If you're a nascent spy photographer for cars, Detroit is the place to be for the domestic companies.

Southern California is the site for many Asian brands, even though Toyota and Nissan have largely decamped for other regions.

Which is how one alert reader came to snap these photos of a 2017 Honda Clarity testing on traffic-choked roads in the Los Angeles Basin.

DON'T MISS: 2017 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell Sedan: Live Photos, More Details From Tokyo Show

We can't say with any certainty which of the three planned versions of the Clarity this test car represents.

In April, Honda revealed that its Clarity Fuel Cell—the first model to be shown, and the successor to its very low-volume FCX Clarity hydrogen-powered sedan—would be joined by two other versions.

One will be propelled by a battery-electric powertrain, with a range of 200 miles or more.

2017 Honda Clarity prototype testing in Southern California, July 2016 [photo: Sean Alarid]

2017 Honda Clarity prototype testing in Southern California, July 2016 [photo: Sean Alarid]

The other will be a plug-in hybrid, with an electric range of at least 40 miles.

This lets Honda spread the cost of developing the Clarity platform across a higher volume of vehicles, hedging its bets in case hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles don't necessarily roll out in the volumes expected.

ALSO SEE: 2018 Honda Clarity electric versions: first details, including 40-plus-mile range for plug-in hybrid

The Clarity Electric, Honda said in April, will be "the first affordable, midsize, five-passenger battery-electric vehicle to offer premium content and features."

The company declined to specify anything about its battery range, though it's expected to offer more than 100 miles, and perhaps as much as 200 miles—the benchmark set by the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV, a much smaller car that will go on sale before the end of this year.

2017 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell

2017 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell

The Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid will be available in all 50 states, however, and have by far the highest sales of the three Clarity versions.

No other vehicle in the world is currently expected to offer hydrogen fuel-cell, battery-electric, and plug-in hybrid powertrains.

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The smaller Hyundai Ioniq range takes a similar approach, however: there will be conventional hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery-electric versions on sale in at least some markets by the end of next year.

The conventional hybrid slot in Honda's lineup, however, is filled not by a version of the Clarity but instead by the 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid sedan.

2017 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell with American Honda's John Mendel, Apr 2016

2017 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell with American Honda's John Mendel, Apr 2016

That vehicle, launched in updated form after two model years on sale (2014 and 2015), received good reviews but suffered from supply constraints, leading to buyer frustration as dealers simply couldn't get the models desired.

Honda switched Accord Hybrid production from Ohio to Japan, and the company has worked with its parts suppliers to ensure a greater volume of hybrid batteries and other components for the reintroduced model.

WATCH THIS: 2017 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell At LA Auto Show: Video

Honda officials confirmed yesterday to Green Car Reports that the 2017 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell will go on sale before the end of this year in selected regions of California where hydrogen fueling stations are now up and running.

The Clarity Electric and Clarity Plug-In models will follow, presumably as 2018 models, sometime next year.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Our thanks to reader Sean Alarid, who kindly allowed us to run his photos of the Clarity in on-road testing last week.


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