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Honda FCX Clarity  (Source: Honda)

  (Source: Honda)

  (Source: Honda)
Leases begin in summer 2008 at $600 per month

The gasoline-electric hybrid news has come in at a furious pace at DailyTech over the past few weeks. Honda announced its intention to bring a small, sporty hybrid to market; Fisker announced its gorgeous hybrid sports sedan and GM yesterday showed off new hybrid full-size pickups and full-size SUVs.

Honda has a new fuel efficient vehicle of its own to tout and the word "hybrid" is nowhere to be found. The company finally pulled the wraps off the production version of its FCX fuel cell prototype -- now called the FCX Clarity.

Exterior design-wise, the FCX Clarity closely mimics the earlier prototype, but now features government-spec bumpers front and back and smaller wheels. Inside, the FCX Clarity uses a gauge cluster and heads-up display similar in fashion to the current Honda Civic. Otherwise, the interior looks rather normal if you can get past the overabundance of silver-painted plastic.

When it comes to the powertrain, the FCX Clarity uses a 100 kW V Flow fuel cell stack which is 65 percent smaller than the one used on the first generation FCX. Other powertrain components include a 171-liter, 5,000-psi hydrogen fuel tank, a lithium-ion battery pack and a 95 kW (127 HP) electric motor.

According to Honda, the FCX Clarity is good for an equivalent of 68 MPG and has a range of 270 miles. Also, since the FCX Clarity is a fuel cell-powered vehicle, there are no CO2 emissions -- the vehicle's only emission is water.

"The FCX Clarity is a shining symbol of the progress we've made with fuel cell vehicles and of our belief in the promise of this technology," said American Honda president and CEO Tetsuo Iwamura. "Step by step, with continuous effort, commitment and focus, we are working to overcome obstacles to the mass-market potential of zero-emissions hydrogen fuel cell automobiles."

The FCX Clarity will see limited service in the Southern California area beginning in summer 2008. Customers will sign up for a three-year lease at price of roughly $600 per month. Honda also notes that the FCX Clarity qualifies for a $12,000 IRS tax credit.

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RE: waste of money
By Lord 666 on 11/15/2007 10:27:50 AM , Rating: 3
Where didn't you read "12,000 IRS tax credit" ? Over the cost of the lease, you are paying a $2400 premium.

Not to mention a full-size car that qualifies for CA's HOV lane with one person. Too bad its not in NJ.

RE: waste of money
By masher2 on 11/15/2007 10:53:14 AM , Rating: 4
> "Where didn't you read "12,000 IRS tax credit" "

Translation..why pay for your hybrid, when you can force all your friends and neighbors to pay for it for you?

RE: waste of money
By wordsworm on 11/15/07, Rating: 0
RE: waste of money
By masher2 on 11/15/2007 12:46:46 PM , Rating: 2
> " no one is paying taxes for that car"

I'm not sure where you get that notion. The cost of maintaining the government and the federal debt is fixed. If one person pays less, everyone else pays more. They may not pay more immediately, in that year's tax bill...but they'll eventually foot the cost.

The cost of a tax credit is paid out by all other taxpayers. This is rather basic.

RE: waste of money
By walk2k on 11/15/2007 1:36:18 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, the same way that every tax-payer pays for schools even if they don't have kids, social services even if they don't use them, and the Space Shuttle even if they never leave Earth.

Yep, rather basic. :roll:

RE: waste of money
By Spuke on 11/16/2007 4:12:23 PM , Rating: 2
Why the :roll"? It IS basic. We all get taxed for things we may not use. If you don't like it, get yourself and your friends to vote against politicians that support these types of programs.

RE: waste of money
By jak3676 on 11/15/2007 10:57:17 AM , Rating: 2
That and you get the $12,000 tax credit in the year you file your taxes. The benifits of having that money up front can easily wipe out that $2400 premium.

$12,000 invested for 2 years at a concervative 5% will make up about half of that ($1,230) and if you can get 10%, that's more than $2,500.

On the flip side if you pay down $12,000 in high interest debt, the benefits could be even better.

RE: waste of money
By mdogs444 on 11/15/2007 11:00:16 AM , Rating: 2
First its $600/mo, but does not say what the down payment is...and I promise you its more than just the $2000 or $3000 Civic/Accord down payment.

Also, the tax credit its for purchasing I believe. Not sure how that works with leasing, but im positive its prorated if does.

We dont have HOV lanes in Ohio, but dont see a need for them at all around here and i live in a downtown metropolitan area.

RE: waste of money
By theapparition on 11/15/2007 12:42:05 PM , Rating: 2
TCO, is the real measure. Total Cost of Ownership, just as it sounds.

The MPG numbers seem nice, but what about the cost of the natural gas used to convert into hydrogen fuel. Last I checked, priced of natural gas in my area were going through the roof. No one has mentioned the cost for the fuel to make the fuel, plus the electricity to power the fuel making/compressing/pumping machine.

Now add any sort of tax offset (without looking up the IRS code, doubtfull of the full 12k credit), and subtract any sort of maintenence on this, factor in your driving habits, and you should have your answer for the TCO.

I doubt that this will be worth the premium in the end.

RE: waste of money
By Spuke on 11/16/2007 4:18:09 PM , Rating: 2
Can propane be used to power the home unit?

RE: waste of money
By Ringold on 11/15/2007 11:05:00 AM , Rating: 2
600 x 36 = 21,600 - 12,000 = 9600 for a car that after 3 years you don't own, can't fuel many places, and have little forward visibility on how much this fuel will even cost.

Not to mention zero utility outside of a certain radius from a hydrogen fueling station. This basically necessitates a second vehicle. Reliability, of course, is also unknown.

Conspicuous consumption (individuals willing to dump money to obtain a luxury) is necessary to get many industries up to speed.. but really sort of hard to make the cost efficiency case for this one.

Not to mention, the legalese surrounding terms like "tax credit" can mean anything from a real 12k off your tax bill to 12k off your taxable income. Not to mention the sort of wealthy individuals buying one could make a lousy move on the stock market and end up with a tax loss -- and thereby get nothing out of the credit at all.

You get one of these right now because it makes you feel warm and fuzzy, not because an accountant says its a good move.

RE: waste of money
By SeeManRun on 11/15/2007 11:40:53 AM , Rating: 4
Internal combustion engines have been around for 100 years. You want a new technology that solves all the problems of that proven technology in only a few years? Give it some time, its a starting point. I doubt the very first automobiles were affordable either. People probably had horse and buggies, and said the exact same thing about the horseless carriage; too expensive, and certainly much more than the hay costs for your horse.

"So, I think the same thing of the music industry. They can't say that they're losing money, you know what I'm saying. They just probably don't have the same surplus that they had." -- Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA

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