November 18, 2016 at 3:04 pm by Tony Markovich | Photography by THE MANUFACTURER
At the beginning of the year, Honda said the California-only 2017 Clarity fuel-cell car would cost about $60,000 and lease for less than $500 a month. As it turns out, this is one high-tech product that’s more affordable than was anticipated. Honda just announced that 36-month leases will start at $369 per month, with $2499 plus the first payment down at signing. That’s before tax, registration, and fees.
Comparatively, that starting offer is better than the Hyundai Tucson crossover fuel-cell vehicle‘s $499 monthly cost with $2999 down, but it’s slightly more expensive than the Toyota Mirai‘s recently lowered $349 monthly price with $2499 down. It’s also better than the original FCX Clarity‘s $600 monthly price at its launch in 2008. Honda sweetens the deal for potential buyers by offering up to $15,000 of hydrogen fuel per year and a generous 20,000 mile-per-year mileage limit; both the fuel-cell Tucson and the Mirai limit lessors to 12,000 miles a year.
As of now, the Clarity is only offered in California to people located close enough to one of its 12 approved fuel-cell-vehicle dealerships: six in Southern California, five near San Francisco, and one in Sacramento. The state is encouraging the growth of hydrogen infrastructure, so more sources for refueling should be coming online during the three-year lease term. The EPA rates the Clarity at 68 MPGe with a 366-mile driving range, so drivers don’t need the filling stations to be as close together as electric-car charging points to make the vehicles useful for intercity travel. For frame of reference, a straight shot from L.A. to Las Vegas is about 270 miles.
Honda also gives Clarity lessors 24/7 roadside assistance and 21 days of Avis Luxury Rental service. Rentals would be helpful if you wanted to take a longer road trip without having to hyperplan every leg of the drive.
The 2017 Honda Clarity is slated to hit dealerships before the end of the year.