The Clarity is the first step toward Honda's plan of electrifying two-thirds of its global fleet by 2030.

Honda has some seriously ambitious plans when it comes to the electrification of its lineup in the future, and the unveiling this week of the Clarity series at the New York auto show is proof the automaker is serious.

An entire Clarity family is being developed, and will feature a fuel cell model, a battery electric model, and a plug-in hybrid, though Canada will only be getting the PHEV - for now, at least.

The Clarity is the first step toward Honda's plan of electrifying two-thirds of its global fleet by 2030.

The plug-in Clarity is expected to launch in Canada late this year, likely in the winter. While a lot of specifications aren't yet solidified, Honda expects the PHEV to have an all-electric range of 68 kilometres, which the company says is the longest of any plug-in hybrid in the intermediate segment. The Hyundai Sonata Plug-in, for instance, has a pure electric range of 35 km.

2017 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid PHEV
2017 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid PHEV

In terms of performance, the Clarity PHEV's 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine and electric motor combine for 181-horsepower and 232 pound-feet of torque. That's less horsepower than the Sonata plug-in, which makes 193 from its 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine and 50 kW electric motor.

The four-door has four selectable modes – Normal, Econ, Sport, and HV – which change the vehicle's dynamics depending on how adventurous or efficient you want to drive. Honda says HV mode in particular is meant to maintain the battery's state of charge and can be combined with the other three driving modes.

Honda is estimating a total driving range of over 530 km, with fuel economy anticipated to be 2.24 litres per 100 kilometres. Those numbers can surely be improved or made worse depending on how you drive, and what modes you use. The 17 kW battery pack in the Clarity PHEV, meanwhile, can be fully charged in 2.5 hours using a 240-volt outlet. There's no word on how much time a more conventional 120-volt outlet would take.

2018 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid PHEV
2017 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid PHEV
2018 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid PHEV

Honda is keeping things simple by offering the Clarity in two trims - standard and Touring. We don't have pricing or specifics in regards to what those trims include, but we'll report on more info when it's released.

The Clarity PHEV is a handsome vehicle, though it mostly stays under the rader when it comes to styling. There are short covers over the rear wheels, which harken back to the previous generations of the Honda Insight hybrid.

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The plug-in is, unsurprisingly, expected to be the volume seller in the Clarity family, and that in itself is likely the reason Canada is only getting the one version. There still isn't a lot of infrastructure to refill fuel cell vehicles, and with range anxiety still very much a thing with many consumers, the pure-electric version is also unlikely to sell a whole bunch. Those other two models may in fact make their way to Canada, just not at the present time.

Photos: Sebastian Blanco

Source: Honda

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