By on May 11, 2018

Image: Honda

By that, we mean the figure “199,” not the overall cost of leasing. Moving on…

Honda’s only true EV, the Clarity Electric, began arriving at dealers in California and Oregon Thursday, completing a green trifecta that includes a plug-in hybrid variant and hydrogen fuel cell model. It also carries a lease price that undercuts its rivals by quite a bit.

While Clarity EV lessees stand to pay significantly less for their eco-conscious ride, both up front and on a monthly basis, they’d best familiarize themselves with the location of charging stations.

That’s because the Clarity EV has a range of just 89 miles. No, you haven’t travelled back in time to 2012 — it’s just that the Clarity’s battery space is constrained by Honda’s need for a platform that accommodates three propulsion sources.

Because of this, the Clarity EV’s 25.5 kWh battery pack doesn’t measure up to its competitors, though the range is usable for around-town trips and most commutes. (This author still remembers the gnawing fear felt during a long weekend Ford Focus Electric test a few years back. That model offered 76 miles of range.)

Honda Clarity NYIAS 2017

Honda clearly recognizes the car’s limitations in its lease offer. City driving is where EVs shine, and, if you never leave city limits, this large, comfortable cruiser makes an attractive proposition. With $1,499 due at signing, lessees pay $199 a month for 36 months. Drivers might find themselves eligible for state incentives totalling $2,500, too, depending on the date and their place of residence.

“We’re upping the ante on both premium appeal and affordability with the 2018 Honda Clarity Electric,” said Steven Center, Honda’s vice president of Connected and Environmental Business Development, in a statement. Center made sure to mention the Clarity’s “premium level of quality” compared to other lower-priced EVs.

Looking at lease offers in the Los Angeles area, the Clarity beats its rivals hands down. A Chevrolet Bolt leases for $376 a month for a 36-month term, with $4,125 due at signing. Mileage tops out at 30,000 miles. The Bolt is the low-priced rangte leader, boasting 238 miles per charge.

Nissan’s newly upgraded Leaf, now offering 151 miles per charge, leases for $229 a month for 36 months, with $3,979 due at signing. The automaker allows 12,000 miles of emission-free driving per year. Compared to that, Hyundai’s Ioniq Electric, only available in California, leases for $295 a month for the same term, but carries a lower down payment of $2,500. Mileage is unlimited.

Honda’s lease allows 20,000 miles per year, plus free roadside assistance. That’s a lot of recharging cycles.

[Images: Honda]

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23 Comments on “If Only the Range Matched the Price: Honda’s Clarity EV Leasing for $199 a Month...”


  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    A range on an EV of 89 miles (in the most ideal circumstances) is a bad joke.

    Maybe seniors living in those 5,000-10,000 unit Del Webb type monstrosity developments (think Del Boca Vista x 100 – they are so big that they have convenience and grocery stores inside the gated communities) in Arizona, Nevada, outer California, etc., can lease the Honda Claritys if they want a fancier golf cart.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      The golf carts currently in use by retirement communities are much cheaper, built to local weather standards and provide easy entry and exit.

  • avatar
    conundrum

    “this large, comfortable cruiser makes an attractive proposition”. So long as cruising isn’t actually on the agenda! $1500 down for a vehicle likely to be magnetically attracted to its spot on the dealer lot. What chutzpah! They should look for volunteers instead.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    28% of the public saying they plan to buy an EV, plus all these government and automaker subsidized leases, and yet EVs still achieve less than 1% market share. I smell Russian collusion – put Mueller on it ASAP.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    Awful. Just awful.

    We’ll be swimming in electric cars any day now! Just wait till next year!

  • avatar
    Chetter

    Looks like an aborted Pontiac LeMans hatch fetus. What a hideous design.

  • avatar
    ernest

    79 mile range might not get some commuters in LA to work, let alone home.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      All the Motorist Assistance vehicles I have seen in CA carry a huge AC generator on board these days, maybe for a 15-minute quick charge to get people with stalled EVs home.

      And maybe if Tesla can accomplish their goal of putting quick-charge stations every 15 miles along the most traveled roads will we see an uptick in EV sales.

      But how can a person ever get over range anxiety?

      I couldn’t.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    So, this would run $2640/yr if I bought it excluding $1499 down.

    If I spent $100 a month on my Saturns specifically for work, that’s $1200. It would still leave the difference for maintenance (actual cost for work only is probably half of the $2640 as maint and fuel are not so expensive on a monthly basis). My Sat insurance is about $450/yr for full tort/collision, the Insight would be double. So even if I got a credit on the $1499, this is still not economically feasible for me, and my mileage commute is about 12/day but half is in terrible traffic where a hybrid would shine (I do realize this is a brand new lease vs a beater btw but I am looking simply at the economics).

    I might bite the bullet with zero down and $199/mo HMC, just sayin…

  • avatar

    “Honda’s lease allows 20,000 miles per year”

    Might as well be unlimited, with only 89 miles of range not many people are going to ever reach 20,000 in a year.

    Not sure what type of niche-of-a-niche-of-a-niche they are trying to fill here; People who don’t drive much but want a nice car but can’t afford a good car and think Honda has cachet but not the “you can feel the VTEC kick in” type. I think if you drew a Venn Diagram of people’s requirements it would show the market size for the Clarity of about 4 buyers.

    I’m an EV driver, but this just gives EVs a bad name.

    • 0 avatar
      carve

      No kidding! If you completely drained the battery every single day, hyper-miling under ideal conditions every time, you’d only be a bit over 30k per year.

  • avatar
    civicjohn

    Wow that car’s been by beat by an ugly stick! I don’t know if I would want to be seen driving it for 20k miles.

    But, charging stations are coming along, Tesla or not. After DieselGate, VW is on the hook to build about 2000 charging stations across the US:

    https://www.electrifyamerica.com/our-plan

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      And here comes the 1,000 lb gorilla of the charging world. In the UK now:

      https://support.shell.com/hc/en-gb/articles/115005909229-What-is-Shell-Recharge-

      and these guys too:
      https://electrek.co/2018/01/30/bp-oil-giant-invest-electric-vehicle-charging/

  • avatar
    vvk

    Kia Soul EV has more range for far less money:

    http://www.yonkerskia.com/new-specials/

    $69/m with $925 down.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      If that’s a “real” deal it’s incredible-

      I bet it has the dealerslime typical caveats such as *must have red hair, green eyes, be blood type O-, born on the 5th day of any month not becoming with an r, and be a blacksmith.”

      • 0 avatar
        vvk

        It is actually not the best I have seen on this car. Just something I know is out there without taking too much time to research.

        There are often incredible lease deals available. Sometimes they are so good that the company actually pays you. I kid you not.

        I always wonder why people accept these nationally advertised deals. Is it not obvious that the advertised deal must be the lowest common denominator that satisfies all dealers? I can always do better than the national average. Of course one needs good credit do get the best lease deal…

  • avatar
    seth1065

    well I can see this working for plenty of people, my wife being one, she drives about 15 miles a day so no need for range anxiety , it would be a third car, and could serve as the kids around town car if needed. Would we lease it, doubt it because I do not really want a forever car payment, but it would have no issues with the range or having it work in our house every day.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    89 miles constitutes a failure. Disappointing; I would expect much better than this from Honda.

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    The bargain advertised price on the Clarity EV gets them in the door.

    Then they find out the range.

    Then the Clarity PHEV gets the sale.

    75% of the time it works every time.

    The Clarity PHEV is basically grandpa’s gloriously wafting Buick with a Star Trek control bridge and a 3/4-assed Chevy Volt powertrain, for the price of a mere base Volt. What’s not to like? I mean, other than the confusing controls, underpowered infotainment, and gas engine kicking on any time you request significantly more power from Scotty underhood. I’d still take the Volt, but someone with carpool passengers wouldn’t.

  • avatar
    Scout_Number_4

    Just saw one of these in the wild Friday here in the Peoples Republic of Oregon. Had no idea that the release was so limited….just like the range.

  • avatar
    carve

    “Being designed for 3 different powertrains” being the factor that limits the range sounds like a lame excuse. There has to be a ton of unused space under the hood.

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