Clarity Fuel Cell
George Jetson would LOVE the Honda Clarity!
George Jetson would LOVE the Honda Clarity!
By Tara Weingarten
Ten Things to Know About the 2018 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell
You could buy a $275,000 Ferrari and have the coolest car on your block. Or, you could pay $369/mo and lease a Honda Clarity and trump your neighbor. Chances are, more folks walking their dogs by your house would stop and gawk more often than if you parked that Ferrari out front.
Not only is the 2018 Honda Clarity cool and futuristic looking. It is, under its hood, truly cool and futuristic. Clarity is a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. It’s powered by hydrogen instead of gasoline. And the only thing that comes out of its tailpipe as exhaust is pure, clean water.
Is it safe, you wonder? The Honda folks insist it is. The hydrogen tank is tested in a myriad of crash scenarios that would otherwise destroy normal fuel tanks. But these tanks are thicker than most. And valves are made to disperse the gas safely, should a leak occur. Honda says the vehicles are as safe or safer than any vehicle on the road today.
Fueling is simple. Clarity refuels in about the same time it takes to refuel a gasoline car. And the process is identical. A hydrogen pump, which looks a lot like a gas pump, has a nozzle that’s inserted into the car’s fuel valve. For now, 26 hydrogen stations are dotted throughout California, with enough spread out so that a Clarity owner could drive worry-free from San Diego to San Francisco. By the end of this year, California will have a total of 46 hydrogen fueling stations, with another 20 slated to be installed next year. And the Honda Clarity has a great range, getting about 366 miles to the tank load.
Still on the fence about leasing a Clarity? How about this…up to $20,000 worth of free fuel is included in the lease price. At current hydrogen fuel prices, that means you could drive about 60,000 miles over the course of the three-year lease without paying a cent on fuel. And by the way, the Clarity’s lease includes a very generous 20,000 miles/year allocation.
Since Clarity Fuel Cell is just rolling out production this year, leases are limited to California for now, where hydrogen fueling stations are more plentiful. But fans in other states, stay tuned. Not only will Clarity Fuel Cell be introduced as more hydrogen stations go online, but a plug-in electric/gasoline Clarity will debut later this year.
The Clarity Plug-In will be offered in all 50 states and will be able to drive purely on electric power for up to 40 miles, before the gasoline engine automatically kicks in. It will have a driving range of 300 miles between fuelings.
For those who are rooting for American made products, Clarity is stepping up. In 2020, Honda and General Motors will begin making fuel cells for their vehicles at a joint-venture plant in Michigan.
Inside, creature comforts abound. Honda used plant-based materials on fabrics that exude fewer noxious gases. Air filters in the cabin reduce mold spores for improved air quality. And the seats are super comfy not only for the driver but also backseat passengers.
Safety is covered by a suite of advanced technology called Honda Sensing. Included are Lane Departure Warning (which beeps and flashes to get your attention), Lane Keeping Assist (which tugs you back into your lane if you don’t correct your lane drift), and Forward Collision Warning (which beeps and blinks to warn you of things you are about to hit, and will apply the brakes if you don’t), among many others.
Should you desire a lengthy road trip outside of California where you couldn’t refuel with hydrogen, the folks at Honda are popping for 21 days of a luxury car rental included in the price of the lease. Crazy, no?!
Technology abounds in the Clarity. First, the ride quality is fantastic. Feel the increasing speed of linear acceleration, since the Clarity Fuel Cell has just one gear. Pop it in sport mode and the Clarity is even more responsive to a lead foot.
And it’s oh so quiet. Because the hydrogen fuel feeds a fleet of batteries, there’s no loud combustible engine and transmission that cranks through six gears. All you hear is…nothing. Ahhh. Love it!
Super quiet acceleration and cruising
Comfortable ride quality and seating for five adults
Unattractive fuzzy fabric and black plastic wood grain on the dashboard are cheap looking