Hydrogen fuel cell cars creep up _ slowly _ on electrics

Honda Unveils Clarity Plug-In Models at New York Auto Show

Honda's Clarity lineup offers green options

Honda's Clarity fuel-cell vehicle, once a California-only endeavour, is now getting some company in the form of two new electric vehicles, both of which will be grouped under the Clarity nameplate.

The Clarity is Honda's hydrogen-power sedan that offers an EPA estimated range of 366 miles - the longest range of any zero-emission vehicle. I own a Chevy Volt and through 6,000 miles of driving, my wife and I filled the tank only three times because most of our driving was done within its 53-mile electric range. The plug-in hybrid uses a 1.5-litre Atkinson cycle four-cylinder engine to generate electricity.

The 2018 Clarity Plug-In Hybrid relies on a 181-hp electric motor with 232 lb-ft of torque for driving power. It is projected to take 2 ½ hours to recharge the pack using Level 2 (240V) charging. The EPA rating of 105 MPGe combined suggests the vehicle has been geared towards maximum efficiency, so just like the fuel-cell model, it's aimed at geeks like us. Many EVs sold in the USA can travel near or beyond 100 miles (161 km) on a full charge, including the Nissan Leaf and new Hyundai Ioniq. Honda says it expects it to be rated for a driving range of 80 miles and a combined mpg-e rating of 111.

The Clarity is the first step toward Honda's plan of electrifying two-thirds of its global fleet by 2030. The Ioniq now has the best combined MPGe among U.S. EVs, 136 MPGe. (300 Nm) of torque, and a 25.5-kWh Li-ion pack power the Clarity EV.

As the sales volume leader in the Clarity lineup, the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid will be offered in two premium-contented trims, standard and Touring.

"The Honda Clarity is aimed at accelerating the deployment of advanced electrified powertrain technology and bringing electrified vehicles further into the mainstream", said Jeff Conrad, senior vice president of American Honda Motor Co., Inc., at the company's auto show press conference. Honda wants this cars to become commonplace and fast.

To push the Clarity, Honda is offering a $369-a-month three-year lease that includes a credit for $15,000 toward hydrogen and a $5,000 rebate from the state of California.

Combined, Honda hopes to sell 75,000 Clarity models in the U.S.in the first four years. A Prius-fighting Clarity Hybrid has been announced for 2018.

The New York Auto Show is now underway and plenty of new vehicles have been unveiled at the event.

Although electric vehicle manufacturers have long claimed that 95 per cent of auto trips are under 50 miles, they have also begrudgingly acknowledged that consumers' fear of running out of charge is one of the main barriers to purchasing an electric auto.

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