Honda Drops Clarity Electric in the U.S.

Forget about the fully electric variant of the Honda Clarity coming to Canada: the company has announced it will not even return to the U.S. for 2020. In fact, production ended at the end of last year.

If you’re keeping scores, that’s one more sedan discontinued in North America. The strange thing is that the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid (the only model sold in Canada) and the hydrogen-powered Clarity Fuel Cell (exclusive to California) both remain available—at least for now.

South of the border, total Clarity sales dropped 42 percent to 11,654 units in 2019. Actually, the Clarity Electric was only offered to lease customers in California and Oregon. Making matters worse, it used a tiny 25.5-kWh battery with a range of 143 kilometres—far less than what other electric cars can travel these days.

"We’re continuously evolving our product portfolio, and right now, we’re placing more of our focus on the next generation of electrified products that are coming down the pipeline," Honda spokeswoman Natalie Kumaratne said. "We will be introducing new, highly appealing all-electric vehicles for the U.S. market in the years ahead."

What is she talking about exactly? We don’t know. One thing’s for sure: the adorable Honda e city car unveiled last fall is not planned for North America. The big problem is the diminutive size of the car itself and particularly the battery. Rated at 35.5 kWh, the latter allows a range of just 220 kilometres according to the optimistic WLTP test cycle.

As we wait for new developments, Canadian consumers can turn to the aforementioned Clarity Plug-in Hybrid (77 km of EV range), plus the Accord Hybrid and Insight. However, the low sales numbers for these models suggest few people are interested.

What about the new CR-V Hybrid recently introduced in the U.S. market? Once again, don’t count on it. As Honda Canada reps keep telling us, their goal is not necessarily to follow the parade (Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, Ford Escape Hybrid, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, etc.), but rather to have the most fuel-efficient vehicle lineup possible. Mission accomplished: Honda ranks first in that department according to the EPA.

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