Honda Clarity FCV to fetch around $60,000 in US

Honda Clarity FCV to fetch around $60,000 in US

Honda has announced US pricing and launch details for its Clarity Fuel Cell sedan, unveiled late last year in Tokyo.

The hydrogen-powered car is expected to fetch ‘around’ $60,000 when it arrives in California. Early adopters will only be able to lease the FCV, with costs targeted at below $500 per month.

“The company … expects to move to retail sales with increased volumes and market coverage coincident with increasing vehicle supplies and the growing hydrogen refueling station network,” Honda noted in its announcement.

Hyundai’s Tucson Fuel Cell has been available in California for nearly two years, while the Toyota Mirai first landed in the state last July. Sales of both FCVs have been low, wether from insufficient supplies or limited demand. The California Fuel Cell Partnership currently lists just seven public hydrogen refueling stations open across the entire state, two of which are currently ‘offline’ for both H35 and H70.

Many California FCV owners have complained that certain stations are frequently down for maintenance, sometimes for weeks or longer. With only a few stations spread across the entire state, the persistent reliability problems make hydrogen-powered vehicles essentially useless, if temporarily, for owners that are forced to drive dozens of miles across notoriously traffic-jammed cities just to fill the tank.

Toyota has attempted to reassure owners by promising to commission temporary hydrogen stations, placed at eight dealers across the state. Notably, the mobile equipment will only be capable of filling at H35 pressures — shutting off when the tank is just half full.

Honda promises to deliver its first limited batch of Clarity Fuel Cell sedans before the end of the year. The already-struggling hydrogen technology will face increasing pressure from next-generation EVs in 2017, including the Tesla Model 3 and Chevrolet Bolt, as lower battery prices pave the way for cheaper long-range models. Honda’s Clarity FCV platform will be shared with a new plug-in hybrid vehicle slated for 2018, providing a potential hedge against hydrogen.

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