Following the first ever production fuel-cell vehicle, the FCX, which was introduced to U.S. and Japan in December 2002, Honda is now getting ready to offer a new hydrogen-powered car to its future customers. The model is called the Clarity Fuel Cell and it was unveiled last month in Tokyo.
The North American version in LAthat makes its debut at the LA Auto Show is all but identical to its Japanese counterpart and it has an aerodynamic body with clean character lines, LED exterior lighting and 18-inch alloy wheels. Customers can choose between three colors, namely red, white and black.
Standard equipment includes Honda’s comprehensive array of driver assist systems. The cabin can seat five in its leather-wrapped seats and the infotainment system comes with a large touchscreen and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support.
Compared to the original FCX, the Clarity features a fuel cell stack that’s 33 percent more compact and its power density is up by 60 percent. The fuel cell powertrain is comparable to a 3.5-liter V6 in size and it fits entirely under the hood, making room for a spacious cabin.
The automaker didn’t release any output figures on the Clarity FCV, but from previous releases we know that the fuel cell stack has a total capacity of 100kW and the electric motor generates 174hp (177 PS). Filling its tank with hydrogen takes approximately three minutes and the total driving range is estimated to exceed 300 miles (483 km).
Honda will use the platform underpinning the Clarity Fuel Cell as the foundation for the next PHEV, which will launch in the United States by 2018. This will get the two-motor hybrid plug-in system with improvements in battery capacity and power, offering “more than triple the 13-mile all-electric range of the Accord Sedan”.
The hydrogen-powered model will be available at select fuel cell dealers in California, at first in Los Angeles and Orange County and then San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento. As hydrogen fueling networks expand, Honda will introduce it to other states, too.
The Clarity Fuel Cell will go on sale in late 2016. No US pricing details have been released so far; just for the record, in its local market, it starts from 7.66m YEN ($63,630).