Two years ago at the LA Auto Show, Honda showed off the first concept for what we now know is the Clarity fuel cell vehicle. At the time, Honda said it would arrive at some point in 2015. Since then, Honda has said simply that the Clarity would arrive some time after the March 2016 on-sale date in Japan and even gave itself an out in case the debut slipped to the first half of 2017. Yesterday, at a preview event at the Honda Advanced Design Studio in downtown LA, Honda narrowed that down a bit more to, “late 2016.”
Honda representatives said this was all still in line with internal targets for the US launch of the car. They already know when the car will arrive here, but are not yet able to say, since things like crash tests and other homologation issues could still change the timeline. The company is happy to see the expansion in the number of hydrogen refueling stations in California and is working a number of dealers in the Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay Area to get them ready to sell the Clarity. Everything that has happened since the company officially set its internal fuel cell clock has been going to plan, Honda representatives told AutoblogGreen. Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles from Hyundaiand Toyota are available now, while those from other automakers (like BMW and Nissan) may arrive in or after 2020.
Honda still won’t confirm, on the record, that an all-electric model will be the third vehicle to use the platform that the Clarity and the upcoming plug-in hybrid (due in 2018) use, as we suspect. But, during a casual discussion about Honda happenings, I heard one executive say that he’s busy working on the follow-up “products” that will use the platform, so this remains something to keep in mind.