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When Honda brings its Clarity fuel cell vehicle to the U.S. sometime next year, the sedan will likely compete head-to-head with the Toyota Mirai in almost every category.
Ryan Harty, manager of American Honda Motor’s environmental business development office, joined other members of the Honda team yesterday at the Los Angeles Auto Show to talk more about the upcoming Clarity.
Harty noted that for the U.S., the Clarity will be rated with a 300-plus mile range, and pricing “will be competitive with others in the segment.” The Toyota Mirai, in comparison, delivers 312 emission-free miles. Its purchase price without incentives begins at around $58,000.
Because Honda was able to condense its newest fuel stack into a smaller package, while still increasing output, the brand was able to “package the entire system under the hood of the car, opening up more space inside the car for people,” said Honda’s Clarity fuel cell development leader, Kiyoshi Shimizu.
With this extra cabin space, the Clarity is capable of carrying five passengers, to the Mirai’s four.
Production of the Clarity will begin at a metered pace for the U.S. Though Honda didn’t say how many units it expects to build for the U.S., another representative with the company said only 200 units will be available next year in Japan.
“We will begin marketing the new Clarity Fuel Cell to our customers here in the U.S. next year,” Harty said. “To ensure a seamless, positive experience for our early customers, the sales ramp up will be gradual over a roughly four-year period, as the network of refueling stations and our dealer network matures.”
During his presentation, Harty also spoke more on the advantages of a hydrogen-powered vehicle over an all-electric vehicle.
Honda believes “that a future with hydrogen and hydrogen-powered fuel cell cars offer the best long-term solution to both the needs of our customers and the needs of society,” he said. “Hydrogen enables this future by its superior capacity to store and distribute huge quantities of energy, to take that energy from where and when it’s generated to where and when it’s needed, quickly and efficiently. No other energy carrier can match the versatility of hydrogen in this regard.”