Honda Clarity PHEV Debuts In New York With 42 Miles Electric Range, Live Stream Debut

8 months ago by Sebastian Blanco 43

2018-Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid PHEV

2018-Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid PHEV.

It’s the hottest new trend in the green car world: offer one model with multiple eco-friendly powertrians. The Hyundai Ioniq triplets come in full electric, plug-in hybrid, and gas-electric hybrid versions. Even the old stalwart Toyota Prius can have a plug or not. And now we’ve got more details about the latest green onslaught from Honda: the three-pronged Clarity line-up. Are they the answer to everything?

All-New Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid (Photo:
InsideEVs/Sebastion Blanco)

We’ve already seen the Clarity Fuel Cell, which launched in December 2016, but Honda made us wait until today to learn more information about the hydrogen car’s siblings, the battery-powered Clarity Electric and the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid.

Was it worth the wait? Well, that depends on how you feel about a PHEV with a respectable 42 miles of all-electric range (via a 17 kWh battery), and a company that wants to sell 75,000 Clarity vehicles in the U.S. in the first four model years.

Of note:  We are at the New York Auto Show, and have included a live gallery of shots for the new Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid, and All-Electric below, as well as some live-stream video of the plug-ins’ debut from New York (you won’t believe the intro).

We think the new Clarity Plug-In Hybrid will be a solid entry in the plug-in vehicle market, not so much for the all-electric version.  The PHEV Clarity is now second only to the Chevy Volt in EV miles (depnding on how you class the BMW i3 and its option REx/range extended option) but is a much bigger car, officially classes as a mid-size, with plenty of room for four, and even five can squeeze in without too much hassle.

Honda Clarity Electric From New York (InsideEVs/Tom Moloughney)

As you can see in the pictures, each Clarity has a slightly different front end, head- and tail lights, and 18-inch alloy wheels. All three also have their own “halo colors,” which we’ll try to get the names of later, since blue, green, and red probably aren’t the official monikers.

For now, here are the details Honda has shared about the new Clarity vehicles:

2018 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid Instrument Cluster

2018 Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid

  • All-electric range of 42 miles thanks to a 17-kWh battery pack, “based on Honda internal testing.” Total range is 330 miles.
  • Expected 105 MPGe on the EPA scale.
  • 1.5-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine charges the pack and can drive the wheels.
  • Electric motor offers 181 horsepower and 232 foot-pounds of torque.
  • Arrives nationwide later in 2017.
  • Two trim levels (Standard and Touring).
  • Will be the top seller in the Clarity family.

2017 Honda Clarity Electric

  • No official range yet, but the 25.5-kWH battery pack just further confirms the stories of a low, 80-mile range. SAE Combo DC Fast Charging available.
  • 161-hp electric motor puts out 221 lb.-ft. of torque
  • Expected 120/102/111 MPGe (city/highway/combined) on the EPA scale.
  • Will hit the market with lease-only programs in California and Oregon later in 2017.

Pricing is of course still a big question.  The Clarity Electric is rumored to have a price-tag around $35,000 when it launches, but given the EV’s limited release – and more limited range, we don’t expect many sales.  However, if the Clarity PHEV can keep its MSRP under $40,000, it should be decently received.

Live-Stream Debut Video (below):  Honda introduces its plug-in offerings like only it can…by hijacking the presentation to promote the new Civic Type R – “the fastest, most powerful Honda ever sold in the US”.  Seriously.

The Clarity series are not the end point – or even the demarcation of a short rest – at least for Honda’s “green” efforts.  Next up, the company will introduce a new hybrid to the U.S. in 2018, and the Clarity family is expected to contribute, “to an anticipated five-fold increase in Honda’s U.S. sales of electrified vehicles over the next four years,” according to the company’s press release. This is all part of Honda’s plan to make 66 percent of its global automobile sales be electrified in some way by 2030.

2017 Honda Clarity Electric EV

2017 Honda Clarity Electric EV

2018-Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid PHEV

2018-Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid PHEV

Interior of 2018-Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid PHEV

Interior of 2018-Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid PHEV

Lots of room in the back of the 2018 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid

Gallery (below):  Live shots of the new plug-in Clarity PHV and BEV from New York

Honda introduces the new plug-in Claritys in New York

Honda Clarity Electric (InsideEVs/Tom Moloughney)

All-New Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid At NY Auto Show Debut (Photo:
InsideEVs/Sebastion Blanco)

Inside The Honda Clarity EV

Inside The Honda Clarity EV Again

All-New Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid At NY Auto Show Debut (Photo:
InsideEVs/Sebastion Blanco)

All-New Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid At NY Auto Show Debut (Photo:
InsideEVs/Sebastion Blanco)

All-New Honda Clarity Electric (BEV) At Its NY Auto Show Debut (Photo:
InsideEVs/Sebastion Blanco)

Some EV-specific badging

Yupe, those are 18″s

Source: Honda

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43 responses to "Honda Clarity PHEV Debuts In New York With 42 Miles Electric Range, Live Stream Debut"

  1. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

    More hp from the motor than the Volt, but less torque. Hmm

    That Clarity PHEV could eat some Volt sales and take away some of the Fusion’s Energi.

    But, we’ll see. I have fears of a trunk full of battery and an engine turning on too much.

    1. Brandon says:

      Or instead of eating others it may attract current Honda customers.

    2. Mike I. says:

      Given the way that the Accord Hybrid works, I don’t think that the engine in the Clarity PHEV will start often because it has a 17kWh battery. At low speeds, the Honda dual motor hybrid system cannot directly couple the engine to the wheels. The only reason to start the engine below 45mph is to supplement the power available to the large electric motor that is driving the wheels. So, if you floor the accelerator getting on the freeway, it might start up.

    3. philip d says:

      More hp but it is also larger so performance will be similar.

      I really think GM should have done this with the Volt. Made it slightly bigger to appeal to a broader market as a midsize. This is one of the common complaints heard about the Volt, that it doesn’t have enough passenger space. It would lose range but would end up in the 40s still like the Clarity.

      The Clarity if actually marketed could potentially outsell the Volt eventually. I think the Volt is selling pretty well now because even though GM doesn’t market the Volt it has finally begun to penetrate the average consumer consciousness since it has been around now for 7 years.

  2. Bacardi says:

    Needs a MSRP of $29,995 to sell…

    1. Anderlan says:

      Agreed! Don’t count on Honda fans to fill in the gap if it can’t meet or undercut the 50+ mile Volt’s price.

      1. offib says:

        Most likely they’ll make the same mistake with the Accord PHEV by badging it as a Honda and not brand it with their upscale Acura brand?

  3. andy says:

    Wow what an ugly car and the BEV version is meant as a joke right?

    1. FFE1 says:

      ugly ugly – egads

    2. Rick says:

      Not as ugly as the LEAF, and it’s done pretty well.

      1. CLIVE says:

        Rick you might want to get an eye exam

    3. CLIVE says:

      Yep joke is on Honda

  4. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

    An EV with an ~25.5KWh pack?????……..is this April 1 2014?

    The PHEV model may sell better. It’s larger than the Volt.

  5. ClarksonCote says:

    More and more, automakers are realizing how good of a concept the Volt is.

    However, they cut corners to get there. Unlike the Volt, most alternatives need the gas engine for full power/top speed, or have batteries in the trunk space, or don’t have active cooling for the batteries, or don’t offer as much range, etc…

  6. DJ says:

    Depending on the price the PHEV version could be a pretty decent car. More size than the Volt would be nice for many and 42 miles of AER is enough for 80-90% of peoples daily driving needs.

    It’d be great if it got 80-100 miles sure but I think it would be hard to justify the extra cost and decreased efficiency in most cases.

    The whole 80 miles of the BEV model though just shows how much of a joke it is. I don’t think everyone needs a 250 mile BEV but 80 miles today seems low, especially when you realize the PHEV only has 8kw less battery! At least give the BEV like a 40kW battery or make it available as an option… 🙁

    1. Brandon says:

      Agree that 80 miles is low. IMO ~140 is the minimum range that a second car needs. I think a lot of people will go for that as their second car, and especially in the next few year. After that, with 300 mile range cars and HPFC infrastructure it’s possible to have that kind of car as an only car. And battery prices and density will allow it too.

    2. SparkEV says:

      If 80 miles EV cost as much as 150 miles EV, sure, it makes no sense. But looking at Bolt sales (or lack of) with respect to 110 miles Leaf, pricing is very much important factor. Even without EV, many (most?) households have two cars and EV households typically have at least one gas car. For them, 80 miles range EV with DCFC is good enough if it costs 1/2 to 1/5 as much.

      By the way, it seems very few outside of EV enthusiasts are aware that there are DCFC for EV other than Tesla. This might be one of the biggest reason why they don’t buy EV as the primary car. Many literally think it takes 12 hours to charge the car after going to the supermarket down the street.

  7. DurkleGT says:

    Anyone seen any shots of the PHEV trunk space? If it’s uncompromised this could be a pretty big seller…

  8. Leszek Grzyl says:

    My first EV had 17kwh battery, costed £32k and looked like poo. This have 17 kwh battery plus backup (yeah, I rather it had 4 times that and no engine but hey) . That is a good progress from traditional manufacturer.

  9. Brian says:

    I like it. Assuming it drives like a Honda, and is priced similar to the Accord, it should do very well. 40 miles AER is an excellent starting point. More is (almost) always better, but this is a respectable entry by Honda. Now I’m looking forward to seeing some on the road. When will they be in dealerships in New York?

  10. dathomir says:

    So is this based on the GM’s “Voltec Technology” as previously stated in the link below? Anyone?

    Reference Link:
    http://insideevs.com/breaking-general-motors-honda-partner-develop-future-plug-hybrids/

  11. David Murray says:

    Thumbs down to their fuel-cell and pathetic EV.

    However, I think the PHEV has potential. I think it is rather ugly, but the specs and suggested price look competitive.

    1. It seems to slot in the EV Range of its PHEV right between the Volt and the Prius Prime, but with a bigger, roomier car than both!

  12. offib says:

    So there is hope for the PHEV.

    The EV is disappointing. You’d think they could find enough space in that land-yacht to put more batteries.

    Anyways, the PHEV. It looks very promising. The 181 bhp on EV mode alone is really healthy. If it could operate like a Series/Parallel hybrid, I think we would have an industry first on our hands.

    Imagine, a hybrid where the 1.5l engine is the boost to the motors, not the other way around?

  13. jheartney says:

    One real product and two concept cars.

    Wake me when the BEV gets upgraded to 150 miles range.

  14. Lou Grinzo says:

    No to be overlooked is the big ol’ H on the grill. It’s not hard to find car buyers in the US who swore off (and at) US made cars a long time ago and wouldn’t even consider a Volt or Bolt. While the Clarity EV range is a bad joke in 2017, the PHEV will likely be a strong seller (assuming they don’t have some sort of quality or supply issues).

    Taking a step or three back, the PHEV is very good news because it broadens the options available to the public. We need as many light duty vehicles with plugs as possible. And by that I mean from as many different companies and as many different models and form factors (sedans, SUVs, etc.) as possible.

  15. Kdawg says:

    Is that seating for 3 in the back or just 2? They should put the 25.5kWh battery in the PHEV, and skip the BEV versions. Go with a 60kWh battery for the BEV on a different platform.

    It’s good to have another 40+ mile mid-size PHEV, but all comes down to the pricing.

    1. Nix says:

      3 seat belts, and 3 buckles in the back seat. The middle seat looks like it is better suited for kids or small adults. Which isn’t too unusual for a midsize sedan.

  16. Kdawg says:

    Oh, and I’m glad they put the plug port in the right spot 😀

  17. philip d says:

    I can’t seem to find anywhere what the mpg rating is after charge depletion in hybrid mode. Does anyone know or have they just not released that info yet?

    1. Neromanceres says:

      From the launch video and estimated 42mpg.

  18. mustang_sallad says:

    It’s ugly, and the BEV is kind of pathetic, but this still confirms the death of Chademo. Gen 2 Leaf might still have it alongside a CCS port, but what else is going to have Chademo in any volume outside of the Japanese market?

  19. Nix says:

    The advantage of the Clarity is that it is in the more popular “Midsize Sedan” category.

    More like if GM put the Volt drivetrain in the Chevy Malibu. This should be a good car for those folks who liked the first generation Volt, but just wanted more space inside.

    This is basically the same range as the first gen Volt, with the space that many first gen Volt buyers wanted.

    1. Bill Howland says:

      More Volt drivetrains end up in Malibu hybrids than even Volts. Too bad there is not much of a battery, nor any plug

      1. ModernMarvelFan says:

        And it still doesn’t sell…

        Despite its great gas mpg, its sales still pales compares with Sonata, Fusion and Camry hybrids…

        Chevy is a damaged brand for many people.

      2. Neromanceres says:

        The Volt outsells the Malibu Hybrid.

    2. bro1999 says:

      You realize that the Clarity PHEV is likely using GM’s Voltec powertrain, right?

      http://insideevs.com/breaking-general-motors-honda-partner-develop-future-plug-hybrids/

  20. Someone out there says:

    Nice that they didn’t just go for the minimalist 31 miles of range like everybody else.

  21. PHEVfan says:

    Seems automakers are learning what Ford figured out years ago… People want CHOICE. They don’t want to have to buy a different type of car in order to get an EV (or hybrid, or whatever) than they do to get an ICE. Give them a car with a choice of drive types and people will choose the drive type that fits them best.
    Years ago everyone was claiming that people wanted a hybrid or EV that shouted “I’m different”. Seems that was wrong or has now changed.

  22. ModernMarvelFan says:

    I want to see that PHEV trunk!!!

    The FCEV version’s trunk is a joke.

    I also hate those Honda/Acura button transmission shifter selectors!

  23. Why Not? says:

    It will be nice to have a mid-size plug-in hybrid with a decent range. I think, if priced reasonably, it will sell well. The EV is another story. The range is pathetic and it will probably languish on dealer lots until it gets discontinued or upgraded. It reminds me a little of Honda’s feeble attempts to keep up with Toyota in hybrids. They had great hopes and expectations, but their halfhearted implementation kept them hopelessly behind. I hope the same will not happen to them with EVs.

  24. Kuk says:

    Hello folks, we criplled just another EV 😉

  25. Andrew says:

    I know it’s not the most attractive car… but I kinda love it. It reminds me a of a modern Citroen XM.

    And like other commenters have said, I think if the PHEV is priced correctly, it will be a strong seller. Maybe it will convince Toyota to add more range to the Prius Prime?