The Honda Clarity is, by most measures, one of the most efficient electrified cars on the market. It offers more than 80 km of range, an amazing driving experience, incredible comfort and a build quality that is beyond reproach.
But all those qualities couldn’t save it in the end. Honda has announced it will end production of the Clarity later this year. Japan's Nikkei newspaper was the first to report the news and Honda's U.S. division followed with an official statement.
“With a commitment to carbon neutrality by 2050, Honda has set a target to make 100% of our vehicle sales battery electric (BEV) or fuel cell electric (FCEV) by 2040. We are evolving our strategy with a focus on increased application of our two-motor hybrid system to core models in advance of the introduction of our first volume BEV models in 2024. Consistent with this strategy, Honda will conclude production of the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid and Clarity Fuel Cell in August 2021.”
What Honda’s statement doesn't go into us is that sales of the vehicle never took off, with its widely panned design the main culprit in the eyes of many. OK, let’s be direct and call its look atrocious. If Honda had integrated the technology underpinning the Clarity into its more popular and stylish CR-V, the automaker may have had a gangbuster on its hands. Unfortunately, this kind of debatable decision-making has been all too common at Honda in recent years. Here’s hoping things improve going forward.
The current Honda Clarity debuted in late 2015 with a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain. Plug-in hybrid and fully electric versions followed (other markets in the latter case).
From January to May of this year, Honda sold 1,896 Clarity models in the United States. In Canada, only 137 units have been sold since January 1. The best year was 2019 when 911 Clarity found takers here. Those are not numbers that will keep a model alive.
Looking ahead, recall that Honda has announced plans to partner with General Motors on development of two electric models, which will bring the company closer to its goal of 100 percent of its sales consisting of electrified models by 2040.