2016 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell ? We Drive It Photo:
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Connor Stephenson | Nov, 05 2015 | 2 Comments

Honda’s big announcement at the Tokyo Motor Show last week was its new hydrogen-powered, zero-emission car, the Clarity Fuel Cell.

We were lucky enough to drive it before the covers came off.

Off-the-line performance from the new, full-sized sedan version of Clarity - a genuine five-seater with a boot big enough for three golf bags - was typical of EVs, with all of its 300Nm of torque available from idle.

That torque figure is up an impressive 70 percent on the last Clarity, the world’s first FCV effectively, while power is also up 30 percent at 130kW. This comes from an engine that can rev to a mind-bending 13,000rpm.

Theoretical range has also been extended to an impressive 700km.

The really clever bit of engineering in the fuel-cell department, however, has been a miniaturisation effort, which has seen the Power Control Unit shrunk to now be the same size as a Honda V6, and able to comfortably fit in a normal sedan engine bay.

This has freed up space beneath the passenger cell, where the batteries still sit. The two hydrogen tanks, each made of carbon fibre, sit under the rear seat.

The almost conventional layout makes for excellent packaging, a low centre-of-gravity and a car that feels just like any other, with a whisper quiet power delivery that rises to a pleasant jet-engine-like whine as you plant the throttle.

The Clarity Fuel Cell, which looks starkly modern and infinitely better than the model it replaces, will go on sale in Japan in March 2016 for a hefty AU$89,000, although most of them will be lease vehicles.

Honda has also developed its own Smart Hydrogen Stations - measuring just 3m by 2.5m - which can produce hydrogen from pressurised water through electrolysis: something owners will find useful while infrastructure is still minimal.

MORE: Honda | Hydrogen | Green Vehicles

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