Honda Clarity PHEV: #1 Selling Plug-In Hybrid In U.S. In December 2018


Clarity PHEV crowned plug-in hybrid champ in U.S. last month.

Believe it or not, for the first time ever, the Honda Clarity PHEV topped the plug-in hybrid sales chart.

By logging a confirmed sales total of 2,770 units in December 2018, the Clarity PHEV outsold all of the other plug-in hybrids offered in the U.S.

The Clarity’s rise to the top comes shortly after Chevrolet announced the death of the Volt. With Volt sales now dwindling, the Clarity PHEV’s only real challenger is the Toyota Prius Prime, which it narrowly outsold last month. Prius Prime sales checked in at 2,759 units, or just 11 less than the Clarity PHEV.

For the year of 2018, the Prius Prime is the clear plug-in hybrid sales leader with 27,595 sold. The Clarity PHEV placed number two with 18,602 sold. The Chevy Volt trailed at 18,306 sold for 2018.

The Clarity PHEV is spacious for a plug-in hybrid. Additionally, its electric range is on the high side at 47 miles, which is only outdone by the Volt’s 53-mile electric rating.

The Honda Clarity comes in three distinct versions. There’s the aforementioned plug-in hybrid, which is the highest volume car of the trio. However, Honda also offers a pure battery-electric version, as well as a hydrogen fuel-cell Clarity.

Honda provided us with a sales breakdown for all three versions of the Clarity for all of 2018, as well as for December 2018 alone. Here are those figures:

December 2018 Sales

Clarity BEV: 86
Clarity FCV: 1
Clarity PHEV: 2,770

2018 Sales

Clarity BEV: 948
Clarity FCV: 624
Clarity PHEV: 18,602

Categories: Honda, Sales

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78 Comments on "Honda Clarity PHEV: #1 Selling Plug-In Hybrid In U.S. In December 2018"

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What is the availability of Clarity?

Supply of Prime is at just 800 models for the entire country and limited to specific markets. Toyota has been burning down inventory and holding out rollout to many of the central states. Waiting for the inevitable Volt fallout GM had to deal with and the unique Tesla situation (loss of tax-credits combined with virtually no competition) was good reason to lay low in the meantime. It also raises speculation of possible mid-cycle updates to increase appeal of the current approach.

That could be recognition of Honda’s market potential. Clarity is a compelling balance of what the market may embrace… which is good news for Toyota. Seeing a RAV4 plug-in hybrid would help endorse large scale abandonment of traditional vehicles. We only need to prove a few very recognizable choices sell well without tax-credits… which means there’s still a few years wait.

Honda’s current success is very encouraging for the entire market. There is strong potential to build upon.

Outside the US the availability is close to zero… You know it is purely compliance (or Chinese) when not even selling your EV in Norway.

Clarity PHEV is sold in Canada.

Not really. I called a local dealer and the woman actually laughed when I asked if they had one.

Compliance or not it is a great car.

It’s very telling that you’re not attacking a Japanese brand in the same way you attack every non-Japanese brand. That’s normal operating procedure for Japanese companies. Can you tell your masters in Toyota marketing that none of us are buying their anti-EV BS?

I’m glad to see the Clarity PHEV doing well. It’s not the car that the Volt was, but it’s much better than the Prime. And, people who are biased against American cars will be willing to buy it.

Exactly, this is the pattern. However, the guy is not very successful and will be sacked soon, toyota/lexus hydrid owners keep ditching their turds for more capable PHEV and BEV.

Really? This site trashes Teslas? hmm.

What’re you talking about? I was responding to john1701a, who appears to work for Toyota.

In what way is john’s post an attack on Honda? He praises Honda and the Clarity.

You buy and drive these toyota turds…

Shows what a little advertising can accomplish. I have yet to see any Prius Prime ads, but there was a large ad buy late last year for the Clarity, where the family was driving through the landscape. Autos 101: people buy what is marketed to them.

Prime is 2nd best selling plug-in vehicle behind Model 3, remember.

Surprising. They flubbed the BEV variant so badly (89 miles of range and no supply) I just dismissed the PHEV as being a worthless compliance vehicle, but there it is – clocked in at #5 for US PEV sales in all of 2018, just under the three Teslas + the Prius Prime.

It’s not really a compliance car, but you would be very fair to call it an experiment. It’s kind of some new tech cobbled together with parts Honda had on the shelf. It came out pretty nice (looks aside) and has been a joy to own these past 8 months. I still don’t push it to others who are looking as I think it’s going to have a fairly short run. I think Honda is going to use what they’ve learned and move the tech to their other vehicles (Pilot, Odessey, Accord).

If you know what you are getting, it’s a great car. Super comfy, most lux car I’ve owned but I’ve always been a small car guy. In hindsight I should have leased instead of purchasing as it’s not holding value like my other Honda’s have and I’m not a car keeper. However it feels like a car that’s going to last so it will probably end up with one of the kids if I can’t get a good price for it at sale time.

Not a Compliance car

The clarity PHEV is on the top of my list to replace my aging ICE vehicle. But I’m holding out for a BEV that meets my criteria. (Mostly high price is the issue). If I can wait out it will be a BEV if not probably the clarity.

If Donald trUMP cancel the tax credit, all PH+EV will instantly go up in price by $7.5K. Best to get it while the getting is good.

Two best options on sub $30K: Bolt BEV and Clarity PHV, both about $25K after sale + tax credit, even less with state subsidy.

Trump doesn’t have to power to cancel the tax credit.

Yes he does in a way. No one is getting a tax refund for any reason right now.

The EV credit is not refundable. It reduces the tax to zero at best but doesn’t increase your refund. So just by filing you get the best the credit will do and no tRUMP can’t affect that.

It IS also able to be carried over if you cannot use it all in 1 year.

I didn’t know you could carry it over, thanks for the info.

“The maximum credit is $7,500. … However if the credit exceeds your federal income tax liability, you cannot carry the excess forward for use in future years. ”

You cannot!!!

It is definitely kinda refundable…
If you pay say 5k in federal through the year and have to pay an additional 2500 at tax time them with the $7500 credit you will get a check for $5k from IRS.

I’m in Canada so no tax credit available for me.

Lots of Clarity love lately. Makes me think I should take mine for a wash and wax this weekend to put on a good showing in public. Lol.

With Volt’s demise, Clarity PHV is at the top of PHV heap. Being mid size is all the better.

I would seriously DRIVE a BMW i3 REX first.
Now with 2019 150 miles of range, and a gas engine if you find your chargers blocked.
Consumer Reports 2019: BMW i3 Recommended. 5/5 stars Reliability.

Also, check out BMW leasing.
Goto Consumer Reports buying service, find out what the standard discount is, and handle the transaction thru the internet. And you can lease too, thru the service.
I believe BMW still writes off the federal tax credit, in the lease, in full.

You may get a better driving machine for a lower lease payment with the i3.

I tested i3. Crazy rear door instantly turned me off. Even if i3 is cheaper than Bolt (or even SparkEV), I can’t handle them weirdo doors.

I would never go back to a front wheel drive car. The I3 is a far more sporty driving experience without traction issues or torque steer. Furthermore, every time I’m at a DC quick-charge station there are Lyft drivers with Bolts there spending significant time and getting less charge then the i3. I almost fill sorry for them when I am in and out in 30 minutes and picking up more charge than the Bolt with a 2x larger capacity battery. With the 43kWh i3 out now…I bet that will be the more convenient EV to take to Vegas. And with the irex…even a safer bet. And those quirky side doors will enable you to load far larger cargo into the back seat than a Bolt could ever dream of.

Your dogs won’t know the joy of sticking their head out the rear window as i3 rear window is permanently stuck. And if Bolt wanted to charge like i3, it’d be in-and-out just as fast, if not faster since it’s capable of 55 kW.

Reliability on i3 Rex is terrible. It just turn me off on getting one

Consumer Reports has i3 reliability as average in 2014, above average in 2015, much above average (5/5) in 2017 and predicted reliability for 2019 of much above average (5/5).

I have both 2018 Clarity PHEV and 2015 BMW i3 REx. Clarity is loads better above 50 mph. Better handling at speed, better mpg, etc. The i3 is a better urban car. Clarity is great long distance as I have averaged about 40 mpg at interstate speeds (75 mph) and is much roomier for family. The i3 has more room for the driver though.

No real surprise here, remember the majority of PHEVs and BEVs are leased…Because of the tax credit they’re offering lots of lease cash, this month $10,800 in some northeastern states…Not different to get one for $0 down and sub-$300/mo all in within the ZEV credit states and this is before any state and/or local incentives…

Wow! It’s about time. Why doesn’t anyone see this one of a kind engineer marvel? I love mine everytime I use it.
Don’t forget to get a Juicebox Pro 40 along the way.

I’m curious why people would go for Accord gasser over Clarity PHV; they are about the same price size, etc. I drove a new Accord gasser, and it was woefully under powered. There’s a huge lag after accelerator press and actual speed change (felt like many seconds). Maybe I just got used to electric instant response.

I think it would be the price since the Accord is cheaper

No way Jose!
I just got a lease on a base for $220 net per month. What you are missing is the after sale credits you get on this car. The base of this car is almost a touring on the Accord. Try getting a $220 lease on the loaded Accord and let me know how it went….it’s not my fault if the dealer kicks your ass for asking for such price.

Most people know very little about cars, and don’t trust innovation.
They won’t get collision avoidance for example, although it’s been out for years.

The hybrid concept is 20 years old and some people still don’t trust it.

But, I’m not waiting.
I’m enjoying the smoothness and power of the BMW i3 REX now, along with all it’s safety features. Will do a full EV review when my lease runs out.

If for whatever reason you cannot plug in the car at night or if your daily drive regularly exceeds the Clarity’s range (47 miles, less in co,d weather) then the Accord hybrid would make more sense for you. The extra cost of the PHEV is worth it if you run mostly on electricity.

Post subsidy, difference is just couple of thousand. With state subsidy, that difference is even less. I guess it takes one to test drive both to find out, but I wouldn’t get Accord after having driven them.


But where I am, the clarity is not a very common sight though, but in 2019 I probably saw two so far

But a pilot phev may also be coming too

Aside from Tesla, who clearly won’t make a phev, PHEVs handily outsold BEVS in the US last year.
With the product road maps we have seen from the incumbents (including more Hondas), this may continue for a while.

Aside from the company that sells as many plug-ins as every other combined? Lol, that’s one silly modifier.

The price differential b/w Clarity and Insight is too high. Even after taking the tax credit into account, it will take ~160,000 miles to break even.

The Clarity will cost less than similarly equipped insight if eligible for tax credits, especially if you negotiate 15% msrp for Clarity.

I am not sure why people buy Prius Prime when they have Clarity and Volt to choose from, which are far superior anyway you look at it. Maybe it’s Toyota/Prius brand loyalists.

You get wavy glass with the Prius Prime. Also biking friends say you can get a BIKE in the old volt and new PP, but it won’t fit in the new narrower VOLT.

Price, Toyota reliability, and great efficiency offset it’s limitations to appeal to a sizable audience. It’s the cheapest liftback Prius if you can use the full tax credit. Reliability score much better than average (5/5) for both 2017 and 2018 and predicted reliability also 5/5.

I still think that had Honda made it a harchback (versus a trunk), they would have sold thousands more. I for one did not get one because of that.

And there are millions of Americans that won’t buy a hatchback.

Why not? The only turnoff is that it’s not a hatchback.

For the legacy automakers, these PHEVs are a kind of weekend hobby. They sell in tiny numbers, so they don’t cannibalize ICE sales. If we want to do something serious to stop climate change, these baby steps won’t cut it. And when the switchover to BEV starts in earnest, these half-steps won’t save the legacy companies.

You’re still groping your way around Socrates’ cave seeing only the shadows. Just as Plato inferred, there is an amazing and beautiful world to behold if you can find your own way out.

If we are serious about climate change, we’d have nuclear power popping up all over the place. Climate change hysteria is a scam. Get the best car that you need/want, and forget about climate change, because no one else really cares.

Climate change is real. Nuclear power plants are not popping up because they are economic failures…they are closing down.

Nuclear power plants aren’t an economic failure. They aren’t popping up because of a general widespread paranoia over the safety of nuclear power. Some of it is justified, but it is also correctable. There has been no development in improved nuclear power generation technology in 40 years due to this paranoia. Nuclear power could save this planet’s ecological bacon if everyone wasn’t so damn scared of nuclear power generation, and it was approached as a science rather than a media scare story. People would rather burn our planet up with C02 emissions than have nuclear power.

Yup, and that’s why I call CC hysteria a scam. How many people died from nuclear accidents and how many people does hysteria claim will die from climate change? If this was legitimate concern, they will be all too eager to implement the proven solution (nuclear) instead of going off into unproven and very expensive “solutions”

A lot of things can be correctable on computer screen, but nuclear power isn’t something that can make the usual brogrammer folks “solution” to materialize: “just upgrade to the next weekly version, (hopefully) it will fix it even if it’ll introduce a dozen of new bugs”.

You make a project, invest billions, start paying interest, a decade later may have power, and you are stuck with what you have for 40 years, including interest payments. All the nice and shiny upgrades, off-the-shelf mass production of reactors, etc, should have happened 40 years earlier. It is just too expensive as it is now, even with subsidized insurance, whatever you want to blame.

Climate change is real. Read what I wrote. Climate change HYSTERIA is a scam.

You are right that most plug-ins from legacy automakers are mass produced but are not aimed at the mass-market due to being over-priced or other limitations.

The Prime is something of a different story, designed to be affordable enough for mass market, though the lack of 5th seat and decreased storage capacity will limit its sales.

I’m one of those sales. Sold our ’13 volt for a new Clarity the first week of December. The Clarity is downright luxurious in comparison. I really liked the Volt (had it three years) but like the Clarity even better.

Happy to answer any questions for anyone thinking of buying one.

Why did Honda hit it with an ugly stick first? Is there some Japanese mandate that all plug in cars be ugly? Gen 1 leaf, prime, Clarity? I think Goen was jailed because he made the new leaf look better, could be.

I still say the prime is Number one

Well deserved. Bravo, Honda!

Now please build a great pure EV. You can do it.

Clarity EV, oh wait range too short!

PHEV’s have a place in the present and near future. A shame that GM doesn’t get it.

I tried to buy a clarity in canada over the summer. I used a website to see whether there were any on a lot near me. They were two in all of Canada, and none near me. I managed to find a Prius prime and bought that. People won’t buy EVs (and phevs) if they can’t actually buy them.

Such an ugly car… It looks like a lego car.

My 2000 Insight had 300 patents. My Clarity was built upon these patents. Slowly but surely, Honda is building superior cars as shown by discerning buyers.

When will Honda decide to introduce the Honda Clarity in Europe?

I bought one in October and it has been fantastic. <$25K after incentives and was able to pick up a 120K warranty from an east coast dealer for $1300. That's about $26K for worry free driving for 7 years. It's a huge car, very luxurious, has adaptive cruise and lane keep standard, and I can drive it about 90% of the time on electric only. For road trips I just use gas. Other than the ugly wheel trim, it has been a fantastic car. It is also really nice in the bay area (where there's so many EVs) to not stress about finding a charger.

Range is poor with very long charging time (12-15 hours) switch over from E- has terrible. Heated seats sub par.

That charging time is for 110V….get a real charger and stop complaining.

It would be nice if the Honda Insight was available in a PHEV