In 2017, I needed a new car, as my faithful 1992 Honda Accord had been badly damaged by a hit-and-run driver. With environmentally friendly vehicles more available, evidence of global climate change increasing and geopolitical intrigue and petroleum industry deception ever more obvious, I pledged that my next vehicle would be less gasoline-dependent. My initial choice was a plug-in hybrid, but a plug-in hybrid Accord was not offered that year. However, there were to be three new Honda “Clarity” models--all-electric, plug-in hybrid and fuel cell-powered versions.
In March 2017 I went to Clarity promotional events in Sacramento thinking "plug-in hybrid." I left thinking "fuel cell car." I was impressed with the:
- technological craftsmanship
- 366-mile estimated maximum range on a full tank of hydrogen
- similarities to fueling with gasoline (creating a comforting familiarity)
- passenger-focused semi-luxurious features
- power and handling--electric motors have powerful torque
- emphasis on safety
- "green" nature of the car--no pollutants would be released from the car
- “pioneer” aspect of piloting a fuel cell vehicle
- much-reduced dependence on petroleum products
- generous financial incentives (e.g., reasonable $400 monthly lease rate; FREE hydrogen fuel for three years; an amazing $5,000 rebate from State of California and State HOV stickers that allow full use of freeway diamond lanes)
In June 2017, I leased a Clarity fuel cell car for three years, and I have not regretted the decision. I love the dashboard display with its Garmin GPS map system, the seamless integration with Apple iPod and iPhone devices, the two rear-view safety camera displays, the other driver-assist safety features, and (during winter) the heated leather front seats. All the electric mechanisms—drive motor, air conditioner, heater, power windows, etc.) work flawlessly. There are also fuel cell cars available from Toyota and (in southern California) Hyundai.
Fuel cell cars are electric cars that require no manual recharging – they generate their own electricity internally using odorless hydrogen gas pumped into on-board storage tanks. The hydrogen (H) from the fuel tanks combines chemically – but WITHOUT combustion – with atmospheric oxygen (O) releasing electricity (electrons that are stored in batteries) and water vapor (H2O). There is NO internal combustion, less noise, and reduced heat. And again, no pollutants are discharged from the car!