CARS.COM — When you’re driving an alternative-fuel car, there may be a moment when you stop thinking about it being an alternative. The sooner it happens, the closer that vehicle is to what most would call a “real” car. From the moment I sat in it, the 2017 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell felt like a real car — and a real Honda, right down to the almost-hidden USB ports and a touchscreen media system devoid of rotary knobs. Beyond those characteristic annoyances, almost everything about this fuel-cell-powered electric sedan was impressive, even revelatory.
The first of three Clarity models, this one went on lease last December in California only, where there are currently 27 hydrogen fueling stations and 36 more promised over the next two years. (I’ll get to the feasibility of this rare car and its rare fuel below.) Late in 2017, the Clarity Fuel Cell will be joined by the battery-electric Clarity Electric and the Clarity Plug-In, a plug-in gas-electric hybrid. All will employ an electric motor for propulsion. Only the power source varies, and with it the vehicle’s range and charging/fueling requirements.