Most new electric cars feature ranges in excess of 150 miles… but not the 2018 Honda Clarity Electric, which hits dealers in California and Oregon today.
Honda is offering a heck of a deal on the 2018 Clarity Electric. It’ll be available for leasing at a price of $199 plus tax per month, with a $1,499 down payment. That lease runs for 36 months, and lessees get 20,000 miles per year. If you’re looking to buy instead of lease, you’re plum out of luck—for now, leasing is the only way to get one. 24/7 roadside assistance is included, as well.
Even though it’s lease-only, owners may possibly quality for state-level tax rebates of $2,500, although it’s important to check the fine print for each state’s rebate program to ensure that’s possible. In California, Clarity Electric lessees will also get single-occupant HOV lane access, which is always a nice perk.
It all sounds like a pretty swell deal, until you look at the car’s range. A new electric car with a range of just 89 miles is well behind most other entry-level competitors like the 151-mile 2018 Nissan Leaf, to say nothing of the 238-mile Chevy Bolt EV and the forthcoming 220-mile Tesla Model 3. The Kia Soul EV, which exists solely to satisfy zero-emissions regulations in certain states, puts out 90 miles and that’s been available for years now.
There is a benefit to the baby battery, though: charge times. With a DC fast charger, it’ll hit 80 percent battery capacity in just 30 minutes. At a Level 2 home charger, a fill-up takes about 3.5 hours.
If you don’t need the long range of other EVs, perhaps the Clarity Electric might actually suit your needs—but on paper, it faces tough competition, even with its aggressive pricing.