2018 Honda Clarity family is coming to Canada

Honda is jumping on the electric vehicle bandwagon with its all-new Clarity lineup

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Honda’s Clarity fuel-cell vehicle, once a California-only endeavour, is now getting some company in the form of two new electric vehicles, both of which will be grouped under the Clarity nameplate.

What is it? Honda will bring a plug-in electric vehicle and a battery-only powered vehicle, saying it will target U.S. sales of 75,000 Clarity vehicles in the first four model years. The plug-in is expected to travel 68 kilometres in electric mode, but have a total range of 531 kilometres. The battery-only car, the Clarity Electric, is expected to achieve 130 kilometres of range before needing a recharge. The plug-in hybrid uses a 1.5-litre Atkinson cycle four-cylinder engine to generate electricity. Power comes from a 181-horsepower electric motor, producing 232 lb.-ft. of torque and drawing power from both the gasoline engine and a 17-kilowatt hour (kWh) battery pack with a recharge time of 2.5 hours at 240 volts.

Why does it matter? Honda has been slow to jump on the electric vehicle bandwagon, but the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid offers a unique car: a large sedan with seating for five and a reasonable price tag of about US$35,000. In Canada, the car is likely to be closer to $40,000 as Honda is stressing the affordability of its two new electrics.

When is it coming? Honda sees the battery-electric going on sale in California and Oregon later this year, followed by the plug-in. Canada could see Clarity models by spring next year.

Should you buy it? The range of electric vehicles and plug-in electrics is expanding quickly, and the first-model-year vehicles tend to be followed by greater efficiencies down the road. Early adopters of Honda’s electric vehicles will no doubt be greeted by the same consistent quality seen across all its cars, but other automakers will have models that are better looking.

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