Honda broadening Clarity into environmental car brand – USA TODAY

Brent Snavely, Detroit Free Press 3:09 p.m. EDT April 21, 2016

Honda will certainly launch 3 cars over the next 3 years under its Clarity nameplate, potentially turning the automaker’s fledgling Clarity badge in to family of vehicles that could come to be a symbol of Honda’s environmental aspirations.

The initial automobile will certainly be the Honda Clarity Fuel Cell. It will certainly go on sale in California later this year and is currently on sale in Japan. That automobile will certainly be followed by the Clarity Electric in 2017 and the Clarity Plug-In by 2018.

All 3 Clarity vehicles will certainly be built on the very same five-passenger platform and will certainly be imported to the U.S. from Japan.

“The Clarity collection will certainly occupy a unique placement in the market, providing customers along with a well-equipped, premium, midsize automobile along with a range of ultra-low-carbon powertrain choices to match their way of living needs,” said Honda of America Executive Vice President John Mendel.

Honda has actually been testing its FCX Clarity fuel cell automobile for several years and has actually leased 40 of those vehicles to customers in California. Honda said it expects its brand-new Clarity Fuel Cell will certainly be rated at a driving range in excess of 300 miles by the U.S. EPA along with a refueling time of around 3 to 5 minutes.

Honda additionally said it expects its Clarity Plug-In automobile will certainly have the ability to go 40 miles on a solitary charge prior to switching to a gasoline engine. That would certainly be nearly two times the range of the Prius Prime, a plug-in hybrid that Toyota unveiled in March at the brand-new York Auto Show.

The brand-new lineup of Clarity vehicles, along along with a brand-new Accord Hybrid that will certainly go on sale this spring, are section of Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo’s objective of dramatically boosting the volume of electric and alternative-powertrain vehicles over the next 15 years.

By 2030, Hachigo said Honda is hoping that two from every 3 vehicles it sells will certainly be either a hybrid, plug-in hybrid, battery electric car, or hydrogen fuel cell vehicle.

It is an ambitious objective for Honda, an automaker that has actually been the 2 a pioneer of hybrid vehicles and has actually additionally strained to make a hybrid nameplate that resonates along with Americans.

​Currently, just concerning 5% of Honda’s global sales come from hybrids, according to HybridCars.com.

Mendel said Honda is poised to obtain the objective since it now has actually the ideal technology and strategy in place.

“(The Clarity) is developed, frankly, in line along with all our global progression for the initial time. Its not taking an existing model and attempting to retrofit (compressed natural gas) or something to it,” Mendel said. “So the assurance comes from …moving the progression of this automobile collection in to our mainstream progression cycle.”

Still, Honda’s history along with hybrids is rocky – especially as soon as compared along with Japanese rival Toyota.

Honda broke brand-new ground along with the initial gasoline-electric hybrid automobile sold in America in 1999 as soon as it introduced the Recommendations gas-electric hybrid shortly prior to Toyota introduced its Prius hybrid. The Recommendations was aerodynamic and innovative. However it additionally was a futuristic looking pillbox that several considered ugly. It was discontinued in 2006.

Honda revived the Recommendations name in 2010 along with a hybrid made to undercut the Prius along with a lesser price. However it additionally was smaller sized and much less powerful compared to the Prius and was discontinued in 2014. Honda additionally discontinued its Civic Hybrid last year.

Meanwhile, the Prius has actually been a global triumph story along with much more compared to 8 million sold.

Honda’s ambitious strategies for hybrid and fuel cell vehicles additionally comes amid a two-year decline sales of all of hybrids. Sales of all of hybrid vehicles in the U.S. fell much more compared to 15% to 384,404 as gas prices strike their lowest prices in a decade, according to HybridCars.com.

“Fuel prices won’t continue to be reasonable forever. It’s simply not going to. It’s a long haul,” Mendel said. “And these are not simply compact cars anymore. They are not a micro-based, or mini-based car. You can easily place 5 individuals in and go anywhere you want.”

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