The 2016 Honda Clarity FCV is Honda’s first mass-production Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle. The car runs solely on hydrogen and thus has zero emissions when driving. Obviously, another step in eco-friendly car manufacturing, which has been going on since the late 1990s.
It took quite a while for the experimental Clarity model to finally hit the mass-production line. Only in 1999 the first model was released. Then in 2008 the first small-sale Clarity FCX was produced. Finally in 2015 the Clarity concept was shown at the Detroit Auto Show. Consequently, in 2016 the hydrogen fueled car was finally released for international markets, the first being Japan.
Europe will also get the Clarity, though in limited quantity and only through the HyFIVE project. This is a cooperation between BMW, Daimler, Hyundai, Honda and Toyota to experiment with hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles. This project will also do the necessary lobbying to make hydrogen more available for refueling.
The exterior of the 2016 Honda Clarity FCV is a funky, yet practical one. It shares most of the features with its 2015 concept, but has been toned down for mass production. Also, the overall shape and size is mostly reminiscent of the advanced and best-selling 2017 Honda Accord.
The front fascia is different in the sense that an extra lower grille part has been added. Then, there’s a thinner chrome strip for extra airflow. Furthermore, the chrome strip still nicely connects both headlights and the angular, boomerang-shaped foglights. Finally, Daytime Running Lights finish off the front.
The side of the car looks sleek and shiny, due to the rounded off roof that flows nicely into the trunklid. Furthermore, the side of the car looks just like a regular sedan with some nice body lines and an expressive window group. The lower body line ends in an air vent, which you usually see on powerful supercars like the Bugatti Veyron. Overall, seeing it on a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle is a nice touch.
Then finally, the most eye catching detail on the side are the skirts over the rear wheels. Instead of leaving the whole wheel bare, the top is covered with the straight lined side skirt. This feature also reminds of a much faster and more aggressive supercar. The flirt with these features works out well and is quite bold, we like it!
Finally, the rear of the car ties the car together nicely. The 2016 Honda Clarity FCV looks a bit wide and almost has an appearance similar to that of the eco-friendly hybrid, the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime, which is of course explainable by the inner presence of the hydrogen tanks. They really do take up a lot of space.
You will find no interior that looks exactly like the one on the concept car, that is a rule we’ve established for the last couple of years of car manufacturing. The interiors always look fantastic and futuristic, but always prove too much of a fuss to carry over on the mass-production vehicle. That’s why we were positively surprised when we first saw the final interior, it does take on many features from the concept.
First of all, the racing game steering wheel has been left out and made way for a regular steering wheel. The infotainment screen is just a tad smaller and is more connected to the dashboard. Some necessary buttons are added underneath it, together with the “gear shifting” platform. The rest of the dashboard is clean and lacking clutter, just like the concept car’s. Then, there’s the nice and high-tech looking colour scheme of dark grey and white. This really adds a certain style to the 2016 Honda Clarity FCV interior and takes some inspiration of the elegant and spacious 2017 Honda Avancier.
What it comes down to is that the Honda Clarity is an electric car that uses hydrogen to generate electricity instead of electric batteries. The hydrogen tanks can store 141 liters of hydrogen, the hydrogen is the released at 700 bars, an extremely high pressure. The collision of hydrogen with oxygen then creates kinetic energy which is transformed into electricity and can be used to power the Clarity’s electric motor.
The electric motor is a 173bhp e-motor with a 134bhp fuel cell stack and a lithium ion battery for starting the motor. Total engine output comes to 174 horsepower, which is 22 more than the Clarity’s biggest competitor, the Toyota Mirai. Honda claims that the 2016 Honda Clarity FCV will be able to drive over 700 kilometers on one tank, before it’s necessary to refuel. This is obviously great performance and may convince the first trailblazers of acquiring a Clarity. However, logistics aren’t great at the moment, with no more than a few hydrogen refueling stations per country.
Furthermore, the Clarity offers the driver a set of five different driving gears, with even one named Sport. A Sport driving gear on a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle? Better to accept that the new Clarity FCV is not here to confirm our prejudices about eco-friendly automobiles.
Since Tesla set the standard of eco-friendly cars to be even more distinguished by offering extensive safety and convenience features. So much so, that any newly released eco-friendly car follows in this trend, there’s simply no choice if the car has to compete with that. Evidently, the 2016 Honda Clarity FCV is laced up with a whole range of features for semi-autonomous driving. Honda even produced a fully autonomous Clarity FCV for the G7 summit in Japan next year.
Price and sale date
Price of the 2016 Honda Clarity FCV starts at $60,000 or £60,000. Not many countries get the Clarity, Europe only gets around ten of these cars, mostly for experimenting and paving the path for hydrogen refueling stations. In Japan, the car has gone on sale already, the European cars have just arrived in late November and will be sold shortly .