2017 Honda Clarity Long-Term Road Test - MPG

2017 Honda Clarity Long-Term Road Test

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2017 Honda Clarity: Monthly Update for January 2018

by Mike Schmidt, Senior Manager, Vehicle Testing Operations

2017 Honda Clarity

Where Did We Drive It?
Where we go in our 2017 Honda Clarity is still limited by the refueling network. There is a dense network of hydrogen stations near our Santa Monica offices and up to 40 miles south of us. Too far beyond that requires range-calculated planning. So we tend to keep the car in the hands of those living near headquarters.

Since our last update, we drove the Clarity over 1,700 miles and we learned a few things about the car. For one, don't count on all filling stations being open when you drive up. They are down for maintenance with some regularity. We also experienced a wiper failure and an oil change. But this car doesn't have any oil, you say. Read on for an explanation.

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2017 Honda Clarity: Monthly Update for November 2017

by Calvin Kim, Road Test Editor

2017 Honda Clarity

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.

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2017 Honda Clarity: Monthly Update for August 2017

by Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor

2017 Honda Clarity

Where Did We Drive It?
Is it a problem that our 2017 Honda Clarity spends nearly all of its time on commuter duty? Not really. That's what it was designed for, so we don't feel as if we're doing anything out of the ordinary by using it mostly for runs to and from the office. In fact, the Clarity excels at handling crowded city streets and tight parking spots, so most of our editors like taking it home at the end of the day.

As our director of vehicle testing, Dan Edmunds, mentioned last month, the limited number of hydrogen filling stations in California reduces the amount of exploring you can do in the Clarity. Its range on a full tank is significant, but it doesn't help if you can't top it off along the way. We still managed to put nearly 1,000 miles on our Clarity in August, though, so it's getting its fair share of miles.

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2017 Honda Clarity: Monthly Update for July 2017

by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing

2017 Honda Clarity

Where Did We Drive It?

Our 2017 Honda Clarity accumulated yet more commuter miles this month. Somewhere along the way, I drove it through a new psychedelic car wash near my home, but that's about as adventurous as any of us got. No one has taken it on a road trip yet, and that's probably because California's Hydrogen Highway only connects Los Angeles to San Francisco, with a short offshoot that goes to Lake Tahoe.

In other words, nothing on the hydrogen supply side has changed very much since we road-tripped our 2016 Toyota Mirai to Lake Tahoe a year ago. Sure, more stations have been added since then — we can now fill up in Santa Barbara and San Diego. However, these stations and a handful of other new additions were built to expand the pool of potential buyers by establishing more neighborhood locations that owners can use as their primary filling station.

Road-tripping potential has not increased a bit, in other words. We still cannot venture across the desert to Las Vegas or up the eastern flank of California's Sierra Nevada mountains. Non-commuting travel does not yet seem to be a priority for the California Fuel Cell Partnership, and that is going to limit the appeal of hydrogen cars such as the Clarity and the Mirai.

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2017 Honda Clarity: Monthly Update for June 2017

by Will Kaufman, Associate Automotive Editor

2017 Honda Clarity

Where Did We Drive It?

This month, our 2017 Honda Clarity handled commuter duty. Maybe someday we'll be brave enough to try a road trip, but we haven't gotten there yet. So far, the Hondanburg is proving itself a comfortable, competent and thoughtfully designed alternative to battery electric cars. Then again, we've had it for a few months, so some of the shine is starting to wear off.

Longtime readers might remember our 2016 Toyota Mirai, the only other hydrogen car on the market. In June, we published a head-to-head comparison of the two cars' track test results. It's always interesting to see how vehicles that weren't meant for track driving fare in our vehicle testers' hands.

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2017 Honda Clarity: Monthly Update for May 2017

by Mike Schmidt, Senior Manager, Vehicle Testing

2017 Honda Clarity

Where Did We Drive It?
The dearth of hydrogen fueling stations outside of the Southern California area limits the number of long trips we'll take in our 2017 Honda Clarity. As a result, the Clarity is settling into life as city dweller with the occasional longer commute thrown in the mix. This is also still just our third month owning the car, so admittedly we are getting our feet wet a bit before diving into range tests.

So far the Honda's proven itself a capable runabout. There is plenty of power for the situations we've encountered thus far. The interior fits us, too. Not just from a comfort perspective but also in the sense that it has cupholders and compartments where we want them, easy-to-use controls and an interior spaciousness we didn't expect from a car of its size. We are still getting to know the Clarity, but already it has a lot going for it.

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2017 Honda Clarity: Introduction

by Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor

2017 Honda Clarity

We've added a 2017 Honda Clarity to our long-term test fleet. It's one of only a handful of hydrogen fuel cell cars on the market today. We spent six months last year with a Toyota Mirai fuel cell sedan and were pleasantly surprised by how normal it was in day-to-day driving.

Then again, maybe we shouldn't have been that surprised. Although we call them fuel cell cars, they're really nothing more than electric cars that get their power in a different manner. Rather than storing electricity in batteries, cars such as the Clarity have a fuel cell on board that converts hydrogen into electricity.

Honda claims the Clarity is better than Toyota's Mirai in every measurable way. It's the kind of thing you expect to hear given the rivalry between the two companies, but Honda and Toyota are also two companies that have bet big on the whole idea of hydrogen fuel cells. Other competitors have decided that battery-powered electric cars are the way to go. Tesla boss Elon Musk has even gone as far as calling hydrogen cars "fool cells."

It's an issue that will be debated for many years to come. At the moment, all we can do is test what's available now. We already own a Tesla Model X and a Chevrolet Bolt, so the Clarity seemed like a logical choice.

Note that we don't actually own this vehicle. Honda only lets you lease a Clarity, and only a handful of dealerships in California stock it. Not surprisingly, there weren't many available when we started our search. After getting on a few waiting lists, the Norm Reeves Honda Superstore in Irvine was the first dealer to find one for us. There's not much negotiating to do since it's a set lease price of $369 per month. We signed the paperwork, and a dealer rep delivered the Clarity to our office and gave us a tour of its features.

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Past Long-Term Road Tests