After being out of the electric vehicle game for several years, Honda has announced that battery electric and plug-in hybrid iterations will be added to the lineup for the upcoming Clarity sedan. Both electric versions are tagged for launch in the United States in 2017, joining the previously announced hydrogen fuel cell Clarity set to arrive later this year.
The move carries the appearance that Honda, like many automakers, is hedging its bets. The fuel cell Clarity is slated to launch only in California, where limited refueling infrastructure already exists. With ongoing uncertainty over whether demand for that infrastructure will evolve elsewhere, keeping one finger in each pie is a prudent decision as the situation unfolds.
Honda says that the plug-in hybrid is now expected to be the volume seller for the Clarity badge. It will be available in all 50 US states at launch and offer an all-electric driving range of more than 64 kilometres (40 miles) along with an efficient gasoline-hybrid extended range mode, aiming to compete with other plug-in hybrids like the Chevrolet Volt and Toyota Prius Prime.
All three models will feature the Honda Sensing safety and driver assist technology suite as standard as well as offering Android Auto and Apple CarPlay functionality.
No pricing for the electrified Clarity variants has been announced — the fuel cell version will come in at roughly USD$60,000, while the EV and hybrid models are likely to cost considerably less — and no details at all have been revealed for when Canadians might be able to purchase from the Clarity lineup.