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Honda Announces Disappointing Range for Clarity EV

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Honda Clarity Fuel Cell sedan to lease in California

Back in April of 2016, Honda had a glorious day in the alternative-energy-vehicle department, as it happily and confidently announced that the Honda Clarity Fuel Cell, which would be launched later that year fueled by sweet hydrogen, would soon be followed by two more green cars: a plug-in hybrid Clarity and a fully-electric Clarity.

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At the time, Honda promised that the Clarity EV would be the first affordable, mid-size five-passenger battery electric to offer premium contents and features.

So, the recent announcement of its range was great news!

At first.

You see, the Honda Clarity EV is coming to market with a range of only 80 miles and a starting MSRP of about $35,000 before incentives. That’s enough range to outdistance the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, but not much else.

The next-generation of the Honda Clarity Fuel Cell sedan was showcased at this year’s New York Auto Show alongside the new Civic Hatchback

Womp womp

That certainly isn’t enough to beat the Chevrolet Bolt, released to dealers starting in December last year with a range of 238 miles and a starting MSRP of $37,499, or to beat the Tesla Model 3, set to begin production and delivery in the next few months with a range of over 200 miles and a starting MSRP of $35,000.

A range of 80 miles is about the range of a Chevrolet Spark EV, which was dumped for the newer, longer-range Bolt, or the VW e-Golf, an EV-ified version of VW’s staple hatchback–and both start for about $7,000 less than the Clarity EV apparently will.

So, what was Honda thinking?

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Apparently, it was thinking of the two things it promised: affordable and mid-size five-passenger sedan. With those parameters, the size of the battery pack bounced off of a hard barrier—if they reduced the size of the car for greater range, it wouldn’t be a mid-size sedan, and if they increased the size of the battery, it would become too expensive.

“A pillar of the Honda brand is affordability,” said Steve Center, vice president of environmental business development at American Honda Motor to Automotive News, “and if Honda came out with some obscenely priced long-range electric car, what does that do for the brand? Most of our customers would not be able to acquire it.”

So, basically, Honda is banking on buyers of EVs in the near future to want to choose size and affordability over range—or buy the Clarity plug-in hybrid. One or the other.

News Source: Automotive News