Honda today announced it will begin selling its Clarity plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) in Canada later this year, which will be joined by a new, North American-made hybrid to be launched in 2018.
The Japanese automaker also said it will add "alternative fuel vehicles" to its light truck lineup in the future. The news follows a Detroit auto show statement by Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo that half of the all-new models the company is set to launch in the U.S. in the next two years will be electrified; By 2030, Honda wants two-thirds of its vehicle sales to come from electrified models.
Clarity PHEV will be one of three alt-fuel vehicles sharing that name and a common platform, the first of which was a hydrogen fuel cell model that went on sale in select U.S. states in late 2016. Honda hasn't provided much detail about the PHEV model, except to say it will promise an all-electric driving range of more than 64 km (40 miles) and will feature what Honda calls a "hyper-efficient" gas-hybrid extended-range mode. The U.S. will get an all-electric model, but Honda's announcement makes no mention of it for Canada, calling the PHEV version the series' "volume leader."
The Clarity's look is defined by a fastback-like tail and rear fenders clearly designed to reduce aero drag. It could be an enlarged successor to the second-generation Insight, with a passing resemblance to the Accord Crosstour.
What we know about 2018's dedicated hybrid model is that it will use Honda's two-motor hybrid drive system, which powers the Accord Hybrid sedan, and that it will be built at an existing Honda factory in the United States.
As far as the planned push into electrified light trucks, a hybrid version of the redesigned Odyssey minivan (revealed at the 2016 Detroit auto show) makes a lot of sense as a competitor to the Chrysler Pacifica PHEV. A hybrid CR-V compact crossover is another easy guess to take on Toyota's hybrid RAV4 variant. An electrified Ridgeline would be neat too, as it would further solidify that model's 'otherness' among mid-size pickups.
Honda says it'll tell us more about the Clarity and that future dedicated hybrid model closer to their respective launch dates.