Good news coming from Detroit this morning. Honda came to its senses and officially confirmed that the Clarity, which until now was only a fuel cell car, will be offered with two new powertrains, all-electric (BEV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV), as soon as next year.

The two new vehicles will be appropriately named: Clarity Electric and Clarity Plug-In Hybrid. The automaker appears to be hedging its bet on hydrogen with some battery-powered vehicles. 

Honda shared only a few details about the two new variant of the Clarity. It didn’t announce the electric range of the BEV version, but it did claim that the PHEV will have an all-electric range of over 40 miles, which if true would be pretty good for a midsize plug-in hybrid sedan.

No pricing has been announced for either of the electric versions yet and as for the Clarity Fuel Cell, as it is often the case with fuel cell cars, it will only be offered for lease at an estimated $500 per month.

The fuel cell version will launch in the US in “late 2016”, followed by the BEV in “2017”, and by the PHEV “later in 2017”. The language used by Honda to talk about the availability of the vehicle is vague. While it clearly says that the PHEV version will be available in all 50 states, it is not as clear for the two other versions. I wouldn’t be surprised if they both end up as compliance cars to fulfill mandates in only a few CARB state.

Here are a few pictures and the full press release below:

Full press release:

Honda Takes Bold Step with Honda Clarity Series; Fuel Cell, Battery Electric and Plug-In Hybrid Variants to Leverage Common Platform

– Clarity Fuel Cell gets two electrified siblings — the Clarity Electric and the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid — both launching in 2017

– New trio of Clarity vehicles provide unparalleled choices to customers through three different electric powertrain options

– All Clarity vehicles will offer spacious, five-passenger seating, premium features and interior appointments; consumers can learn more at http://www.automobiles.honda.com/Clarity

DETROIT, April 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Honda today announced that the upcoming Clarity Fuel Cell will be joined by two additional variants, the Clarity Electric and Clarity Plug-in Hybrid, launching in the U.S. in 2017. The addition of two new Clarity vehicles, based on the same platform underpinning the new Clarity Fuel Cell, makes Clarity the first vehicle in the industry to offer fuel cell, electric and plug-in hybrid technology on one model platform, offering Honda customers an expanded array of electrified vehicle choices to suit their individual tastes and driving needs.

Following the U.S. launch of the Clarity Fuel Cell in late 2016, the Clarity Electric will go on-sale in 2017.  The Clarity Electric will be the first affordable, midsize, five-passenger battery electric vehicle (BEV) to offer premium content and features. The third vehicle in the Clarity series, the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid, will launch in all 50 states later in 2017 and will be the volume leader in the series, seamlessly combining an all-electric driving range in excess of 40 miles with a hyper-efficient gasoline-hybrid extended range mode.

With elegant exterior styling, the Clarity series of vehicles will also offer spacious interiors outfitted with premium, environmentally-responsible materials and thoughtful, stylish design cues. The Clarity series will also feature advanced technologies, including Display Audio with Android Auto™ and Apple CarPlay™ as well as standard Honda Sensing™ safety and driver-assistive technology.

“The Honda Clarity Series will provide customers with a well-equipped, premium, midsize vehicle with range of ultra low-carbon powertrain options to suit their lifestyle needs,” said John Mendel, executive vice president, Automobile Division, American Honda Motor Co., Inc.  “This Honda trio of dedicated, advanced technology vehicles, along with the expanded application of two- and three-motor hybrid systems to our core models, represents a strong commitment to Honda’s future and will help create a new volume pillar for electrified vehicle sales.”

All of the Clarity models will leverage the platform that has enabled the Clarity Fuel Cell’s low, wide and aerodynamic proportions and spacious five-passenger cabin. This shared platform strategy also enables flexibility in responding to infrastructure and market developments, and the ability to provide customers nationwide with an ultra-low carbon vehicle that meets their lifestyle needs while expanding the market for Honda advanced technology products.  The first of the Clarity Series to launch will be the Clarity Fuel Cell, Honda’s most technologically advanced vehicle ever, slated to begin deliveries to customers in select Californiamarkets in late 2016. The Clarity Fuel Cell will have a targeted monthly lease price of under $500.

Technological innovations to the Clarity Fuel Cell include a fuel cell stack that is 33 percent more compact than its predecessor with a 60 percent increase in power density compared to the outgoing Honda FCX Clarity. The more compact fuel cell and integrated powertrain, comparable in size to a V-6 engine, now fit entirely under the hood of the car, allowing for a more spacious cabin with seating for five adult passengers. The new Clarity Fuel Cell will feature an anticipated U.S. EPA driving range in excess of 300 miles, with a refueling time of approximately three to five minutes, roughly equivalent to customers’ experience with gasoline refueling.

In addition to the Clarity series, a reengineered 2017 Accord Hybrid will go on-sale this spring, delivering both top-of-class power and fuel efficiency in a midsize hybrid sedan, as Honda seeks to grow sales of electrified vehicles – hybrids, plug-in hybrids, battery electric vehicles and fuel cell vehicles. On a global basis, Honda is aiming to have electrified vehicles account for two-thirds of its vehicles sales around 2030.

About the Author