The battery electric variant of Honda’s Clarity electric car trilogy is now on sale at select Honda dealers in California and Oregon. Green Car Journal had the opportunity to drive the Clarity fuel cell electric version of this model in Santa Barbara, California earlier this year…impressive! The Clarity battery electric vehicle is equally visually captivating and posh by any measure.
The battery electric Clarity does come with a modest 89 mile driving range between charges, though, which these days runs counter to the industry trend of aiming at significantly greater battery electric range. The reason? Decision makers at Honda felt the added expense and subsequent higher retail price of a long range Clarity electric would erode the brand’s reputation of affordability. Instead, Honda is focused on delivering a premium interior, very sophisticated five-passenger electric sedan to meet the needs of the market.
Steve Center, Vice President of Honda’s Environmental Business Development Office, explains that feedback from existing Honda Fit Electric owners showed little to no concern regarding “range anxiety” due to that model’s driving range, which is also just over 80 miles. Instead, drivers were more focused on a desire for a larger interior, which the Clarity Electric delivers. This assessment is important. While Clarity Electric production numbers have not been disclosed, Center says the lion’s share will most likely go to previous Fit EV lessees.
Honda financing offers a competitive lease rate of $269.00 per month plus sales tax (adjusted for an available federal tax credit), with $1730 due at signing. A generous 20,000 miles per year is allowed in the lease and 24/7 roadside assistance is included.
The Clarity Electric features a 161 horsepower (120 kW) electric motor producing 221 lb-ft torque, powered by a 25.5-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Charging takes just over three hours at a 240 volt home or public charger. According to Honda, an 80 percent charge can be achieved in just 30 minutes when using DC fast charging with the SAE Combined Charging System. The Clarity Electric is rated at 114 combined MPGe fuel efficiency.