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.