Honda Clarity fuel cell TMS-5

Honda’s first production hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicle has been named – the Clarity Fuel Cell, as it’s called, made its official world debut at the 44th Tokyo Motor Show moments earlier.

We already have full details about the spiritual successor to the FCX Clarity, a lease-only hydrogen-powered vehicle that was introduced in 2007. The car is set to begin lease sales in Japan next March, when it will take the fight to the Toyota Mirai

The Clarity Fuel Cell, previewed in unnamed but full working form at the 2015 Honda Meeting in Japan a few days ago, is essentially a dressed-down, showroom version of the FCV Concept shown in Los Angeles last year, and the stats for the car largely follow the numbers announced for the initial study.

To recap, the production vehicle measures in at 4,895 mm long, 1,875 mm wide and 1,475 mm tall, which makes it a shade larger than the FCX Clarity (4,845 x 1,845 x 1,470 mm). As noted during the preview, the car is visually arresting, even if a bit gangly-looking, though arguably the lines are easier on the eye than the Mirai.

Honda Clarity fuel cell TMS-13

As previously reported, the car features a new Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC) stack that is 33% smaller than before (but weighing much the same as previously, according to the Honda engineers).

This reduction is stack packaging size means the car’s entire hydrogen powertrain can now be consolidated under the bonnet, freeing up space to present a full five-seat interior, which is one more than the Mirai (and for that matter, the Clarity). The company says that both the technical package and skeleton structure of the car has significant promise of deployment on other models down the line.

Despite the reduction is size, power output is up, the motor in the Clarity Fuel Cell good for 130 kW at 500 volts, which is up from the 100 kW at 300 volts produced by the FCX Clarity. Its output density of 3.1 kW per litre, meanwhile, betters the Clarity’s 1.85 kW per litre by a staggering 60%. Torque is also up, with 300 Nm of twist compared to the 256 Nm on the Clarity.

Operating range has also been improved significantly. The FCX Clarity could do around 570 km, courtesy of a 35 MPa hydrogen tank. The Clarity Fuel Cell is claimed to be able to do more than 700 km, thanks to a larger 70 MPa high-pressure hydrogen tank, which can be refilled in just three minutes, about the same as a regular petrol fill-up.

Honda Clarity fuel cell TMS-1

Despite the sizeable tank, there’s still enough in the way of boot space to take three golf bags, and Honda says it has the largest boot in its class. As mentioned in our preview report, no sacrifice to rear seat space, and the Clarity Fuel Cell is quite roomy – the light tone of the interior trim obviously does its bit too in adding a better perception of volumetric scope.

Aside from the name, some new details were revealed today at the launch – the Clarity Fuel Cell will be priced at 7.66 million yen, and for the first year of sales, Honda will focus on selling the car mainly to local government bodies or business customers who have already been working with the automaker to popularise FCVs.

The Clarity Fuel Cell will be available in three colours, Premium Brilliant Garnet Metallic, which is seen on the show car, White Orchid Pearl (on the preview models) and Crystal Black Pearl. All three shades will feature an interior finished in Platinum Gray.


Honda Clarity Fuel Cell preview, 2015 Honda Meeting