Los Angeles residents Ron Yerxa and his wife, Annette Ballester, have become the first customers in the world to slip behind the wheel of a new Honda FCX Clarity. Honda plans to put its advanced fuel-cell powered sedan in the hands of about 200 people in the U.S. and Japan during the next three years under a subsidized $600/month lease plan. Currently, the program calls for the majority of these ground-breaking vehicles to find homes in Southern California, where Honda has also created a special dealer sub-network to ensure a smooth rollout process and effective servicing procedures.
Yerxa, a movie producer, and Ballester head the list of five early adopters that Honda named in a pre-delivery announcement last month. The next four FCX Claritys are destined for actress/author Jamie Lee Curtis and her husband, filmmaker Christopher Guest; businessman and auto enthusiast Jim Salomon; actress Laura Harris and Jon Spallino, who has already earned a spot in the ranks of fuel cell pioneers by having spent the last three years racking up thousands of pollution-free miles in Honda's first-generation FCX.
Beyond its striking appearance, the new FCX Clarity embodies a host of major technical advances over Honda's original FCX. Key among them is a new-generation fuel cell stack that has 50 percent greater energy density than its predecessor and an advanced lithium-ion battery pack that's 40 percent smaller and 50 percent lighter. They combine to deliver a 25 percent bump in effective "fuel economy" that gives the FCX Clarity a combined 74 mpg Gasoline Gallon Equivalent (GGE) rating while extending its effective range by 30 percent, to 280 miles on average.
"The FCX Clarity lease program is one more step toward meeting the societal goals of climate stability, renewable energy supplies and zero-emissions transportation," said Executive Vice President of American Honda John Mendel. "With this key step, we are advancing toward the goal of broader commercialization. Establishing a dedicated sales network and service infrastructure provides customers with the best balance of convenience and the highest level of satisfaction."