Hydrogen fuel cell cars creep up on electrics

14 April, 2017, 10:43 | Author: Alicia Barber
  • Clarity PHEV, EV on sale later this year in U.S

Altogether, Honda is expecting it to be the sales leader of the Clarity line-up, and though pricing is yet to be confirmed, we can expect something in the mid-$30s for the entry-level PHEV Standard, and more for the better-equipped PHEV Touring. Honda is understandably pleased with itself since this is the first time fuel cell, battery and hybrid power systems have been made available on a single vehicle platform. The company had disclosed earlier this year that they are planning to launch a number of electrified models in the coming few years.

Honda has been selling - or, rather, leasing - the Clarity hydrogen fuel cell auto in California for years.

But the company has modest aims for the entire Clarity lineup, targeting sales of 75,000 units-over four years.

At 366 miles, the Clarity Fuel Cell has the highest EPA driving range rating of any zero-emission vehicle in America, including fuel cell and battery electric vehicles, and an EPA fuel economy rating of 68 MPGe combined.

Steve Center, who's Honda's vice president in connected and environmental business development, says "we're really at the beginning of the vertical" when it comes to electrified auto adoption - including hybrid vehicles with gasoline powered motors.

The Clarity battery electric version has a lower-power motor than the hybrid model - 161 hp and 221 pounds-feet of torque - and a bigger, 25.5-kwh battery pack. To put things into perspective, Tesla's EV Model S and Model S 100D give an effective range of 200 miles and 300 miles, respectively. Under the hood is a 1.5 litre Atkinson cycle engine to generate electricity and, under certain conditions, to act as a direct power source, resulting in an anticipated overall driving range rating in excess of 531 km. The gas engine is also tasked with powering the vehicle directly under certain conditions.

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The full-electric version has an 80-mile range and can be recharged in three hours on a 240-volt outlet.

The Clarity PHEV will have selectable Normal, Econ and Sport modes to balance energy efficiency and performance as desired. It also will offer an HV battery management mode that lets you maintain the charge and save it for later in the drive.

The hybrid will be powered by a 181-horsepower electric motor and produce 232 lb. -ft. of torque.

Clarity Electric will go on sale later in the year and reportedly start at $35,000, excluding incentives and taxes.

Each of the three five-seat Clarity models gets its own distinctive design treatment, which includes a hero color, differentiated lighting and front styling, and individual 18-in wheel designs.

Even though it's not available here - yet - I had a chance to drive the hydrogen-powered Clarity near NY.

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