With the confirmed discontinuation of the Clarity Electric for 2020, Honda no longer has a single battery-electric model in its U.S. lineup.
American Honda Motor confirmed to Green Car Reports last week that the Clarity Electric was discontinued at the end of the 2019 model year and won’t be coming back again.
In what was a very quiet last hurrah, leases for the model, which was limited to California and Oregon, faded out at the start of the year, and then in February, while we awaited what sounded like a refreshed model in the pipeline, at least one forum pointed to indications within Honda that the model wouldn’t be returning.
Throughout much of the time it was available, the Clarity Electric was offered at a lease price of $269 or $199 a month for 36 months, with as little as $1,499 down.
2019 Honda Clarity Electric
At the time the Clarity Electric was introduced, Honda engineers said that they based their decision on its battery size on feedback from California drivers of the former Fit EV; but ultimately that decision may have been what doomed the model, even in California, at a time when EV shoppers are focused on cars with more than 200 miles of range, The Clarity Electric carried an EPA-rated range of 89 miles from its 25.5-kwh battery pack. It was also Honda’s first electric vehicle to use CCS-format fast charging, allowing an 80-percent charge in just 30 minutes.
The other two Clarity models, the Clarity Fuel Cell and Clarity Plug-In Hybrid, will continue on at least through the 2020 model year.
The 2020 Clarity Plug-In Hybrid is only normally stocked by dealerships in California, but it can be ordered in all 50 states. The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid was arguably the more practical pick of the two plug-ins from the start. It has a 48-mile electric range on its plug-in charge, followed by a 42-mpg EPA-combined rating when operating as a hybrid.
Honda Clarity Electric at Honda R&D Center, Tochigi, Japan, June 2017
At an event several years ago, in which we were able to drive all three back-to-back, the Clarity Electric felt like the perkiest of the three versions (from a response-and-handling standpoint). Many accounts from owners also suggest that this model’s real-world range is beyond its rated number—something its water-cooled battery, motor, and power electronics likely helped enable—but Green Car Reports hasn’t ever been able to follow up with a drive of the Clarity Electric on familiar roads and routes.
The Clarity Electric was also intended for Japan and Canada, but it has been dropped from the list of current vehicles on consumer sites for both of those markets.
The model’s departure doesn’t mean Honda goes without EVs everywhere. The retro-styled Honda E hatchback will arrive in Europe this summer, while Honda last week confirmed a second EV for Europe—the first of a suite of new EVs under development—due by 2022. We’ll see