Toyota Blue Mirai

Starting Backwards

Fuel cell vehicles have become a new line that is powered by hydrogen to burn cleaner and be more environmentally friendly than gasoline powered vehicles.  Honda has been working with fuel cell vehicles since 2008 and has worked to build many different refueling stations in Japan and in California.  The newest fuel cell vehicle that will arrive in California next spring now has a name and it’s called the Honda Clarity Fuel Cell.  This will be familiar to drivers who have purchase hydrogen powered vehicles before as the first ones put out by Honda were called the FCX and then the FCX Clarity.

The use of these hydrogen powered cars will not be available to the public during the first year.  Honda intends to sell the Clarity Fuel Cell to businesses that have shown an interest in leasing the vehicles in order to get a better idea of how the general public will receive them.  Currently the only other hydrogen car coming to the market is the Toyota Mirai which means future in Japanese, showing us where the thought process of Toyota is versus the one of Honda.  The new FCEV from Honda will be different as it shows more space and more comfort than what the tiny Mirai is going to be.

Because the target audience for the first year will be businesses, the Clarity Fuel Cell will only come in three colors, Premium Brilliant Garnet Metallic, White Orchid Pearl and Crystal Black Pearl.  The price for this vehicle will be somewhere in the neighborhood of $65,000 to start with but that won’t matter much since the car will only be available as a lease vehicle at first.  The range is expected to be nearly 300 miles on a single full tank of hydrogen, which puts it somewhere near what many gasoline powered vehicles can achieve.

So what makes it seem like this is working backwards? In the past, at least with some other companies when a hydrogen vehicle has been offered, although only in California, it is a trim of the parent model, not a full model of its own.  Also, with the previous hydrogen models there was no hint of an expansion to other trims and builds based off the hydrogen car, that hydrogen powered vehicle stood alone as the single player in the game.  With this new Clarity there are some hints to the contrary.

The main hints to this change or to Honda moving from the hydrogen powered car and developing other models to go along with it are the fact the name extents to Clarity Fuel Cell.  This suggests Honda may give us a Clarity EV in the future or come up with a gasoline hybrid Clarity to be the Clarity hybrid.  Even though it’s early in the life of the Clarity as a car that looks like we might want to enjoy it in other forms we need to see how it does as the Clarity Fuel Cell first and get the reaction from the businesses that lease the vehicle.

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