2009 Honda FCX Clarity Overview

FCX Clarity

Looking for a Used FCX Clarity in your area?

CarGurus has thousands of nationwide listings and the tools to find you a great deal.

ZIP:

2009 Honda FCX Clarity Overview

Spewing water vapor rather than noxious exhaust, the 2009 Honda FCX Clarity arrives in the summer of 2008 as the first-ever stand-alone production fuel-cell vehicle. Though other fuel-cell vehicles exist (think Chevy Equinox), they are built from existing platforms, and their components are much heavier and less efficient than those in the Clarity.

The powertrain setup in this front-wheel-drive sedan relies on an electric motor, which gets its juice from the V-Flow fuel-cell stack. Standing for vertical flow, the V-Flow design allows for a smaller, more economic setup and for cold weather starts. The fuel cell stack takes hydrogen from the rear tank and mixes it with air to power the motor. A backup lithium ion battery provides supplemental power. Together, they produce 136 hp and more than 189 ft-lbs of torque at very low RPMs. The one-speed "D" gear allows you to accelerate from 0-60 in 9 seconds. Honda has tweaked this layout since the Clarity debuted as a concept FCX in 2005, in order to produce a more streamlined car. The fuel stack is 400 pounds lighter, and Honda ditched the two-tank hydrogen setup for one 5,000-psi tank (the Equinox has two tanks totaling 10,000 psi). This actually holds more hydrogen and is more cost efficient. The sedan can run 270 miles on one tank, averaging 68 miles per kilogram (roughly equivalent to one tank of gas).

By putting the motor up front, the fuel-cell stack under the seats, and the tank just in front of the rear wheels, the 2009 FCX Clarity can be given a more cab-forward profile and maintain a spacious interior and 13-cubic-foot trunk - unusual for a fuel-cell car. The long windshield that sweeps almost back to the rear seats lends a bullet-like appearance to the sedan. Honda has also focused on giving the Clarity a quiet, smooth ride by putting it on a double wishbone suspension. Though the fuel-cell stack/electric motor give out an identifiable whine at first, once at cruising speed, the Clarity quiets down.

Inside, you'll feel like you're in any other Honda. Power features, adapative cruise control, a CD player and remote entry are all standard. Top-notch safety features include six airbags, ABS brakes, and traction and stability control. Extending its eco-friendly profile, even the cloth seats are made from recycled fermented corn, and the climate control is delivered through the seats so as to be more a more efficient use of energy.

The drawbacks to the world's first fuel-cell car? Cost and lack of filling stations. Honda is addressing the cost issue right now by offering the 2009 FCX Clarity only as a leased vehicle, for $600 a month. And these will be available only in parts of Southern California, since this is the location of the few hydrogen stations in the U.S. (the car can also be leased in Japan). Though Honda is working on innovations such as home refueling stations, the Clarity has a long way to go before it becomes a common sight on the road. But early reviews agree it's an impressive first step.

Updated

What's your take on the 2009 Honda FCX Clarity?

Have you driven a 2009 Honda FCX Clarity?  
Rank This Car
FCX Clarity

Looking for a Used FCX Clarity in your area?

CarGurus has thousands of nationwide listings and the tools to find you a great deal.

ZIP:
Have questions?   Ask a question

Honda FCX Clarity Questions

There aren't any questions yet. Ask the first question!