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Sweet lady H: Honda's hydrogen Clarity arrives in California this year

The Japanese automaker will start out leasing, eventually offering the vehicles for sale once the hydrogen infrastructure is better fleshed out.

Honda, Wieck

Hopefully, the Clarity's handsome design language makes its way to other vehicles in Honda's lineup.

Tim Stevens/CNET

Right now, the only place in the United States that can reasonably support hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) is California. Toyota launched the Mirai there, and Hyundai did the same with its Tucson Fuel Cell. Now, there's another H-gobbling car headed yonder Cali way -- the Honda Clarity Fuel Cell.

From the floor of the Washington, D.C., Auto Show, Honda is finally dishing out some deets on its forthcoming FCEV. The car is projected to land in California before the end of 2016, but it will be limited to areas with decent hydrogen infrastructure in place, including Los Angeles County, Orange County, Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area.

Furthermore, the car will only be available with a lease, at least to start. Honda's targeting a monthly rate under $500, which is in line with the Mirai and Tucson Fuel Cell (both lease for $499 a month at the moment). However, while Toyota and Hyundai are sweetening the deal by including free fuel, it doesn't appear that Honda is doing the same.

Eventually, as both infrastructure and demand grow, the car will be offered for sale like any other. Right now, the pricing is expected to hover around $60,000 -- again, that's near the competition. Range is just an estimate for now, but Honda hopes to achieve a full-tank distance of more than 300 miles.

In terms of safety and creature-comfort additions, the Clarity can be outfitted like any other Honda on the market. Available equipment includes LED exterior lighting, fancy alloy wheels and both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone connectivity. Buyers can also opt for the Honda Sensing suite of active safety systems, which includes forward collision warning with automated emergency braking, lane-departure mitigation and adaptive cruise control.

Hydrogen won't be the only way Honda fans can get into a car with electric motors. A new Accord Hybrid is coming later this year, and some time before 2018, the automaker will use the Clarity Fuel Cell's platform to create an all-new, plug-in hybrid model.