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Can Honda's hydrogen-powered Clarity Fuel Cell go mainstream?With 366 miles of emissions-free range, quick fill ups and solid performance and tech, there's just one thing holding Honda's second generation hydrogen fuel cell vehicle back.
[MUSIC] This is the 2017 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell. It's the followup to Honda's FCX Clarity. And like that vehicle, this runs silently on hydrogen gas. The only tailpipe omission is dihydrogen oxide. Don't panic people, it's H2O, literally pure water. Hundreds are working to advance the technology and efficiency even the clarity more range than ever before and better [UNKNOWN] comfort, the [UNKNOWN] that this would be the vehicle that finally makes hydrogen driving accessible to regular people like you and me. [UNKNOWN] claim to the test but first let's take a closer look and see exactly how it works. [MUSIC] Now the EPA reckons that the Clarity's hydrogen tank will take you about 366 miles before you need to fill up again. Honda likes to point out that that's about 40 miles more than the primary competitor to this vehicle, the new Toyota Mirai. The Clarity also has the advantage of being what seems like a significantly larger vehicle. It's got more space for people and things. This is also a five seater, where the Mirai is only a four seater. However, for now the Mirai does seem to have the price advantage. It's expected to come in a couple thousand dollars less expensive than this, what we think's gonna be a $60,000 car. [MUSIC] Toyota has also stated that it will be subsidising the operating costs of the Myaree, giving away free hydrogen for the first three years. Now Honda hasn't explicitly stated that they're going to do the same, but they did tell me that they're gonna be competitive with the Lincoln and Nudge. So I'm thinking we're going to hear something about that soon. [MUSIC] On the road, the clarity is, well, a little bit unremarkable, but that's partially by design, and partially because what I've driven Driven a lot of electric cars and this is basically an electric car with a different let's say battery technology stored in the [UNKNOWN]. Now if you haven't driven an electric car, the first thing you'll notice is how quiet this is. It's significantly. Quieter than any gasoline or hybrid vehicle that I've ever driven. A little louder than an electric car because you've got pumps that are sending hydrogen to the front and air intakes and things like that. But it is still remarkably quiet. [MUSIC] The other thing that you'll notice is the immediacy and linearity of the electric power train. Now, electric cars do rely heavily on their torque. And do tend to feel like they're giving you more than they say they are. And this does feel like a little bit more than the state at 221 pound [INAUDIBLE]. [MUSIC] Now around the cabin, we've got a lot of standard fair Honda stuff with a little bit of an eco-sheen to it. Down here, we've got the push button shifter that's similar to the one we saw in the Honda Pilot. And just above it, we've got a sport button. When you push that, it doesn't transform the Clarity into a sports car but what it does is sharpen up your throttle response And boost the regenerative breaking when you life to sort of simulate the engine breaking you get with a gasoline car. It also means that the electric turbo charger shoving air into that fuel cell comes a little bit earlier. And if you really step on it you can kinda hear it whooshing around up there. You may not hear it but I've been having a lot of fun it this week. And just above it we've got the Honda infotainment system that's similar to the one we saw in the Honda Civic and the HRV except for at eight inches large this is probably the biggest unit that Honda makes and it's looking more and more like a tablet every time we see it. [MUSIC] Behind it we got a recycled micro suede dashboard that's made out of plastics that have been reclaimed and over here in front of me, we have the full digital instrument cluster. In the middle there's a digital speedometer and a power meter on the right there's your hydrogen fuel tank gauge and on the left there is a battery meter but like any other non-plug in. In hybrid vehicle you can't really do anything about that but watch it go up when you brake and go down when you're stopping through traffic. It's kind of just there for your information. Here's a good place to mention that the clarity fuel cells does not have any options. Everything we're talking about here is. Is a standard feature. The only choice you really get to make is what color it's gonna be and even then it's just white, red or black. But that means that all of the drive [UNKNOWN] features we're about to talk about are standard. They don't come in an options package. They don't cost extra. Or anything else like that. That means things like Honda's lane watch camera, which will show a view into the blind spot on the right side of the car when that turn signal is activated or you push a button on the steering wheel stalk. We've also got Honda's adaptive cruise control system which will maintain a safe driving distance behind the car in front of you at highway speed. It also works in stop and go traffic, so when you're in We're in a traffic jam, it'll hold a safe distance, so you don't have to keep going gas, brake, gas brake in gridlock. We also have Honda's lane departure prevention system, which will add a little bit of steering input to keep you from drifting out of your lane, that's also very helpful. [MUSIC] Now, as far as being the vehicle to bring hydrogen to regular people like you and me, I think the Clarity does sort of succeed. From the driver's seat, it feels like a regular car, like any other hybrid or gasoline that I've ever driven. Except for that it's quiet and green like an electric car. And, if you live close enough to a filling station, the sort of filling up and driving around in this car is not going to require very much change to your daily routine. But then there's the issue of, is there a filling station near you? Filling your [UNKNOWN] is not much different from filling a gasoline car, except there's a high pressure hookup that accepts the hydrogen under the flap there. It takes about 5 minutes to put 5 kilograms of hydrogen into the two tanks, one behind the back seat and one underneath. The fuel then comes to the fuel cell stack here under the hood, which is smaller than before and integrated with the electric power [UNKNOWN]. The whole kit Is a little bit smaller than the Accord's V6. The electric power is then sent to the front wheels. It gets about 174 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque. The last piece of the puzzle is the lithium ion battery pack that sort of acts as a buffer for the regenerative braking and they hydrogen system when you're idling [MUSIC] In hydrogen's favor, the automaker is working with the federal government to establish a network of hydrogen filling stations on the east coast to expand the clarity's reach, but on the other hand, even Honda's hedging it's bet The Clarity Fuel Cell is the first three Clarity vehicle. It'll be joined next year by a battery electric version and the plugged in gasoline electric high breed. [MUSIC]