Honda announces its next-generation Clarity fuel-cell vehicle will begin at $60,000 when it goes on sale late this year in California.
That’s above the $57,500 price of Toyota’s Mirai FCV, on sale since October in California, but below the roughly $64,000 the car costs in Japan, where it debuted at the Tokyo Motor Show last fall.
Honda doesn’t have its lease price set on the Clarity, but promises it will be below $500.
The Mirai, as well as Hyundai’s Tucson FCV, are available for lease in California for $499 per month, with Toyota asking buyers to put $3,649 down on the Mirai and Hyundai requiring $2,999 down for the Tucson.
The Clarity, with a projected range of more than 300 miles (483 km) on a tank of hydrogen, is roomier than the Mirai, being a 5-seat sedan while the Mirai only seats four.
Not surprisingly, as Hyundai and Toyota do, Honda will limit sales of the Clarity to the California regions with the best expected hydrogen refueling infrastructure: Los Angeles and Orange counties, as well as the San Francisco and Sacramento regions.
Leases will take priority initially, with sales slated for when there is higher demand and better hydrogen infrastructure, the automaker says.
Honda and Toyota both have pledged funds to FirstElement Fuel to speed the construction of the hydrogen stations in California.
John Mendel, executive vice president-American Honda, told WardsAuto last week he is unconcerned by the current low number of stations open to the public and believes the situation will rectify itself by year end. There are fewer than a dozen publicly accessible refueling stations open now in California, a situation that has caused Toyota to temporarily halt deliveries of its Mirai in certain regions of the state.
Roughly 50 stations seeking permits are set to open by late this year.
Meanwhile, Honda says the Clarity will be the basis for its new 50-state plug-in hybrid, set to launch by 2018.
Honda says the new PHEV will have more than triple the 13-mile (21-km) electric range of its discontinued Accord PHEV.