small battery, and also the fuel cell prefers to perform at a reliable output.
The Clarity Fuel Cell is EPA-rated at 365 miles of range looking at the 5.5 gallons of highly compressed hydrogen. That’s over the Mirai’s 312 miles and also the Tucson Fuel Cell’s 265-mile rating, as well as over any Tesla model now on sale. With energetic driving, however, we found the car will show which you range closer to 250 miles—as good as most electric cars, but less impressive than its rated 365 miles.
In overall energy efficiency, Honda claims of the fact that fuel-cell Clarity is doubly efficient as a tight hybrid gasoline-electric vehicle. California requires one-third of hydrogen fuel to always be produced using electricity, but almost all hydrogen fuel today is made from natural gas, producing co2 as being a byproduct. The Clarity Electric, a pure battery-electric vehicle charged of your grid, continues more energy-efficient in almost all cases.
Comfort and utility
The Clarity offers comfortable seating for four adults, and we’d liken the driving position to always be similar to that particular on the current Accord. The driver’s seat is power adjustable in lots of directions, although front passenger seat doesn’t adjust for height. It’s a little bit tight on rear head room for taller adults, but rear leg room in perfect shape, as you’d expect in a significant sedan.
Honda suggests the cabin is elegant yet futuristic; it includes some nice materials not usually seen in mid-size sedans from volume brands, including a good beige suede-like material over the dash surface. The interior is made to a plant-derived Honda Bio-Fabric. There’s drink holders every occupant, as well as various trays and storage cubbies—including doors pockets and center-console space—plus there is under-trunk storage.
The trunk is 11.1 cubic feet—small, though likely adequate for your generous go to the grocery store. Honda notes the trunk might take four sets of golf sets, suited to a foursome occupying every one of the seating spots. One good reason with the very good trunk line ended up provide adequate trunk volume behind the intrusion of a large armored cylinder set crosswise behind the rear seat that holds hydrogen fuel at pressures of 10,000 psi.
The power information display around the Clarity has a three-dimensional display with meters for hydrogen consumption (a ball-shaped gauge), battery levels, motor output, and trip and efficiency information. Those few screens and also the tiny shifter aside, however, among the Clarity’s advantages over the other one two hydrogen-powered cars on the market is that it can be quiet enough to always be mistaken to have all-electric car. Honda’s managed to muffle the pumps, compressors, as well hardware that are occasionally audible in Toyota’s Mirai. An electric-car driver may well not know from inside the cabin of the fact that Clarity Fuel Cell didn’t plug in—and that is exactly a compliment.
Safety and features
Safety features measure up entirely to those who work in other sedans with sophisticated technology. In addition to the usual complement of airbags, the Clarity Fuel Cell comes standard along with a rearview camera, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking, and active lane control. The high-pressure armored hydrogen tanks are generally extensively crash-tested so that while the car may crumple around them, they are willing to stay intact.
As in any large sedan along with a tail this high, rear three-quarter visibility isn’t good. But rapidly very good and slanted rear window, rear visibility throughout the mirror improves on you’d expect, as a result of window around the panel concerned with the tops of these two rear seats including a corresponding window around the trunk lid. This gives a two-part rear view, with the bottom half being throughout the the top of trunk compartment, however works.
There’s simply single trim level for either Clarity model, reflecting its likely decreased sales volume. The Fuel Cell version comes standard with all-LED lights, dual-zone climate control, power-adjustable heated front seats, a head-up display for speed and more information, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen sound system that includes Bluetooth pairing, alongside Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, among other features.