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Honda to add battery-electric, plug-in hybrid variants to Clarity platform; new 2017 Accord Hybrid

Honda announced that the upcoming Clarity Fuel Cell (earlier post) will be joined by two additional electrified variants, the Clarity Electric and Clarity Plug-in Hybrid, launching in the US in 2017. In addition to the Clarity series, a reengineered 2017 Accord Hybrid will go on-sale this spring. On a global basis, Honda is aiming to have electrified vehicles account for two-thirds of its vehicles sales around 2030.

Clarity. The addition of two new Clarity vehicles, based on the same platform underpinning the new Clarity Fuel Cell, makes Clarity the first vehicle in the industry to offer fuel cell, electric and plug-in hybrid technology on one model platform. (Hyundai’s IONIQ platform comes with hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery-electric variants. Earlier post.)

Following the US launch of the Clarity Fuel Cell in late 2016, the Clarity Electric will go on-sale in 2017. The third vehicle in the Clarity series, the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid, will launch in all 50 states later in 2017 and is expected to be the volume leader in the series, featuring an all-electric driving range in excess of 40 miles with an efficient gasoline-hybrid extended range mode.

The Clarity series will also feature advanced technologies, including Display Audio with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as well as standard Honda Sensing™ safety and driver-assistive technology.

The Honda Clarity Series will provide customers with a well-equipped, premium, midsize vehicle with range of ultra low-carbon powertrain options to suit their lifestyle needs. This Honda trio of dedicated, advanced technology vehicles, along with the expanded application of two- and three-motor hybrid systems to our core models, represents a strong commitment to Honda's future and will help create a new volume pillar for electrified vehicle sales.

—John Mendel, executive vice president, Automobile Division, American Honda Motor

The first of the Clarity Series to launch will be the Clarity Fuel Cell, Honda’s most technologically advanced vehicle ever, slated to begin deliveries to customers in select California markets in late 2016. The Clarity Fuel Cell will have a targeted monthly lease price of less than $500.

Technological innovations to the Clarity Fuel Cell include a fuel cell stack that is 33% more compact than its predecessor with a 60% increase in power density compared to the outgoing Honda FCX Clarity. The more compact fuel cell and integrated powertrain, comparable in size to a V-6 engine, now fit entirely under the hood of the car, allowing for a more spacious cabin with seating for five adult passengers.

The new Clarity Fuel Cell will feature an anticipated US EPA driving range in excess of 300 miles (483 km), with a refueling time of approximately three to five minutes, roughly equivalent to customers' experience with gasoline refueling.

Accord Hybrid. The 2017 Accord Hybrid will feature a more powerful and efficient second-generation two-motor hybrid powertrain with the highest EPA fuel economy ratings of any current midsize hybrid sedan and delivering the most power.

The Accord Hybrid’s two-motor hybrid powertrain eliminates the need for a conventional mechanical transmission. The Accord Hybrid’s powertrain seamlessly transitions between three operations:

  • EV Drive – using its electric propulsion motor and lithium-ion battery pack drives the front wheels for short distances under light loads (with the engine turned off).

  • Hybrid Drive – the electric propulsion motor drives the front wheels while the gasoline engine powers a second motor/generator to supplement electrical current drawn from the battery pack.

  • Engine Drive – using a lock-up clutch mechanism to connect the engine and propulsion motor, the front wheels are driven by both the motor and gasoline engine.

With improved production methods and supplies of hybrid components, Honda is anticipating significant growth in sales of Accord Hybrid and is targeting annual sales to be more than double its previous best of just under 14,000 vehicles in 2014.

In addition to its more powerful and fuel efficient hybrid powertrain, the 2017 Accord Hybrid carries the substantial upgrades made to the entire Accord lineup for model year 2016. This includes the latest technology Honda has to offer, including the available Display Audio with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and the Honda Sensing suite of advanced safety and driver-assistive technologies, to be offered as standard equipment on all new 2017 Accord Hybrids.

Hybrid-exclusive design features include a special aluminum hood and wheels, blue highlighted LED headlights and taillights and “Hybrid” exterior badging. A more compact hybrid battery pack increases trunk capacity to a midsize hybrid class-leading 13.5 cu.-ft.

Combining the next generation of Honda’s two-motor hybrid system with an ultra-efficient 2.0-liter i-VTEC Atkinson Cycle engine, the 2017 Accord Hybrid powertrain will achieve peak combined output of 212 horsepower, the highest of any midsize hybrid sedan and up 16 horsepower over the 2015 Accord Hybrid. EPA fuel economy ratings of 49/47/48 mpg (4.8/5.0/4.9 L/100km) (city/highway/combined) put the Accord Hybrid at the top of the class for ratings, making it the most powerful and fuel efficient midsize hybrid sedan in America.

These EPA fuel economy ratings are based on new, more stringent ratings requirements enacted by the US EPA for the 2017 model year. Based on the new requirements, Honda estimates the 2015 Accord Hybrid ratings would be 48/45/47 mpg (actually rated at 50/45/47 under the previous method), indicating a +1/+2/+1 increase for the 2017 model over the previous version.

The 2017 Accord Hybrid will be available in three trims—Hybrid, Hybrid EX-L and Hybrid Touring—and all grades will feature increased levels of standard and available equipment. New standard features include a wide angle rearview camera, remote engine start and Honda Sensing, which includes Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), Lane Keeping Assist (LKAS), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Road Departure Mitigation (RDM), Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Forward Collision Warning (FCW). Available new features on upper trims include a 7-inch Display Audio touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, heated rear seats, and front and rear parking sensors.



This is real progress at Honda with future HEVs, PHEVs, BEVs and FCEVs. Using the same platform for multiple technologies will lower mass production cost and make FCEVs more affordable and competitive.

Fitting the smaller Honda FC in the same place as the ICE will liberate more trunk space.

Flat thinner SS lower pressure H2 tanks, mounted under the floors, in the same place as the BEV battery banks, would be another commonality advantage.

HEV, PHEV, BEV and/or FCEV would become options for end users to choose.

Henry Gibson

Yes, everyone with money and resources to waste should drive a fuel cell vehicle, and they should realize that they are part of the socialism much denounced in the present US election. ..HG..


Reality intrudes into the hydrogen fantasy.  Without hydrogen, the FC Clarity is a boat anchor.  Adding BEV and PHEV versions broadens the appeal hugely.

Big question:  will Honda offer Supercharger compatibility, or will the EV be limited to 50 kW?  That could also be a factor in the appeal.


Is the brain fart clearing from there heads? Maybe, maybe it's just a PR stunt too.


They've been faking the hydrogen thing to keep the Japanese gov't happy as long as they could. But at the end of the day, they'll have to bow to reality or get left behind.

We all KNEW Honda were doing electrics behind the scenes. We all KNOW Toyota is too.

The question is how long will Toyota insist the sky is pink with green stripes...just because they think they can insist on it long enough and we'll all suddenly say: "Wow, Toyota is right...the sky really is pink with green stripes!".


Toyota did not reach First Place, with 5 cars in the first 10 places, with 315,000+ miles capabilities by making foolish decisions?

We will trade-in one of our excellent Toyota HEV for a Mirai as soon as (clean H2 from surplus Hydro) stations are installed.

Our low Km 41 mpg Camry Hybrids, with their 315,000 miles/500,000 KM capability, have a very high resale value, specially for local taxis.


Harvey, IBM didn't get to be IBM by making stupid decisions. But I was there when we refused the rights to some software for the PC when Bill Gates tried to sell it to us.

Don't make the mistake of thinking that big companies are infallible. They make MANY stupid decisions. They make industry changing stupid decisions.

I never understand why people think that some big company is not capable of betting wrong in a big way. Toyota has clearly bet wrong here. The question is whether they'll admit it soon enough to avoid a long term problem in market share. In 10 years, EVs will be a big part of who's growing and who's not. Right now Toyota is on headed towards the wrong side of history.


Toyota was the first to diversity from ICEVs to HEVs (with great success and still growing)

The next diversification should be with PHEVs with more e-range. They are coming as soon as batteries have evolved.

Almost simultaneously, Toyota is slowly diversifying into FCEVs. It took almost 10 years for their HEVs to pick up speed. The same may happen with FCEVs.

Toyota has delayed BEVs until higher performance, lower cost batteries become available, (by 2020 or so?)

By 2020 or so, Toyota may may as smart as Honda and use a common platform for all 4 technologies. The final technology will be up to the end users to choose.


#denial It's not just a river in Egypt. :)

Harvey, how long do you reckon it will be until there are RE H2 stations near where you live and you are driving that Mirai?


Around 2020 or so!


Unless somebody comes out with an equivalent size 500 KM all weather BEV for the same price?

lol, touché.


Both possibilities would depend on the availability of:

1) Clean H2 stations and/or
2) Ultra quick (under 10 minutes) quick charge stations.

Within 5 Km from our place.

I guess you're fated to pay high prices for H2 then, because under 10 minute charge for >100kWh battery (600kW) will not happen for a passenger car in your lifetime. Nor will cheap hydrogen.


@ e-c-i.c

A compromise may be a PHEV with variable size plug-in battery modules (20 to 50+ kWh) + a variable size FC (40 Kw to 80+ Kw) with appropriate SS H2 tanks.

People with home charging facilities (about 50%) could elect to use more battery modules and smaller FC & H2 tanks.

People without home charging facilities could do the opposite.

No manufacturer is building FC PHEV becuase you get all the problems of H2 and none of the advantages of ICE PHEVs.

Until there is widespread infrastructure, H2 is just a science project. In a few years, there will be enough infrastructure to gauge true consumer demand.


The number of main and sub H2 stations is growing so fast that it is difficult to obtain an exact up-to-date count. Somebody should have a site to keep count?

USA's west coast and many EU countries will soon have a thin H2 station network.

The other 47 States will follow by 2018/2022.

H2 price should start to drop soon.

The number of FCEVs from 6+ manufacturers will also rise quickly but we may have to wait till 2020/2022 or so for a wider choice.

HD> The number of main and sub H2 stations is growing so fast that it is difficult to obtain an exact up-to-date count. Somebody should have a site to keep count?

Harvey, sometimes your wit is so sly I'm not really sure if you're trying to be funny.

Currently 10 publicly available H2 stations in North America.

Several sites up already, including Department of Energy and California Fuel Cell Partnership to cite only two.

Don't hold your breath on H2 price dropping soon. You'll turn blue, man. Really, don't.


Come 2020, e-c-i-c will be surprised at the number and growth rate of main and sub H2 stations in many EU countries, Japan, BC Canada and USA's West Coast States.

Small H2 hub stations may be as simple as H2 carrier trailers/trucks with appropriate hoses and H2 volume meters. Two H2 trailers per substation would do the job for an early thin H2 network. Local H2 tanks + compressors can be added on an as required basis.


It would take 15 trucks carrying compressed H2 to serve the same number of vehicles which can be served by a single gasoline tanker.  EVs are served by wires already in place, with no traffic at all.

Harvey, if we'll see an H2 station in 2020, it needs to be in finance and permitting now. The sites that report such things, like the ones I've mentioned earlier and CEC, hold no surprises.

Toyota pulled Mirai off sale despite deploying tube trailer dispensing stations. Apparently purchasers of a $60,000 automobile were expecting a something a little.. nicer, as well as more of them.

Nothing screams "rinky-dink" and "not ready for prime time" and "temporary" more than tube trailers sited tenuously at auto dealer lots for refueling infrastructure.

Compare the customer experience to Tesla Superchargers located at malls, restaurants, convenient and strategically located freeway off-ramps and available self-serve 24/7.

Hydrogen proponents, when you've got to limbo to make your case, it's time to reassess the situation.

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