Honda‘s next-generation fuel cell car is coming to America soon.
The automaker has confirmed to AutoGuide.com that the new Clarity fuel cell model, which debuted at the Tokyo Motor Show recently, will be made available to customers in the U.S. next year. Honda did not, however, confirm if the car will be available for purchase or, alternatively, as a lease offering, like what is being offered in Japan.
The Clarity marks Honda’s second production fuel cell model, with the FCX Clarity produced from 2008 to 2014. During that period, Honda leased just 46 of the cars to customers. The low take-rate is attributed mostly to the lack of hydrogen fueling stations.
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“Certainly there is an infrastructure challenge,” admits Jeff Conrad, senior VP and general manager of American Honda Motor Co., who said Honda is working to combat that by joining other automakers in the H2USA initiative that works to advance fuel cell adoption. The goal is to develop a proper hydrogen fueling infrastructure in the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas.
Still, Honda isn’t putting all its eggs in one basket. “We don’t believe that in the future there is one vehicle that will define where the industry is,” he said, but he did re-confirm Honda’s position that hydrogen fuel cells are a part of it. “We’re at the forefront of leading that charge.”
The second-generation Clarity makes use of a fuel cell stack that’s 33 percent smaller but 60 percent more efficient. Roughly the size of a conventional V6 engine, it can fit under the hood rather than under the seats or in the trunk. “This is a car that will meet everybody’s needs,” said Conrad.
Honda claims the emissions-free Clarity can travel up to 435 miles on a tank of hydrogen and be refilled in roughly the same amount of time as a conventional gasoline car: three minutes.
The Clarity will make its U.S. debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show on November 18th.