Hybrids & Electrics

The Electrified Honda Model You Probably Never Heard Of

Haven’t heard of the Honda Clarity? Well, you’re not the only one. Honda’s Clarity lineup was designed to compete with the likes of the Nissan Leaf. The Clarity was first introduced to the electric vehicle class in 2008 and was kind of a big deal at the time. But why didn’t the Clarity gain more traction?

The original Honda Clarity model

American Honda Motor Co, unveils the new Honda FCX Clarity fuel cell vehicle during the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, California, 14 November 2007.
The unveiling of the Honda FCX Clarity fuel cell vehicle. | GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty Images)

When it was first introduced in 2008, the Clarity was only available as a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. This flagship model was dubbed the FCX Clarity and had EV components such as a long electric range and zero emissions. To try and make and the Clarity more appealing to consumers, Honda tried making this lineup look more like its luxury brand Acura on the inside.

The FCX Clarity was actually the first retail hydrogen fuel cell vehicle that was available to customers. Although, the FCX Clarity was only available for lease in California, which is why you might not have heard of it.

 The expanded Clarity lineup

Close-up rear view of the parked Honda Clarity automobile at the Walnut Creek auto lot in Walnut Creek, California, October 30, 2018
Close-up rear view of the Honda Clarity | Getty Images

In 2016, Honda launched the new generation of the FCX Clarity and also decided to expand the Clarity lineup to include an all-electric model as well as a plug-in hybrid. The Clarity Electric and the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid were officially released in 2017. 

As far as gaining mass appeal though, the Clarity Electric didn’t have much of much a chance from the start. First of all, it was only available through a three-year lease program to residents of Califorinia and Oregon. Along with the small customer market, the Clarity Electric only had an 89-mile range. Auto critics like Car and Driver pointed out that the Tesla Model 3 and even the Chevy Bolt EV feature far more impressive battery ranges.

So long to the all-electric Clarity

2019 Honda Clarity is on display at the 111th Annual Chicago Auto Show in 2019
2019 Honda Clarity | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)

Fast forward to 2019 and Honda decided to quietly discontinue the Clarity Electric because of low demand.  Unsurprising, Honda has no plans of reviving the Clarity Electric at this point.

But, the carmaker did say that they will be more focused on offering more attractive all-electric vehicles within the next few years. We imagine that the battery range on the new EVs will be way more impressive than that of the Clarity Electric. 

There’s still the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid

Now, the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid takes center stage in the Clarity lineup. With Clarity Hybrid, you get 47 miles of battery-only electric range. This hybrid can also get up to a combined 42 mpg.

The Clarity’s hybrid system generates a 212 horsepower and is mated with an automatic transmission.  Front-wheel drive is the standard. You can think of the Clarity hybrid actually as the hybridized version of the Honda Civic.

The base model of the Clarity is Hybrid is appealing because of its wide range of interior features including an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment display. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and HD Radio also come standard too. The base model starts at $33,400.

For a more luxe experience, you can go up to the Clarity Touring which starts at $36,000. The Touring trim includes leather upholstery and power-adjustable seats. Overall, the Clarity is not a bad buy, but you could get similar models that are cheaper.