Honda Clarity EV 3-in-1 a first in automotive innovation

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

Honda Clarity EV 3-in-1 a first in automotive innovation

The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid's drivetrain consists of a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor rated at 181 horsepower and 232 pound-feet of torque.

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. That's about to change, though, because Honda expanded its lineup of electrified cars at the annual New York Auto Show.

The Clarity series is at the vanguard of Honda's commitment to address society's energy and environmental concerns as the company expects significant growth in sales of efficient, lower Carbon dioxide electrified vehicles.

The Clarity Electric, meanwhile, does what it does with 161 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque, so the engine tuning is a little different, but it carries less weight.

As a result, USA consumers bought almost 80,000 electric cars a year ago, but just 1,082 fuel cell vehicles, according to WardsAuto.

Alongside the PHEV, Honda also revealed the new Clarity Electric - doing away with the fuel cell and range-extenders of its stablemates entirely to fully embrace the battery EV method.

The U.S. Department of Energy lists just 34 public hydrogen fueling stations in the country; all but three are in California.

The three Clarity alternative-powertrain models are part of Honda's effort to make electrified vehicles two-thirds of its global sales by 2030. Drivers can manage battery power and ride with three primary driving modes: Normal, Econ and Sport.

Technological innovations to the Clarity Fuel Cell have created a fuel cell stack that is 33 percent more compact with a 60 percent increase in power density compared to its predecessor, the Honda FCX Clarity. The blue Clarity Electric will hit the market later this year. The battery-only auto, the Clarity Electric, is expected to achieve 130 kilometres of range before needing a recharge. It will offer the model in standard and touring trims and anticipates the versatile hybrid powertrain being the sales leader of the Clarity family.

We liked the idea of a single platform with multiple electrified powertrain options when Hyundai introduced the IONIQ lineup previous year, and we had a feeling it might be something we'd see repeated by other automakers.

With the fuel-cell variant (often depicted in burgundy) already offered in select parts of California, Honda will next roll out the EV (pictured in blue) later this year though still as a 2017 model, starting in OR and (you guessed it) California.

The other issue is range anxiety.

Hondas new Clarity can go 366 miles between fuelings, the longest range in the industry. It was launched in December 2016. Lessee responsible for maintenance, excessive wear/tear, and 20 cents per mile over 20,000 miles per year. Total due at lease signing is $2,868 plus tax and registration and includes first month's payment and capitalized cost reduction of $2,499.

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