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Honda Clarity Electric gets unplugged, won’t return for new model year

Honda no longer sells any electric cars in the United States. The Japanese automaker has discontinued the Clarity Electric, the sole battery-electric model in its U.S. lineup, according to Green Car Reports. Plug-in hybrid and hydrogen fuel-cell versions of the Clarity will continue, however.

The Clarity Electric never made a big impact on the U.S. market. It was only available in California and Oregon, and a small battery pack meant its range wasn’t competitive with other electric cars. The Clarity’s 25.5-kilowatt-hour pack only allowed for 89 miles of range, while many similarly priced electric cars offer over 200 miles of range.

Honda will continue to sell the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid and Clarity Fuel Cell through at least the 2020 model year. The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid is only stocked at dealerships in California, although it can be ordered in all 50 states. The Clarity Fuel Cell is only available in California, as no other state has a sufficient number of hydrogen stations.

Honda has never been particularly enthusiastic about electric cars, at least not for the U.S. The Honda EV Plus was one of the first electric cars sold in the U.S., but only in small numbers to meet California’s zero-emission vehicle mandate. It’s what is known in the business as a “compliance car.” Similarly, Honda never made much of an effort to sell the Fit EV nationwide, despite generally positive reviews.

The discontinuation of the Clarity Electric doesn’t mean Honda is done with EVs. The Honda E hatchback will launch in Europe this summer, but the automaker has no plans to bring the model to the U.S. The retro styling may look cool, but the E is likely too small for the U.S. market. Stricter emissions standards mean Honda (and other automakers) will likely prioritize Europe over the U.S. for new electric car launches for the time being.

Meanwhile, Honda is concentrating on hybrids in the U.S. The automaker currently sells a hybrid version of the Accord, as well as the Civic-based Insight hybrid. A hybrid version of the popular CR-V crossover just went on sale as well. But Honda has not given any indication when another all-electric car will be sold in the U.S.

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Stephen Edelstein
Stephen is a freelance automotive journalist covering all things cars. He likes anything with four wheels, from classic cars…
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