Honda Clarity Electric and Plug-in Hybrid: Elec-Trifecta

I drove Honda's stunning hydrogen-powered car — here's what it was like

Japanese carmaker Honda has set itself a huge target of selling 75,000 electrified cars in the United States within the next four years and it believes that the key to meeting that goal is to offer buyers a range of three very different types of plug-in vehicle, all called Clarity. The company has previously announced plans to introduce a dedicated new hybrid vehicle to the U.S. market in 2018.

The third model, the plug-in hybrid, will likely have broader appeal. When the battery drains, a 1.5-liter Atkinson cycle four-cylinder gas engine kicks in to generate electricity and keep the auto motoring for an additional 288 miles (463 km), for a total estimated range of 330 miles (531 km).

The Clarity Plug-in and Clarity Electric will be joining the lineup of Clarity Fuel Cell. Lessees can also apply for the State of California $5,000 rebate.The Clarity Fuel Cell is available in three colors: Bordeaux Red Metallic, White Orchid Pearl and Crystal Black Pearl. Topping up the battery pack takes two and a half hours when the pack is plugged into a 240-volt charger. "The Clarity series also heralds the advancement of our Honda Electrification Initiative, representing our investment in the full spectrum of electric-vehicle technologies", said Jeff Conrad, senior VP of American Honda Motor Co. Right now, there are a little more than 100 Clarity Fuel Cell cars on the road. (315 Nm) of torque and has a 17-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. The EPA rating of 105 MPGe combined suggests the auto has been geared towards maximum efficiency, so just like the fuel-cell model, it's aimed at geeks like us.

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. It will offer the model in standard and touring trims and anticipates the versatile hybrid powertrain being the sales leader of the Clarity family.

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The Clarity EV - seen here in blue - will launch in 2017, starting with a lease programme in the USA states of California and Oregon. The PHEV Clarity will be priced very similarly to the full-electric model, and while the Plug-In will only have 50 percent of the Electric's electric-only range, its gasoline-powered range extender will help it go as far as 330 miles. It also will offer an HV battery management mode that lets you maintain the charge and save it for later in the drive. Foremost, hydrogen fueling stations aren't easy to find.

A hydrogen fuel cell vehicle is essentially an electric auto. The Honda lineup includes the Fit, Civic, Accord and Clarity Fuel Cell passenger cars, along with the HR-V, CR-V and Pilot sport/utility vehicles, the Ridgeline pickup and the Odyssey minivan.

The Clarity Electric will be available only in California and OR, at least initially. and, like the fuel cell vehicle, it will only be available for lease, not purchase.

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