Both hydrogen and pure electric cars promise zero local emissions driving, but drawing on a fuel cell for power has its benefits, chief among which is range. The latest EPA figures for the Honda Clarity Fuel Cell have shown it will go the extra mile, with a 366 mile (589 km) rating making it the longest-range zero-emissions vehicle on the market today.
With its 366 mile rating, the Clarity has leapfrogged the pure-electric Tesla Model S P100D (315 mi/507 km) and hydrogen Toyota Mirai (300 mi/483 km) in the outright range stakes. Power comes from an electric motor making 130 kW (174 hp), fed by a new fuel cell stack that is smaller and more energy dense than the one it replaces.
Like the Toyota Fuel Cell Bus launched last week, the Clarity Fuel Cell can also be used as an emergency electric generator. Using the Power Exporter 9000, Honda says a car brimmed with hydrogen is able to power the average home for around a week.
With its big range, smooth electric motors and petrol-style refueling characteristics, the Clarity sounds like a surefire winner for people who want to switch to zero local emissions motoring. Unfortunately, a lack of infrastructure is still holding it back.
At the moment, Californian dealers are the only ones who will be selling the car to Americans, and only a few cars will make it to Europe as part of a program designed to promote the development, use and viability of hydrogen as an alternative fuel.
The Clarity Fuel Cell will go on sale in Q4 of 2016, with pricing set to kick off around US$60,000.