2017 Honda Clarity: Monthly Update for November 2017
by Calvin Kim, Road Test Editor
Where Did We Drive It?
It takes time to adopt any new technology and learn the ins and outs of using it. And that was the idea for the 2017 Honda Clarity long-term car. Having our staff get more experience with the operation and fueling process of a hydrogen vehicle is important. All the whirring, pumping noises from the fuel cell stack and foibles at the gas station ensure our editors get some experience with this rare power system, and we in turn can let readers know when it's ready for prime time.
Most months, we get a few tank-fulls of data to let you know what the fuel economy is like. But for November, our car only moved 323 miles and experienced two fills.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
Our two fills this month totaled 5.49 kilograms of hydrogen for 323 miles of driving. That's a monthly average of 57.9 miles per kilogram (mpkg) of hydrogen, which is still less than the EPA rating.
Average lifetime mpkg: 59.2
EPA mpkg rating: 67 combined (68 city/66 highway)
Best fill mpkg: 69.8
Best range: 269.9 miles
Current odometer: 6,393 miles
Maintenance and Upkeep
"Talk about range anxiety! I left last night with 95 miles remaining. When I left my house this morning, I had 83. By the time I filled up, it was down to 70. I tried to fill up at a local station, but it was out of fuel, even though the California Fuel Cell Partnership Station Map said that it was up and running. Not super accurate, obviously.
"This morning, I had to enlist Rex to help get it filled and it still took us about 30 minutes to figure the whole thing out. Rex and I had a hell of a time trying to get the pump to work. First, we couldn't get the nozzle to latch. When we did, the pump would just stop and we'd have to start the whole process over again. We tried both H35 and H70 settings (hydrogen pressure), and both settings would sort of half fill then stop. Between us both, we spent around $50 to fill the car back up.
"All in all, the infrastructure for this vehicle is just not there yet. I'd much rather have range anxiety in an electric vehicle than one that runs on hydrogen. I also had visions of the nozzle flying off at high velocity and the Hindenburg disaster as we filled up. It's going to take a lot more than a free fuel card to get people to really adopt this technology. That being said, it's neat to play with." — Abigail Bassett, senior director, video & social media
"One thing of note that drives me absolutely crazy is the high-pitched hum that's present from the moment you switch the car on. I noticed it even with music going and over wind noise. On a long road trip, this would drive me bonkers and I imagine that it would drive everyone in the car insane too." — Abigail Bassett