Honda Clarity Fuel Cell 2021 – Review, Fuel economy, Price

Minor changes are coming for the 2021 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell, which remains exclusive to California markets. In a Wednesday announcement, Honda said the Clarity Fuel Cell will now operate better in colder temperatures when starting up. Buyers will likely be toastier on chillier days in California, with updates to that affect cold-weather starts and better operation in severe weather conditions. Obviously, these updates are mostly aimed at Northern California buyers As a bonus, there are now heated exterior mirrors, too. Super cold temperatures and frost seem like vague issues in Southern California, but an update is an update, nonetheless. Aside from the two minor changes, those interested in the fuel cell-powered sedan can select a new red color and every car now gets black-painted side mirrors for contrast. Those who choose the white exterior color will receive a brown interior standard. Price, technical specifications, interior, exterior of the car – Honda Clarity Fuel Cell 2021 read below.

New Honda Clarity Fuel Cell 2021

The 2021 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell receives numerous upgrades as it begins arriving at select dealerships in California today, including new heated outside mirrors; an improved Audible Vehicle Alert System for better pedestrian awareness of vehicles at low speeds; and improved cold-weather startup performance. The 2021 Clarity Fuel Cell is available at an exceptionally competitive lease price of $379 per month which includes up to $15,000 of hydrogen fuel, among other benefits. At the same time, the Clarity Fuel Cell offers California customers a zero-emissions driving experience with an EPA range rating of 360 miles on a full tank of hydrogen, along with quick refueling at more than 40 stations, a $4,500 California state rebate and single-occupant HOV lane access eligibility. In addition to the new AVAS system, the 2021 Clarity Fuel Cell includes improvements to its cold-weather starting capabilities, black-painted and heated side mirrors, and a new Crimson Pearl paint, which replaces Bordeaux Red. Inside Clarity Fuel Cell’s sophisticated and roomy interior, Platinum White models will now come standard with a brown-hued interior. Clarity Fuel Cell comes in one very well equipped trim, which includes plenty of space for five adults, and advanced technology such as the Honda Sensing® suite of safety and driver-assistive technologies, and Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ integration. With a 360-mile EPA driving range rating, Clarity Fuel Cell has one of the longest ranges of any zero-emission light-duty vehicle in America, including fuel cell and battery electric vehicles. In addition, the Clarity Fuel Cell received a 68 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent) EPA combined fuel economy rating1, the highest rating for any light-duty fuel cell vehicle sold in America, and can be refueled in approximately three to five minutes using 70 MPa refueling stations. Honda Clarity Fuel Cell 2021 – review, fuel economy, engine and release date, read about all of this below!

Interior

Slide into the Clarity’s cabin, and it feels like just about any modern Honda. The design is a bit more dramatic here and there, but overall, it’s inoffensive, relentlessly logical in operation, and utterly comfortable. We like it. Although this is a big, roomy car with well-shaped front seats that can accommodate larger adults, the 2021 Honda Clarity has a significantly shorter wheelbase than the Honda Accord. That difference is apparent in the back seat, where there’s nearly four fewer inches of legroom. Trunk capacity is 15.5 cubic feet in the plug-in hybrid model but 11.8 cubic feet in the hydrogen fuel-cell version. Honda Clarity Fuel Cell 2021 – see the photo at the end of the article!

Exterior

Hydrogen fuel cell technology isn’t particularly new, but it’s an area within the automotive sphere that still has a lot of room for innovation and one that’s in dire need of some recognition from the market. Toyota paved the way for hydrogenized vehicles with the Mirai, and Honda followed suit with the Clarity Fuel Cell, offering better fuel consumption and an impressive 360-mile range on nothing but the most abundant gas in the Earth’s atmosphere. The Clarity’s 103 kW, 33-liter Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC) converts hydrogen into water and electricity to power a single electric motor with outputs of 174 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque. While the Clarity Fuel Cell’s most direct rivals are limited to only the Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Nexo, the abundance of plug-in hybrids and newly developed EVs flooding the market are posing a serious threat to hydrogen propulsion, and with sales of the Clarity limited to only a few hydrogen-friendly states, its days could be numbered before the technology truly gets off the ground. The Clarity Fuel Cell’s appearance is rather inconspicuous for a vehicle with such a clear eco-friendly ethos, and one with the super-advanced technology that makes it so. It shares the typical Honda-like sedan profile with the now-discontinued Clarity Electric and Plug-in Hybrid – a slightly sporty aesthetic embodied by its angular front grille and sleek contoured hood, rearward swooping contours, and a sloping coupe-like roofline, all rounded off by its integrated decklid spoiler. Standard exterior equipment includes sharp LED headlights, L-shaped LED daytime running lights, and 18-inch aerodynamic alloy wheels.

Colors

And that’s about it for changes to the 2021 model year. The Clarity Fuel Cell will still go an EPA-estimated 360 miles on a tank of hydrogen and no other technical specs have changed for the upcoming model year. SoCal natives interested in the car only have the option to lease a Clarity Fuel Cell for $379 per month with $2,878 due at signing. However, lessees may also be eligible for a $5,000 rebate from the state of California. The monthly payment will get you into an even more niche vehicle than an electric vehicle for 36 months and $15,000 worth of hydrogen fuel. Honda also provides 15,000 miles annually. Perhaps most crucially, the car grants access to California’s Clean Air Vehicle sticker to make highway travel quicker. Fueling hydrogen-powered cars remains… a tad hit or miss. This year saw a massive outage of hydrogen fuel availability in California that left many fuel cell-powered car owners stranded. Honda does provide complimentary transportation for 21 days should this happen, though.

Fuel economy

The EPA rates the plug-in hybrid Honda Clarity at 42 mpg combined (gas/electric) and 110 MPGe for electric-only driving. We easily beat the EPA’s combined estimate, measuring 46 mpg on the highway in hybrid mode. For comparison, we’ve managed 49 mpg in a Prius Prime along this same route. The fuel-cell Honda Clarity has a combined EPA rating of 68 MPGe (68 city/67 highway). During a 300-mile test, we averaged 57 MPGe. That’s well short of EPA predictions but significantly better than we did with the Mirai (67 MPGe rating, 48 MPGe as tested).

Horsepower

The 2021 model has an improved pedestrian-warning system for low-speed driving. Other new features are mostly cosmetic: It adds heated mirrors, a new Crimson Pearl color scheme (replacing Bordeaux Red), and a brown-hued interior now matched with the Platinum White exterior color. Core specs for the Clarity Fuel Cell remain unchanged. An electric motor system rated at 174 hp and 221 lb-ft turns the front wheels. It’s fed by a 103-kw fuel-cell stack, while an air-cooled 1.7-kwh lithium-ion battery pack acts as the energy buffer when full-throttle bursts are needed and to store away excess energy generated by the fuel-cell system or recovered by regenerative braking. That yields a range rating of 360 miles, or MPGe efficiency ratings of 69 city, 67 highway.

Technical specifications

Under the hood of the Clarity Fuel Cell is a visionary piece of advanced technology, a 103 kW 33-liter Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell that intelligently converts hydrogen into nothing but clean water and electricity. This is then fed to a single AC electric motor with outputs of 174 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque. A single-speed direct-drive transmission forwards outputs to the Clarity’s front wheels. While the Clarity’s performance is availed with peppy and instantaneous electrified torque off the line and throughout the low-speed range, the powertrain’s motivation slowly starts to taper off past the 60 mph mark. Highway performance becomes very humdrum, although merging and commencing highway overtakes are still passable. However, it’s the low-end city usability we like so much, combining the benefits of an electric powertrain with the cleanliness of hydrogen.

Price

Plug-in hybrid: $34,355; Touring plug-in hybrid: $37,555; Fuel cell: $59,445. The plug-in hybrid version of the 2021 Honda Clarity is the obvious choice here, because it’s offered in all 50 states, is available to buy or lease (and is far less expensive), and it’s easier to recharge and refuel. Both versions of the Clarity come with dual-zone automatic climate control, smartphone integration, and all available safety features. The Touring model offers some worthwhile comfort upgrades, including a power-adjustable driver’s seat with memory settings, high-quality perforated leather upholstery, and factory navigation.

Safety

Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has published crash-test results for the Clarity. Every 2021 Honda Clarity comes with a suite of driver-assistance technologies, called Honda Sensing, along with the Honda LaneWatch system that displays a camera image of what’s in your blind spot as soon as you flip on the turn signal. You can disable this feature if you find it annoying. Key safety features include: Standard automated emergency braking; Standard lane-keeping assist; Standard adaptive cruise control.

Motors

The 2021 Honda Clarity plug-in hybrid is motivated by a 181-hp electric motor fed by a 17.0-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. The car’s gas engine, a 1.5-liter four-cylinder, serves mainly as a generator for the batteries and rarely drives the Clarity PHEV’s front wheels directly. Combined output is 212 horsepower. In our testing, the Clarity PHEV scooted to 60 mph in 7.7 seconds. The hydrogen-powered Clarity comes with a 174-hp electric motor that draws electricity from a fuel cell. As with the PHEV, the fuel-cell Clarity’s electric motor drives the front wheels. In our testing, the hydrogen Honda Clarity hit 60 mph in 8.1 seconds. That’s quicker than the Hyundai Nexo and Toyota Mirai, which are the only other hydrogen-fueled vehicles currently on sale. Both versions of the 2021 Honda Clarity excel at touring. The ride is compliant, and the cabin is well insulated from wind and road noise.

Configurations

For the 2021 model year, the Clarity Fuel Cell received no changes as part of Honda’s cost-savings strategy for the low-volume nameplate. This year, however, Honda saw fit to better the nameplate by throwing in some minor upgrades. The vehicle now comes standard with heated side-view exterior mirrors finished in black, and with an improved audible alert system for low-speed driving. Honda says it’s also improved the Clarity Fuel Cell’s cold-weather startup performance. The color scheme has been revised as well, and models hued in the Platinum White Pearl exterior color will now come standard with a brown-hued interior. Finally, a new Crimson Pearl paint joins the exterior color palette, replacing the previously available Bordeaux Red. With the Clarity Fuel Cell’s considerable heft, don’t expect it to exhibit any level of performance and spirited handling capability; it’s not a vehicle that’s going to get you anywhere with a massive smile on your face. The 114-pound fuel cell and electric motor are mounted to the front axle, creating a sense of heaviness over the front end, particularly when cornering. Adding to this is the Clarity’s soft suspension, which tends to do a fairly subpar job of filtering out major imperfections when cornering. The upside to the Clarity’s weight is that it ensures the FCV always feels planted, lacking the floatiness of other eco-conscious hybrids and even the Clarity PHEV. Its steering is precise and responsive and nicely weighted for comfortable driving, though completely devoid of feedback. The brakes are consistently linear and easy to modulate and deliver suitable stopping power when called upon. The Clarity’s throttle responses can be sharpened by engaging the Sport drive mode, which subsequently increases the effectiveness of its regenerative braking levels, but at the end of the day, this isn’t a sporty car and should be driven with a heavy helping of restraint.

Review

The Honda Clarity is an advanced fuel vehicle available in two variants designed to appeal to eco-conscious buyers. If you can only charge once in a while, there’s the plug-in hybrid, or PHEV, with 48 miles of electric range and a gas-powered hybrid mode for backup. If you live in California and within range of a hydrogen refueling station, there’s the Clarity Fuel Cell EV and its 360 miles of range. There also used to be a battery electric version, but Honda discontinued it for 2021. Once you’re behind the wheel, the Clarity drives just like any other drama-free midsize sedan. It’s smooth and comfortable on the road, with amenable but not exciting acceleration and handling. It comes with a few concessions, such as limited cargo space and a dated infotainment system. You might also find the ride quality to be a little too soft, especially if you’re used to the more taut feel from other Honda sedans. Still, the Clarity is worth checking out if you’re looking for a vehicle to reduce your gasoline consumption. The plug-in hybrid gives you more all-electric range than just about any other competitive vehicle, making it easier to drive for days or weeks at a time without ever using the gas engine. The hydrogen model is a harder sell given its niche status. Either way, Honda has put together an imperfect but likable vision of what the future may hold.

Release date

Core specs for the Clarity Fuel Cell remain unchanged. An electric motor system rated at 174 hp and 221 lb-ft turns the front wheels. It’s fed by a 103-kw fuel-cell stack, while an air-cooled 1.7-kwh lithium-ion battery pack acts as the energy buffer when full-throttle bursts are needed and to store away excess energy generated by the fuel-cell system or recovered by regenerative braking. That yields a range rating of 360 miles, or MPGe efficiency ratings of 69 city, 67 highway. The economics are favorable, with an allowance of hydrogen included. In California—the only state where it’s currently available—the Clarity Fuel Cell qualifies for single-occupant HOV lane access as well as a $5,000 state rebate. A next-generation Toyota fuel-cell stack is due next year, in the Mirai; meanwhile Honda (with GM) is working on a next-generation fuel-cell stack that it hopes will sell in the ten-thousands, while this generation sells in the thousands. Honda underscores that there are 40 hydrogen fueling stations across California. Ever more the missing piece, just get some more stations installed, eh?

Video

The 2021 Honda Clarity is actually two different cars bearing the same name. Both are sedans, and they look pretty much the same inside and out. What powers them makes the difference, a choice between a plug-in hybrid and a fuel-cell engine powered by hydrogen. The Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid model is available for consumers to buy or lease. The Honda Clarity Fuel Cell is only available through a lease, and only in certain regions of California. For 2021, Honda cancelled the Clarity Electric, which offered just 89 miles of driving range. In 2021, the Clarity Plug-in earned a KBB Best Buy Award in the electric/hybrid car segment. Since then, we’ve added a Clarity Plug-in to our long-term-testing program, in which the car has averaged nearly 89 MPGe thanks to regular overnight charging. Overall, the Clarity Plug-in has thoroughly impressed us.

Photo Gallery 2021 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell

All information about Honda Clarity Fuel Cell 2021: Price, Interior, Fuel economy, Motors, Exterior, Horsepower, Colors, Safety, Configurations, you read on this page, and in the end – see the photo!




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