2019 Honda Clarity
The 2019 Honda Clarity is one of the greatest marvels in electric car manufacturing yet. It comes in three versions – plug-in hybrid, electric, and fuel cell (hydrogen-powered electric) – making use of a variety of state-of-the-art technologies. The plug-in hybrid model, though, is the only one for sale in New England as of this writing.
The plug-in hybrid version has the broadest consumer appeal, since it combines electric propulsion with gasoline-engine propulsion like all hybrids, and therefore the driver doesn’t have to be concerned about finding a charging station or hydrogen station. The electric version runs solely on battery power, and the fuel cell model can only be refueled at hydrogen fueling stations, which are not yet common.
Trims and Mechanical Features
The plug-in hybrid is available in two trims: base or Touring. Both trim levels are equipped with a 1.5-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine coupled with an electric motor hybrid system, including a 17-kWh lithium-ion battery. This total motor system is capable of producing 212 horsepower and 232 lb.-ft. of torque. The plug-in hybrid features an electric-only range of 48 miles, but the normal hybrid operation delivers an EPA-estimated 42 mpg.
The Clarity Electric is only available in one trim. It is equipped with an electric motor and a 25.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. This electric motor is capable of producing 161 horsepower and 221 lb.-ft. of torque, which is impressive for an electric-only vehicle. It also features an EPA-estimated range of 89 miles, making it better suited for urban environments.
The Clarity Fuel Cell also comes in a single trim level. This vehicle utilizes an electric motor powered by a fuel cell to generate 174 horsepower and 221 lb.-ft. of torque. This hydrogen-fueled vehicle produces an EPA-estimated 366 miles of completely gasoline-free motoring. Since this vehicle can only be refueled at hydrogen fueling stations, its sales are currently restricted to California, where those stations are most readily available.
Comfort and Convenience Features
The base trim plug-in hybrid comes with heated front seats, keyless ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control, an 8-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, two USB ports, and an eight-speaker audio system. Upgrading to the plug-in hybrid Touring trim adds leather upholstery, remote climate-control preconditioning, power-adjustable front seats, and a navigation system. The Electric and Fuel Cell models also come equipped with all of the plug-in hybrid Touring’s features, but the Fuel Cell exclusively adds a premium 12-speaker audio system.
All Clarity models are equipped with the exclusive Honda Sensing safety system. Honda Sensing includes a suite of driver-assist features, including a collision mitigation braking system, road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control, and lane keeping assist. The Clarity also includes passive safety features, such as advanced front airbags, SmartVent front side airbags, side curtain airbags with a rollover sensor, and an Advanced Compatibility Engineering body structure, for optimal protection in the unfortunate event of a collision.