It was in April of last year when Honda first revealed plans that it was planning to build a plug-in hybrid version of the Clarity. There will also be an all-electric one. Recently, Automotive News reported initial details with regards to the electric version. According to the said report, the EV version of the Clarity is estimated to have a maximum range, on a single charge, of 80 miles (129 km).
Honda however said that this is not due to any disadvantage related to engineering but rather to factors that were made when the project was started. In particular, there were two considerations that needed to be met without question. The first focuses on the physical size of this variant given that it has the same architecture as that of two versions under the Clarity range. The second important parameter was that the final production car should have a cost of at most $35,000, before any government incentives or tax credits.
Honda has always been about affordability and coming out with a long-range electric car that comes at a high price is not something the brand would want. This was the statement released by Honda of America Vice President of Environmental Business Development Steve Center to Automotive News. He added that if that happened, many of its customers would not be able to buy it.
Indeed, when Honda first broached that idea of an EV variant of the Clarity, it assured customers that it will be an affordable model. Even then, it will be fitted with premium features and content. This could refer to the fact that Honda models are compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It may also mean that it will have the Honda Sensing driver assistance systems, as this is likely to be included as standard not only for the EV but also for the PHEV version.
Despite the rather short estimated range, looking at the current market, it appears that Honda has a very good position. Considering the price and the size, the Clarity EV seems to have tough competition. Both the Model S and the Model X from Tesla for example may offer more space but they are rather expensive. An affordable option could be the Chevrolet Bolt but there is the issue of size. The new Nissan Leaf could be both cheap and small at the same time. In the middle of this all, in terms of equipment, size, and price, stands the Ioniq EV from Hyundai.
In the previous announcement, Honda had said that it expects both the PHEV and EV variants to go on sale in the U.S. market within the year. When this happens, the Clarity will go on record as the first model to offer a plug-in hybrid powertrain and an electric powertrain.