The Toyota Mirai has taken the lead in U.S. sales of hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, though it was beaten to market early last year by the Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell.
Through September, Toyota has sold 710 of its four-person Mirai sedan—though up to half of those sales came in August to employees and others connected to Toyota.
We're close to having a third hydrogen-fueled car go on sale in certain California regions: the 2017 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell.
DON'T MISS: 2017 Honda Clarity preview
And now we know that the hydrogen Honda will have an EPA-rated range that trumps both of the others.
Honda announced this morning that the 2017 Clarity Fuel Cell will be rated at 366 miles of range, although it does not appear that Honda has specified how many kilograms of hydrogen is stored onboard at 10,000 psi.
That far outstrips the Mirai's 312 miles, let alone the 265 miles of the Tucson Fuel Cell. It is also higher than the range rating of any electric car sold in the U.S.
2017 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell with American Honda's John Mendel, Apr 2016
The fuel-cell Clarity receives a combined energy efficiency rated of 68 MPGe, or Miles Per Gallon Equivalent; its city and highway ratings are 69 MPGe and 67 MPGe, respectively.
That's a measure of how far an electrically powered vehicle can travel on the same amount of energy as contained in 1 gallon of gasoline.
Its motor output, at 100 kilowatts (134 horsepower), is the same that of the hydrogen Tucson's, but slightly lower than the 113 kw (151 hp) of the Mirai.
The Mirai is rated at 66 MPGe combined, and the Tucson Fuel Cell at 59 MPGe combined.
Unlike the Mirai and fuel-cell Tucson, the Honda Clarity is a five-seat sedan.
It will carry a price of "around $60,000," according to Honda, although most are expected to be leased rather than bought.
2015 Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell, 2016 Toyota Mirai at hydrogen fueling station, Fountain Valley, CA
Honda is likely to follow the pattern of Hyundai and Toyota in providing free hydrogen fuel to owners and lessees for the Clarity's first three years.
Toyota said when it launched the Mirai that it had eliminated the fifth seating position to ensure that the car's range met consumer expectations.
The first examples of the Honda Clarity will go on sale before the end of this year at the 12 Honda dealers that have been certified to sell the vehicle, all of them in California.
Six of those dealerships are in Southern California, five are located in the San Francisco Bay Area, and one is in the capital city of Sacramento.
Fuel-cell cars depend on the existence of a network of hydrogen fueling stations to make them viable.
So far, only certain regions of California have such sites, though plans have been announced to open hydrogen stations along certain corridors in the Northeast by 2020.
The Honda Clarity, meanwhile, will be offered not only with hydrogen fuel-cell power but also in battery-electric and plug-in hybrid versions—providing the first real-world market test of consumer preferences among alternative powertrains.