The Honda Clarity Fuel Cell is rolling out in California with a price that competes with the Toyota Mirai.
At least, that is, in its lease price, as the sticker price – $58,490, slightly above the Mirai’s $58,335 – is only theoretical for the Clarity Fuel Cell which is lease only.
In any event, the first six vehicles have been delivered in Southern California. The photo above shows one of the first being delivered on Dec. 19 to the Torrance, Calif., campus of American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
For now, Honda is following Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai by only offering leased versions of its fuel-cell car.
The Mercedes-Benz F-Cell has been driven by a very small number of California lease holders, while the leased Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell has been called the first production-scale fuel-cell vehicle to roll out to dealers. Those sales figures have only been slightly higher than what Mercedes-Benz has seen, with 39 Tucson Fuel Cells sold in the U.S. through the end of November during 2016.
Most of the Toyota Mirais have been leased so far, but it’s also available for purchase. HybridCar’s Dashboard reported that 918 Mirais were sold this year in the U.S. through the end of November. The L.A. Times reported that 1,037 Mirais are the roads of California so far, and that it’s the only state currently offering Toyota’s fuel cell car.
Honda does have a few selling points that compete with Toyota. You can lease a Clarity for $369 per month with $2,499 as the down payment, versus $499 per month and $4,000 down for the Mirai in the first year. Toyota will take the lead back with the recently announced 2017 rate of $349 a month after putting $2,499 down.
Honda has the edge on miles you can drive per year under the lease. Honda’s lease allows drivers to go up to 20,000 miles a year under the lease, while the Mirai lease is limited to only 12,000 miles before drivers would be dinged fees for going over the annual allowable mileage.
There are also shared benefits. Both automakers are offering the perk of getting free hydrogen – up to $15,000 worth over three years while using a dedicated charge card or PIN at designated hydrogen fueling stations. Both cars qualify for a “white sticker,” allowing drivers to go in the state’s HOV lanes without any other passengers in the car.
Both companies offer roadside assistance. Honda has an arrangement where Clarity owners can get 24-hour roadside emergency assistance and up to 21 days of free rentals through Avis. The matches what Toyota offers for access to a rental car.