Honda’s decisions as regards the 2018 Clarity Electric remain a complete mystery (why release such an uncompetitive offering?), but the situation with the plug-in hybrid version of the 2018 Clarity is very different.
As was expected, the 2018 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV) has been granted an impressive EPA all-electric range rating — 47 miles (76 kilometers) per full charge. That’s a pretty impressive figure considering that the EPA’s range ratings are essentially real-world figures — as opposed to NEDC ratings in Europe, amongst others, which are highly “optimistic.” In fact, Honda brags that the car “earned the highest all-electric range rating among all midsize plug-in hybrids.”
While the Chevy Volt PHEV will remain the more broadly available option and a more attractive purchase to many, as far as PHEVs go, the 2018 Honda Clarity PHEV seems as though it could sell pretty well. Well, that’s presuming that Honda tries to sell the car. A statement from an American Honda exec hints that they do, but we’ll have to wait and see.
“We think the combination of a class-leading 47 miles of all-electric driving range rating and a large, luxurious 5-passenger package will give us an advantage in the plug-in hybrid game,” said Ray Mikiciuk, assistant vice president of Honda Auto Sales at American Honda Motor Co.
Honda provides some more details on the new option: “Launching at dealerships nationwide later this year, the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid also received an EPA fuel economy rating of 110 combined MPGe, among the top of its class, and a gasoline only 44/40/42 MPG rating (city/highway/combined). …
“For longer trips, the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid can utilize its hyper-efficient 1.5-liter Atkinson cycle 4-cylinder engine to generate electricity and, under certain conditions, to act as a direct power source, resulting in an overall EPA driving range rating of 340 miles.
“The vehicle’s electromotive power comes from a 181-horsepower electric motor producing 232 lb.-ft. of torque and drawing power from both the gasoline engine and a 17-kilowatt hour (kWh) battery pack with a recharge time of just 2.5 hours at 240 volts. The Clarity Plug-in Hybrid features three selectable modes – Normal, Econ and Sport – allowing drivers to customize their experience, maximizing efficiency or driving performance. A fourth mode – HV mode – is provided to maintain the battery’s state of charge and can be selected in conjunction with Normal, Econ and Sport driving modes.”
As you’ll possibly recall, Honda already sells a hydrogen fuel cell version of the Clarity, as well as the aforementioned overpriced-for-what-it-is all-electric version. The PHEV version of the Clarity certainly seems to be the most attractive across most parameters. And Honda apparently agrees. It closes with this line: “Expected to be the volume sales leader in the Clarity series lineup, the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid will be offered in two premium-contented trims, standard and Touring.”