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2012 Honda FCX Clarity Overview
Southern California now has something else going for it besides sun and sand: Clarity. Honda’s bold foray into zero-emission hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles is available exclusively in Southern California on a lease-only basis…for now.
Since the introduction of the FCX Clarity in 2008, Honda has been working to make this futuristic vehicle lighter, cheaper and more efficient; however, the 2012 model sees no significant changes.
This is what is known as a Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle—in which hydrogen is turned into electricity in the fuel cell, stored in the battery or distributed through the power drive unit to the electric motor. The car has a 240-mile range, and the only thing emitted from its tailpipe is a drip of H2O.
But here’s the catch: You can’t fill up at the corner gas station. That’s why Honda is still hand-picking all its applicants from a very small radius that are near hydrogen fueling stations in So Cal (the units are also available in Japan) for a two-year lease.
If you do manage to get your hands on one, reports are you will be satisfied. The electric motor makes 134 hp and has 189 lb-ft of torque, a reasonable amount of pep. The crescent shape of the car is eye-catching, and the aluminum front end is distinctive. Currently, the only color available is a deep crimson dubbed Star Garnet Metallic.
Inside, the latest technology is on hand, with 3-D Tron-like gauges offsetting an otherwise unremarkable dash and center stack. In keeping with its eco-friendly vibe, a “significant percentage” of the seating material is derived from plants, according to the website. Covered in Honda Bio-Fabric rather than faux leather, Honda promises these seats are durable and comfortable.
Here’s another cool (green) thing: The fuel cell can power your home for 6 days. An inverter was attached to an FCX in Japan and was able to supply up to 9kW continuously. In the future, we may be able to hook these up to the smart grid and give and take excess energy. (All we need it to do next is fly.)
Honda plans on rolling out the FCX Clarity worldwide in 2015, when the company feels there will be enough hydrogen refueling stations to support it. Until then, as Clint Eastwood once said, “Are you feeling lucky?”