Honda Clarity Electric at Honda R&D Center, Tochigi, Japan, June 2017
The 2018 Honda Clarity Electric car rolled into California and Oregon dealerships this week, but nobody can buy it.
It's only available for lease for $199 a month for 36 months with $1,499 due at signing.
That figure reflects the $7,500 federal tax credit, which Honda finance will keep as part of the capitalized cost reduction of the lease.
The Clarity Electric, however, also qualifies for a $2,500 tax rebate in each of the states where it's sold.
Counting the state tax credit, consumers can drive home the Clarity Electric for $199 a month for 36 months and end up with $1,000 in their pockets to boot.
If they live in California, the car is also eligible for a white sticker to drive in most of the states' carpool lanes with a single occupant. They may not get all the benefit they once did, however, as California agencies have begun to roll back the privilege.
Honda may need such motivation for to get buyers to pony up at all for a mid-size battery electric sedan with only 89 miles of range from its 25.5-kwh battery, when most other new electric models offer more for 2018. The base Nissan Leaf comes with 151 miles. The Chevy Bolt EV delivers 238. Even the Hyundai Ioniq Electric delivers 124 miles of range.
The Clarity Electric's 6.6-kw on-board charger can provide a full charge on Level 2 in just over 3 hours.