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Hydrogen fuel cell cars creep up _ slowly _ on electrics

17 April 2017

Honda took a bit of a hiatus from EVs after discontinuing the Fit EV a few years ago, so news of a new electric offering is naturally exciting. Pricing for the new versions has not been announced.

"Our outlook for fuel cells is bolstered by the tremendous initial reaction we have received from our customers about their experience with the Clarity Fuel Cell and from media who've already had the opportunity to drive it", he argued. By contrast, it takes nine hours to fully recharge an all-electric Chevrolet Bolt using a 240-volt home charger.

"The Honda Clarity is aimed at accelerating the deployment of advanced electrified powertrain technology and bringing electrified vehicles further into the mainstream", said Jeff Conrad, senior vice president of American Honda Motor Co, Inc. If more people drove electrified cars, there'd be more need for infrastructure.

The Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid will go 42 miles on electricity alone before a gasoline engine turns on, providing more than 330 miles of total driving range. (315 Nm) of torque and has a 17-kWh lithium-ion battery pack.

Honda expects the EPA efficiency rating to be 105 MPGe, which the company says is "top of its class" among plug-in hybrids. The volume seller of the Clarity trio will be available in standard and Touring trim levels. It also will offer an HV battery management mode that lets you maintain the charge and save it for later in the drive. Power will come from a 25.5-kilowatt/hour battery pack connected to a 120-kilowatt electric motor that produces the equivalent of 161 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque.

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Hydrogen fuel cell cars have two big advantages over electric cars. Fueling stations cost up to $2 million to build, so companies have been reluctant to build them unless more fuel cell cars are on the road.

A hydrogen fuel cell vehicle is essentially an electric auto.

Much like the Accord Hybrid, the Clarity's gasoline engine will primarily operate as an efficient range extending generator, supplying power to the electric motor without a direct connection to the wheels. Honda says it expects it to be rated for a driving range of 80 miles and a combined mpg-e rating of 111. Unlike the fuel cell auto, the plug-in hybrid Clarity will be available to buy or lease in all 50 states later this year at a price expected to be around $35,000.

The Clarity EV - seen here in blue - will launch in 2017, starting with a lease programme in the U.S. states of California and Oregon. The Clarity Fuel Cell is available for the competitive introductory lease price of $369 a month for 36 months with $2,868 due at signing The lease terms include an attractive mileage allowance of 20,000 miles per year, up to $15,000 of hydrogen fuel, up to 21 days of an Avis Luxury Rental in California, 24/7 roadside assistance, and eligibility for California "White Sticker" single occupant HOV access.