2017 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell Has Been Driven For The First Time


The 2017 Honda Clarity is a unique vehicle mostly because it is powered by hydrogen, but despite that, it looks and drives like a 2024 Honda Accord. The next-next-generation of the midsize sedan would bring consistent dimensions, familiar, but a slightly different exterior design and improved cabin. The most futuristic element on the Clarity is the hydrogen fuel cell powertrain, which is also the reason why this model feels like a regular vehicle. The acceleration is similar to the one of an electric vehicle without noises and sensations, while the steering, handling, and braking are Accord-like.

However, the Clarity is unique considering that it incorporates a stack of fuel cells within a small metal housing where hydrogen and oxygen are combined in order to create the necessary electricity to move this car. The positive side of the Clarity is definitely that it doesn’t emit CO2 and cause smog.


Even though we put it plainly, the hydrogen fuel cell powertrain is the most complicated one you will see in a car. It is stated in the press release: “The four-phase drive, based on four SIC-IPM control phases staggered by 90 degrees, minimizes the ripple current by canceling the current fluctuations generated by switching. This reduces the capacitance requirement for smoothing of ripple current, so a smaller capacitor is used on the primary side.”

There are so many elements that were developed for the new Fuel Cell Voltage Control Unit which increases normalness of the car. Meanwhile, you have an old electric motor, gearbox and power control unit under the hood of the car, but the fuel cell is located vertically between the front seats while the giant hydrogen tank takes space in the trunk. This layout means that the passenger’s compartment and usability are reduced to a minimum for the sake of the powertrain.


In order to install the new compact fuel cell, all the elements under the hood had to be titled forward 90 degrees. There is still a small lithium-ion battery pack under the front seats, but the driving position remains at the normal height, five seats, which is an improvement compared to the last Clarity model that had one seat fewer, and standard center console.

The 2017 Honda Clarity comes with the H70 which compresses hydrogen to 10,000 psi whereas the old model used H35 hydrogen compressed to 5,000 psi. Even though the new model is equipped with two smaller tanks, one of which is under the back seat and another one in the trunk, it can haul around more H2. This has a negative influence on cargo space, but the car still comes with 11.8 cubic feet of space.

In addition, the engineers installed the new electrically driven turbo air compressor which distributes oxygen into the fuel cell. Because of this, the acceleration noise has been reduced, and even though it is powered by hydrogen, it is hard to distinguish it from an electric vehicle when it comes to this aspect. On the road, you can choose “Sport” button if you want advanced regenerative braking, which is, unfortunately, not in the level of Tesla’s. You can enjoy silence inside the cabin, while the steering is appropriately weighted and smooth both on highways and in the city. The curb weight of the 2017 Clarity is 4,134 pounds.


The cabin is just marvelous, and it contains the highest-quality materials, and it is arguably better than any interior in Honda family, including the Acura NSX’s. The floating center console is spot-on together with the suede cloth, while the open pore wood trim is located on the dashboard. Despite the fact that Honda used its standard touchscreen infotainment system, it fits perfectly into the new futuristic cabin of the Clarity.

2017 Honda Clarity Price

As expected, the 2017 Honda Clarity is expensive mostly because it comes with a hydrogen powertrain. The starting price of the fully loaded vehicle is $58,490, but you can only lease it, which means that every month you would have to pay $369 and $2,868 when you signed a contract. If you decide to buy this car, you will get 20,000 miles per year, $15,000 worth of free hydrogen and a $5,000 tax rebate from the state of California which is the only state where this car is offered. Just for comparison, for the Toyota Mirai, you would have to pay $2,499 at signing and $349 per month with a 12,000-mile limit granted. However, the tax rebate and free hydrogen are also offered, but the Clarity is better to drive, it is bigger, and it has premium materials, so it is worth it.

However, the whole process of creating H2 is complicated since it has to be separated from another substance and just to be sure, Honda will release a Clarity EV and Clarity Plug-In Hybrid later this year, which will be more attractive than the Clarity Fuel Cell Vehicle.