This Is The Logic Behind The 80-Mile Range Of The Honda Clarity BEV

Honda Clarity Fuel Cell


Honda Clarity Fuel Cell

A few weeks ago, we learned that the upcoming Honda Clarity BEV will have an 80-mile range (hinted at at the same time, but not confirmed, was a cost of around $35,000).

The Honda Clarity, currently only offered as a fuel cell vehicle, will also be offered as a plug-in electric vehicle later in 2017.

Anything under 100 miles can seem like a real step backwards in the era of the 238-mile Chevy Bolt and roughly-the-same Tesla Model 3, but, that’s not how Honda sees the Clarity BEV’s range at all. In fact, Steve Center, vice president of environmental business development at American Honda Motor, said that putting an 80-mile battery into the car was “very deliberate.” Here’s why.

Center told InsideEVs that the three-pronged approach that Honda is using with the Clarity – remember, the car will also be available with plug-in hybrid and hydrogen fuel cell powertrains – allowed the automaker to tune the all-electric model to deliver exactly what drivers want.

The Clarity Fuel Cell is for EV fans who are willing to compromise on finding a refueling station but want to be seen as a technological leader. The PHEV Clarity, on the other hand, offers your average driver the chance to go electric for around 40 miles a charge without making any real changes to their driving or refueling habits (other than having the opportunity to charge up at home). So, where does that leave the BEV Clarity? Well, Center said, that’s for the purists who want to charge at home and only want to drive on electric power. Honda’s history with the Fit EV, he said, proves that 80 miles is enough for this crowd. Adding more range would increase costs, and Honda doesn’t want to do that.

With 80 miles being enough, in Honda’s calculation, the Clarity wins out over its competitors thanks to being a “segment leader in size and comfort,” according to promotional materials Honda handed out about the Clarity family recently.

Honda calls the fuel-cell model the “ultimate ZEV,” and the PHEV the, “long range electrified vehicle.” In other words, there’s just no room in the Clarity triangle for a long-range BEV.

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109 Comments on "This Is The Logic Behind The 80-Mile Range Of The Honda Clarity BEV"

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Should say “This is the LACK OF Logic…..!

Yeah, way to define (confine) market potential by your existing early adopter crowd.

I wonder why they didn’t make the PHEV with an 80 mile range too and use just a gallon gas tank? ๐Ÿ˜‰

True. I guess the honda rep is speaking the absolute truth…. You would have to be a real “enthusiast”

The question is, how many “enthusiasts” remain? BEVs have been on the market for years. The “enthusiasts” already have theirs.

Sounds like Honda is taking a page from GM’s (old?) playbook. Cripple a technology, sell it like it’s the greatest thing, then say “see, we told you BEVs suck” when sales don’t materialize!

PS – We should send a note to Honda that says “2010 called. They want their 80 mile BEVs back!”

Are you referring to the EV-1? The fact there is that the technology was simply too expensive at the time. And not mature enough. Don’t let the dramatized movie about it fool you. ๐Ÿ™‚

See GM proved it by recalling and crushing all the EV1s.

Too expensive. ?

Keep on spinning it! I won’t touch it. What a joke!

Yes, the lack of logic is in even making a battery EV. Fuel cells are so superior making a battery only vehicle is pure stupidity.

Yes, fuel cells are superior in making the car more expensive, heavier, slower, with less internal space, more expensive to drive and also locks the customer to a few dedicated filling stations.

So superior they are less efficient than BEVs every step of the way!

Ok, so are we talking limited range because that’s the intent, or because there simply isn’t room to add more batteries?

Or is the Limited Range due to The abundance of existing “LOW COST” Hydrogen Refueling stations Installations. …R O T F L M A 0….

Spock would say., that is “ILLOGICAL”.. And How TRUE!

Thank goodness, Honda’s 200 mile BEV will not look anything like this.

What a laughing stock.

Although: Because this is appears to be so off the wall; this may leads one to think that Honda may be “Crazy like a Fox” . There must be more to this than meets the senses and/0r what they are leading us to believe…~ (*&^%$@!!@#&&~???

I would be interested, at $22,500 (15k after rebate)

Why when you can get a sightly used EV with the same range for half that price?

Because the Clarity is a bigger vehicle.

I do agree though that 80 miles is pretty sad in 2017.

Agreed – that’s a price point that some people may be willing to pay for an 80 mile BEV in 2017/2018.

At any price higher than that – they won’t get any sales of the BEV version. The PHEV may sell reasonably well as it is better than all other PHEVs on the market except for the Volt in regards to range.

Meh, they might get some sales from the pro-BEV Honda purists. With maybe some crossing over from Toyota. But that’s about it.

“Pro-BEV Honda Purist” has to be the empty set, mathematically, given Honda’s weird talking points.

Honda Management has been wacko in the logic dept. for some time.

No update for the Fit EV.
No update for the Insight.
No update for the Civic hybrid.
No update for the CUV to hybrid status.

Golf Course CEO’s.
They don’t earn their pay.

And no plug in hybrid oddyssey. Chrysler Pacifica eats their cake with more than 30 miles electrical range

Well, those are the problems you create when you chase down the wrong technology path….Honda has been a huge fuel cell proponent.

Opportunity cost!

Honda prefers hydrogen ZEV credits over BEV. We get it. Consumers always lose when corporations play games that only benefit their short term interests– money over choice / better (sustainable) technology.

Honda Fit is proof you can sell ~1200 82 mile AER EVs over several years as long as there aren’t any Bolts or Model 3s around.

“Hondaโ€™s history with the Fit EV, he said, proves that 80 miles is enough for this crowd”.

And 80+ miles was enough for me too WHEN NOTHING BETTER WAS AVAILABLE!

What a load of codswallop!

LOL! Apr 1 isn’t for couple of more weeks!

Sure, 80’ish miles range is enough for many people, but they aren’t going to pay the same as 200 miles range car. If the range in miles is horsepower, people won’t buy 80 HP car when 200 HP car cost the same. This “logic” is a joke that’s released two weeks too early.

They aren’t the same price.

In the 3 months that the Bolt has been in production, more people bought the old Leaf than they did the new Bolt.

This is where the EV crowd seems to lose sight of reality. People don’t rank cars by range. Nobody will ever cross shop a Bolt with a Model 3. People will pay more for a lower range i3 than a higher range Bolt. In the same way, nobody will ever cross shop an Ioniq or a Clarity with a Bolt. These are all completely different cars geared towards completely different markets. We might as well be comparing back-hoes with vespas.

3 months? Are you really comparing a month where the Bolt was only available for a couple days to a whole month of Leaf availability? And also ignoring the extremely deep discounting on the Leaf this past month?

Pointing out the Leaf’s discounting as a source of its sales just reinforces what I said. People segment cars by price, not by range, power, or other features. It’s the same reason why, just because there is a 300hp car doesn’t mean people just drop their 150hp cars and rush over and get it.

Price is absolutely one metric people use, and there are several others. As humans we like to reduce everything to a simple problem/solution but there are many many factors people look at when buying cars.

As a simple counter-point, if price were the only driver, Tesla would have no sales.

But back to my original point, when you have very deep discounting of an outgoing model, it is not a valid apples-to-apples comparison to look at those sales compared to a new entry with very little/no discounting.

Similarly, it makes no sense to compare a month of sales of one model, to a few days of another. The first “month” of Bolt EV sales represent only a handful of days of availability at the end of the month.

Well I guess the buyers will soon put that theory to the test,

in fact at that price, if I were you Steve, I’d make them to order !

I imagine that part of the decision was based on not wanting to have a beefed up suspension to handle heavier batteries. The other part is that they want the FCV to be clearly superior.

I would guess the FCEV will be much heavier.
Just look at the Mirai or Tucson, they are pretty heavy.

A concept car that’s not actually a concept !

A Concept that is “Not for sale”

Any Fit EV drivers on here that would buy this POS Clarity EV?

There are brand loyalists that would. The range is not everything.

It’s always about the length, ask any woman !

Honda cars are typically so underpowered that they can’t get out of their own way. So its like a mercy killing – the 80 mile range mercifully limits your time in the car.

I guess I will be the contrarian here and say that I do believe that, at least in the near term, there will be market for commuter grade lower range BEVs. Right now, there is still a significant marginal cost penalty associated with greater range. Sure, battery costs are coming down, but my own personal experience says that 80 miles is probably enough, 107+ is better, but that anything approaching 200 is not necessary. It is at this point consumers will begin to make decisions based on cost and need. Sure, if it is your only car, then you may opt for the additional range and be willing to pay the additional cost. However, if this is your general purpose daily commuter and you have a backup option for longer distances, then why not. Regarding this car, $35k is entirely too much for 80 miles of range.

I’ll be back in the market late this year or early next year and right now a used 2016 or 2017 Leaf with the 30KWh battery is probably the best overall bang for the buck.

80 miles means 50 miles in a Midwest/Northeast winter day on the highway.

There might be room for 80-mile BEVs in the future, but only at a lower upfront cost than any comparable ICE vehicle.

As far as I can tell, the Clarity is not marketed as a low-end vehicle.


That doesn’t matter. You’ll only find these in California anyway…

There is most probably a market for a new 80 mile model BEV and I think it is the new range of Smart cars not a large saloon car.

“…there will be market for commuter grade lower range BEVs.”

Sure, just as there is a market for tiny, low-speed NEVs (Neighborhood Electric Vehicles). Just not a market of any significant size.

If auto makers want to keep BEVs confined to <1% of the new car market, then continuing to make them with <100 miles of EPA rated range is absolutely the way to do it.

Translation: the BEVs are for compliance credits. Honda is a-ok with selling the minimal number of this crappy BEV offering, that’s needed to avoid paying a compliance fine.

And people still wonder why Japan is dropping like a rock in the Top EV Countries ranks. You can’t keep up, when 2 of your 3 leading automakers treat EVs like a joke, and therefore only offer sad EV jokes to drivers.

(and all but one of your second-tier automakers don’t make EVs at all)

I’ve been with Volt(s)…without range limitations, since 2011. I now have a 2017 Volt, which gets me about 70 miles of range and I’ve been driving around with the same couple of gallons for months. Then we have the Tesla X and its supercharging, which I have managed to put 13K (non work) miles on in 9 months. I read this pathetic lack of insight from a CEO and it makes me realize that an 80 mile BEV (which should have been circa 2010) isn’t desirable AT ANY PRICE (especially anywhere with cold weather). It isn’t worth the space in the garage, the insurance premiums or the hassle of CONSTANTLY thinking about running out of juice. They would literally have to pay ME to take one off their hands. I am realizing I have a TOTAL inability to put my feet in the shoes of ‘them’…kinda like when I read this today “Let’s make Russia Our Sister Country”…HUH??? Have the loons on the right gone so far down the path that their forbearers would literally reach out of the grave and CHOKE them if they could? Nope…the world is making no sense whatsoever to me lately. PS, if you… Read more »

As someone who drove a 70-mile BEV for 2 years, and since then an 80-mile one (well, 84), well into 2017, I can attest that you don’t CONSTANTLY think about running out of juice.

You think about that only on road trips or unusual days. And then, too, once you gain the savvy and do the right planning, you don’t necessarily “constantly” think about it. Some days you do, mostly in the winter ๐Ÿ˜‰

But for Honda to offer only an 80-mile option at a ridiculously high price in 2017, is an act of borderline fraud. And what they say about demand and “purists” is an ugly outright lie, of course.

Same here. 80ish miles of range works most of the time. It’s when it doesn’t that planning starts becoming necessary. I’d be much happier with 150, to simultaneously cover cold weather and unplanned trips in a single day. 125 is OK…

+1. Totally willing to live long-term with a 150-mile BEV supported by a reliable QC network.

Going above that, is more of a price vs. other needs (space, etc.) question.

But people who drive long-distance on a more regular basis (or drive under more challenging conditions, whatever those might be) need more than that.

And QC networks are not improving fast enough to keep up.

That’s why I’m in no hurry to replace my RAV4 EV with JdeMO. 40+kWh for 120 mile range and CHAdeMO charging. The only upgrade I’m looking forward to is bumping up the CHAdeMO from 125 amps to 200 amps, if Tony can validate it that high.
Don’t get me wrong, I also have a reservation for a Model 3, but the RAV4 EV is a unique combination of cargo utility and EV capability.

Agreed. I’ve been driving what was originally a 72 mile Leaf for 4.5 years and have never run out of juice. I just plan and adjust. I think 150 miles would be about ideal.

The only logic is that they will be able to tell that BEVs don’t sell in a couple years… When we’ll all have our 400 000 model 3 in hands

I had very similar thoughts as your’s: Honda developed an 80 mile EV for 2017 with the idea in mind that it would fail in the market place. Then they can go back to regulators (like CARB…) and say “EVs don’t sell”. Yes, we’re being a bit silly.

If Honda was serious about EVs, then they should have known a couple of years ago that GM & Tesla were both developing 200 mile EVs and developed one of their own.

I don’t think there will be a place for 80 mile commuter cars in the future – at least in very high volume. More range is needed to deal with “range loss because it’s cold” and “forgot to plug-in” and “have a dentist appointment” and “Joey has a soccer game” and …

That makes no sense. It’d be like Chevy saying they would offer the Corvette in a 4-cylinder because some people bought a Spark and liked it. Someone at Honda wants it to fail.

That is a rationalization.

A bit silly to call offering a product with less than 1/3 the range of the competition as ‘logic’.

The really scary thing is that I’m sure some people at Honda actually believed in that ‘logic’.

Long design-time products are difficult. An Intel microprocessor designer talking about making design choices once said something along the lines of “Designing microprocessors is like playing Russian roulette where you pull the trigger and find out 2 years later whether you are dead.”.

If it cost $10k less, I could agree with this logic. Not at $35k, though. Some people do only need 80 miles, but they can get an 80 mile car for way less elsewhere.

Honda bet on FCEV, and it came up snake eyes. So they are scrambling by dropping in some batteries and hoping 80 miles is enough (it isn’t, not in 2017).

Next time, design your BEV as a BEV. And show a modicum of awareness of where the market is going.

For general purpose EVs in 2018 and beyond, 125 miles of range is the lower bound, with the sweet spot from 150 to 250. I’m just some guy in flyover country, and even I can see this.

This sounds like failed spin from a spin doctor.

The real reason, they only want to make a few hundred of them to test the EV waters. They don’t want to invest heavily in EVs.

Wow Honda. All the good grace you guys earned with the Fit EV is gone right out the window. I leased a Honda Fit EV the day after they announced the $259/mo unlimited mileage lease that a came with a free level 2 Leviton charger. It was exactly 3 years ago this weekend that I met with several Honda execs at the AltCarExpo in Point Richmond. One of those was Robert Langford, the other was a guest speaker VP at the convention where he presented the Fuel Cell concept. I showed both of them my Fit EV, and both spent alot of time gushing about the development cycle of the Fit EV. They seemed genuinely enthusiastic about the future of BEV’s, even though they were talking up their fuel cell concept. Oh well.

They brought this to market because it’s all they had. Simple as that they need credits. It will sell in the carb states and the states with ev cash on top of the federal 7,500. Honda will support with lease incentives and cash on the hood or both to move them .

Except it won’t sell. In 2011 sure but not in 2017.

The only Honda this guy ever owned was an Interceptor motorcycle, with variable valve timing. That was back when I could get off the bike and watch Senna and Prost decide which Honda was going to win F1. The 80’s. Where did they go? I mean, the lawnmowers are great, but the cars seem like discounted vanilla.

Clarity vs Prius: battle for the ugly!

What’s the logical explanation for the ugliness? No one will ever steal it?

Prius looks bold. With great MPG, only thing missing is the EV range.

Look at Acura , this summer launching their 1st hybrid SUV. Lexus and Toyota have sold hundreds of thousands since 2006. Honda is way behind.
An 80 mile ev is pitiful. Especially for $35,000

> Anything under 100 miles can seem like a real step backwards

No sh*t. Kinda like if your salary is cut to under half it can “seem” like a real step backwards.

No amount of spin can make the pathetic Clarity look good, and Honda really shouldn’t try. If you’re a convicted criminal you don’t put it up in bolt font on your CV. Similarly, Honda should draw as little attention as possible to the Clarity range…

Taking on the title of this article, maybe you should write an article about the logic behind all these FECVs (Mirai and now this Clarity)being so UGLY?

That has to be the worst explanation ever! What they are saying basically is that Honda customers will refuse to buy a BEV with longer range! Other manufacturers make 200+ mile cars for the same $35k-ish price so they can’t blame the battery expense.

Honda is a joke.

A sad joke.

This is truly sad, but not surprising. It reminds me of the half-hearted effort Honda made with hybrids that never quite managed to even hold a candle to Toyota’s offerings. If they keep this up they will be out of business in ten years when EVs take over the world.

So the 80 mile range for Honda Clarity BEV vs. 124 mile range of the Hyundai IONIQ BEV with a 28 kWh battery begs a couple questions. More so given they target roughly the same market segment and that both are price at ~$35,000 US.

Does the Honda Clarity have a much smaller (~2/3) battery capacity vs. the IONIQ? Or, is the effiency of the Clarity BEV that much lower compared to the IONIQ?

Smaller capacity for sure.

Actually, the Ioniq BEV is already announced to be starting at around $30k, so out the door, it already gets 50% more range for $5k less.

I was hoping someone would bring up the Ioniq. To appreciate the thinking, you have to step into a lofty bubble here. They made three different energy storage formats on the same platform. To their own minds, they feel they have made a good variety of options. They believe dealers will sell this trio in some form or another. Sure, their pejorative attitude towards the BEV is painfully obvious to all of us here. To them, they are positioning the FCEV to be the leader of the gang. That is what /they/ want. The PHEV will outsell the BEV, and the FCEV. Because the Clarity numbers will come in higher, the sub-genius who contrived this approach will be lauded. The success revenue of the PHEV sales will be applied to refining the FCEV and bringing it down in price over time. This is the game plan from on top. If it “works” for the Clarity, then in 2019, you can see it applied to other models for the 2020-2022 time frame. Meanwhile, Hyundai and Kia will capture more of the green market at the low end for price. As everyone who sells a BEV today gets better at cost refinements… Read more »

“Adding more range would increase costs, and Honda doesnโ€™t want to do that.”

Then the FC should have 80 miles of hydrogen capacity.

The Honda Fit proved what early adopters were willing to buy in 2012 after years of waiting for any highway capable EV at all.

But most of those early adopters have already bought their limited range EV’s. That market for short range EV’s is shrinking every day, and will continue to shrink. By the time this actually makes it to dealerships, the market will have shrunk more.

I don’t have a problem with them offering a niche car to a niche market. Go for it. The more choices the better. There are companies still selling NEV’s.

The problem I have is that I fully expect Honda to use this substandard niche EV as an excuse for saying people don’t want to buy EV’s.

CARB should cut ZEV credits for cars with less than 125 or 150 miles of range, and treat these 70-80 mile range the same way they treat NEV’s.

80 miles is a joke.

But this is the first Midsize BEV sedan on the market today. So, there is a “first” in its own category. The sad thing is that I have a suspicion that Honda is purposely making its own Clarity BEV looking bad in range against its FCEV version to sell that one since it would get far more ZEV credits.

If this is just the PR spin to save face, I get that. They made a mistake in their planning, they weren’t forward-looking enough to see where the competition was heading. Maybe they have better things in development and are trying to avoid the Osborne effect, who knows.

If, on the other hand, this is what the management *actually thinks*, then I think it is likely that Honda will be in big trouble in the next decade.

1995 called,… they want their EV back!

Honda,… FFS! Head in hands shaking head.

Just … NO !

What else do you want this dude say. Sorry, we (Honda) are building the industry worst plug-in vehicle, and we suck. I hope there are people still love Honda cars and stupid enough to buy it.

That’s exactly what he did say! You just have to read between the lines.

2017, 80mi EV, $20k! Short range, City EV will be things like For two, small and nimble. Something the size of the Clarity is in a different league, it is more a family travel size and will need a longer range plus decent DCFC. Tesla gets this, GM Bolt is pointing the right way. Clarity will probably sell to morons who don’t know any better, and then give EV’s a bad name because their experience is crap.
Oh, well, I think the EV history has moved on and the Clarity will make little or no difference in the scheme of things. CARB are not Dummies, otherwise it wouldn’t be there in the first place. People are not Dummies, they already had the taste of 100+mi EV’s, and now 200+mi EV’s. 80mi is just not going to cut the grade for $35k anymore.

Japanese car makers seem to be running towards a cliff. All of a sudden their sales with drop down and they won’t know what’s happening. No real ev available for sale will be the hard found diagnosis. The real profound question is why don’t they react now? Corruption, threats, ego, coercion, imposed agenda? One thing is sure, they can’t be so dumb not to see their huge mistake.

Oh, comeon now folks! I remember when it was only the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt out there, and all the BEV purists were yelling loudly in their echo chamber than 70 miles was enough for ANYBODY! Also, clearly anybody who drove a Volt or said otherwise was a schill for oil companies. Now suddenly an 80 mile BEV isn’t enough? Whatever could have changed?!

Lol, ok, I’m just trolling you, because that’s what a lot of you said, but I at least we agree now. ๐Ÿ™‚

Now to really light a fire… 400 miles would be even better than 200 miles, and not just because people are too stupid to plan their trips like all of the super geniuses on this thread. Sorry, I just couldn’t resist.

LOL. That is so true.

I remember legions of LEAF fans and owners were accusing anyone who drove a Volt or not driving a BEV oil shrills and 80 miles are more than enough for everyone.

Honda is just 5 years late.

But it is the first Midsize BEV sedan on the market. So, I guess being “first” means starting with 80miles as it is in “generation 1” of the design.

Meh . . . I think I’ve said that 120 miles would have been enough. But not 80. Sub 100 is bad. It works for hardcore believers but that is about it. 120+ makes it OK as a city car. 200+ would work fine for most. Going beyond 300 miles or so becomes counter-productive.

The Tesla Roadster was on the market for 3 years (2008) before the Volt and the Leaf, and the Model S came in mid-2012. There has been no time since 2008 that a Tesla BEV hasn’t been made and sold, in US and European markets at the very least. I assume you mean “under $50,000.” in there somewhere. The Smart EV had its start in 2009, saving Tesla financially, but its market has previously been limited.
The EV history is just a little more detailed than you’re painting it.

When no one buys the Clarity BEV because there are better options on the market, will the Honda board be able to tell their investors that “they tried, but no one wants BEV cars”???

Born to fail

“This Is The Logic Behind The 80-Mile Range Of The Honda Clarity BEV”

The only “logic” here is that Honda doesn’t want to spend the resources to develop a competitive long-range BEV; they want to sell the Clarity BEV, just like the Clarity “fool cell” car, as merely another compliance car.

I think they want to sell Clarity FCEV even more as it gets more credits.

Dealer: Look at this Clarity BEV here. It has 80 miles of range.

Potential buyer: only 80 miles?

Dealer: Yes, but if you want to more range and Zero Emission, look at this exact same car but it has more than 300 miles of range and FREE fuel for the next years!

Honda then gets more credits on that transaction…

Hardly. I believe that previously, FCEVs could qualify for up to nine credits each, but now, both FCEVs and BEVs have the same potential cap on credits of four.

Here is an idea for you, Honda, if you want to be relevant AND make money:

A 250-mile Prelud-E

And yes, it’s true. No one in their right mind will buy or lease your ugly 80-mile EV.

As much as we mock these automakers that bet on the wrong technology path, the annoying thing is that they will not be punished for it.

In fact they will be REWARDED for making bad technology decisions. Specifically, they will still have huge amounts of Federal tax-credits to hand out whereas the pioneers will have few left.

The tax-credit system should be changed into a common pool that is first-come, first served. Make a new pool of 2 million tax-credits and any company can use them. This rewards the pioneers.

With Bolt out this qualifies for a stillbirth.

Honda wants to sell their FCV, not the BEV. The FCV is very competitive, especially with their attractive lease plus perks. This will allow them to justify FCVs over BEVs. It’s probably not a wining strategy. Although the FCV will work in LA and SF, as a local alternative to BEVs; it won’t work outside of California. If Tesla can bring the Model 3 to market before the end of 2017, the Honda strategy will be an utter failure. If Tesla can’t, then the Honda strategy has a small chance.

Honda doesn’t want to sell anything but token numbers of FCVs for publicity right now. Joint GM-Honda FC factory will start production in around 2020 only.

Still, you should take note at Honda (and not just Honda) markets. Around half of US zero tailpipe emission cars are sold in California. So these hydrogen stations in most populated California areas, plus few more in North East pretty much cover or will cover soon half of the North American market.
Non-CARB states may be less interesting at this stage anyway. Add Japan that is around 20% of Honda auto sales, Western Europe, and H2 stations cover around half of the Honda market, and maybe most of the market that has serious interest in ZEVs, not just few enthusiasts.