Honda has updated its hydrogen fuel-cell-powered Clarity sedan for the 2020 model year.
Honda's hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle experiment in the US continues, with the Japanese automaker announcing this week a series of tweaks to make the 2020 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell a bit more livable. The car remains available for lease in just a select few California markets, including the Los Angeles County and Orange County areas, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Sacramento.
Despite the hydrogen-powered Clarity's supremely limited availability, Honda has invested some $14 million in California's hydrogen refueling network, expanding the state's number of commercial hydrogen refueling stations to nearly 40.
Honda says refueling the Clarity Fuel Cell takes about 3 to 5 minutes at any station running 70 kPa of pressure. That's longer than it takes to refuel your average light-duty gasoline car, but substantially less time than recharging a battery-electric vehicle.
For 2020, the Honda Clarity Fuel Cell gets improved cold-weather startup performance, black-painted heated side mirrors, and an improved Audible Vehicle Alert System, or AVAS. The AVAS is essential for helping pedestrians hear the zero-emission Clarity coming at low speeds, as without any sort of traditional internal combustion engine onboard, the car is virtually silent until it picks up some speed. A US regulation passed in 2018 will require all new "quiet" hybrids, EVs, and fuel-cell vehicles to have such a system from September 2020.
Additionally, the 2020 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell sees the model's Bordeaux Red exterior paint replaced with Crimson Pearl, and Platinum White examples now come standard with a brown-hued interior.
The 2020 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell leases at $379 per month for 36 months with $2,878 due at signing, although it's worth noting that that price includes vehicle maintenance and insurance, plus up to $15,000 in hydrogen fuel. The vehicle is also eligible for single-occupant High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane use with a California Clean-Air Vehicle sticker, and customers might be eligible for a $5,000 state tax rebate.
Cars like the Honda Clarity Fuel Cell, Toyota Mirai, and Hyundai Nexo demonstrate that many automakers still believe hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles could constitute a meaningful portion of tomorrow's zero-emission vehicle market. Such vehicles deliver several notable benefits over today's battery-electric vehicles, including significantly faster refueling and, generally, more driving range.