As announced Monday morning by Automotive News, E.V. enthusiast looking to Honda for extended battery electric vehicle range, will be a bit disappointing by Clarity BEV. (Battery Electric Vehicle)
In a recent interview with American Honda, Automotive News was informed that the Clarity platform battery electric follows the example set by the no longer available in the U.S. Fit E.V. — with an approximate 80 mile drive range before requiring recharging. O.K., I was anticipating a bit more!
Will short-range kill the market for Honda’s battery electric Clarity platform variant?
Frankly, I believe when looking to the recently formed hydrogen development alliance between Honda and General Motors, the maker has dedicated facility and resources to the development and marketing of compressed hydrogen fuel cell electric cars. I take a closer look at 2017 Clarity FCV here.
With the 230 mile range Chevy Bolt coming on-line at well under $38,000, before tax incentives, and Tesla shooting for 2018 manufacturing and delivery of the Tesla 3, outside of the hardcore Honda EV loyal, there is little market for Clarity BEV.
Clarity to come in 3 variants
Hydrogen Fuel Cell, Plug-in Hybrid, and Battery Electric
At this point in time it’s nearly impossible to measure what’s referred to as the “white space” in a rapidly expanding and ever-developing E.V. market. The viable future of the electric car rests with battery density, and the manufacturing volume capacity of an emerging battery industry.
In a recent report from automaker Tesla, it’s revealed that battery module cost was 60% of what it was just 5 years earlier. That’s a step in the right direction as auto manufacturers mainstream electrification of personal conveyance. Who will take the immediate lead in the market mainstreaming of the E.V.?
As of this writing the #1 engine manufacturer in the world is Honda — that’s the internal combustion engine. No company has done more to develop and market low to no emissions
I.C.E, and certainly Honda demonstrates market viable applications of electric motors in the NSX supercar, and the now on the highway Clarity FCEV.
At its base core, Clarity Fuel Cell is an electric vehicle. Clarity Battery Electric, for now I’ll take a wait and see position as to the market viability of Honda’s 80 mile range electric. Read my latest take on the Clarity BEV here.
Last week the ACEEE honored Accord Hybrid and Honda CR-V Touring for their low environmental impact “green” attributes. This raises a bit of a question for me and others that embrace an electric motivated future for personal transportation. Amazingly enough, the turbocharged optioned Honda CR-V approaches near hybrid MPG, without the advantages of electrification, not an easy engineering task.
When considering the purchase of a new car or SUV, how often do we look to environmental impact as a weighing factor in the decision to lease or purchase? In a time where the average pump price of gasoline sits at or near a historical low, fuel efficiency, and related car emitted air pollution, may take a backseat to utility, interior accouterments, good looks, and engine acceleration performance.
Honda continues to lead the automotive world in fuel-efficient, super low emissions I.C.E ( internal combustion engine) technology. In practice, 2017 CR-V Touring ranks #1 in the compact crossover/SUV segment for average fuel efficiency. And, according to KBB.com, will lead the competition in long-term ownership residual value.
2017 Honda CR-V offers the best of all worlds through financially attainable MSRP, segment topping performance, and as acknowledged by the ACEEE, (American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy) a reduced environmental footprint, as a “Greener Choices 2017” pick, with a top 11% efficiency rating when measured against all cars on the road today. This Honda Hybrid landed in the top 1.3%
It’s good to be “Green”
How we measure such benchmarks: Vehicles that qualify for the “Greener Choices 2017” list are restricted to widely available gasoline-powered cars and light trucks with automatic transmissions, which showcases the widespread availability of environmentally responsible vehicle choices in many segments of the market. The vehicles are ranked based on a full life-cycle analysis, looking at not only the environmental impacts from driving, but also from the manufacturing and end-of-life recycling of the vehicle.
As reviewed by McCants Auto News: While driving under real-world weather and road surface conditions, our turbocharged 2017 CR-V Touring averaged 28.9 MPG. That’s exceptional for a near midsize 2-row equipped with real-time all-wheel-drive, a high torque output turbocharged 4-cylinder gasoline engine, chunky-exterior design cue’s and what gained acknowledgement from the automotive press as the most refined, comfortable interior in the compact SUV segment. Read my latest 2017 Honda CR-V drive review here.
“Impressive” is a bit of an understatement when describing Honda’s reinvented 2017 CR-V. Arguably, a very good 2-row SUV prior to the Fall 2016 release of the 5th generation CR-V, Honda takes financially attainable refinement, utility, sport, and fun to drive SUV attributes to the mainstream, we’re just a bit blown away by how good CR-V is.
Until one ‘steps on the gas’ the changes are mostly subtle
CR-V was already a very good SUV, in-fact, the #1 selling retail crossover, SUV of any size in the U.S. But as with most things, despite a major refresh in late 2014, CR-V was ready for a platform change. With introduction of the 10th generation Honda Civic, came the shared “compact world-platform,” along with a very good high torque output, fuel-efficient, and more importantly, clean burning state of the automotive art turbocharged VTEC engine – the first offered in CR-V – the performance difference is measurable.
It’s not so much the added 10 horsepower, it’s where the seemingly endless torque kicks in. Coming on like a mule kick to the head at just a bit above idle, 2,000 RPM (revolutions per minute) or so, peek torque remains on demand through 5,000 RPM, effectively the “mid-RPM-working-range” of most engines today.
The advantage found here is seamless grade transition. There is no shifting per-say, as the CVT (constant variable transmission) works in unison with the torque-happy 18 Lb. boost turbocharged 4-cylinder VTEC gasoline engine.
Turbocharging, and CVT integration, results in a seemingly endless ‘flat’ torque curve, on demand “drive-by-wire’ instantaneous acceleration, and hill climbing torque. Also, the highest non-hybrid MPG in the compact crossover segment. *In real world road testing under mixed-route, extreme weather, I recorded 28.9 MPG.
But there’s yet another advantage to turbocharging
2017 Honda CR-V AWD Touring is very refined as to drive and ride when driven like your grandparent’s family sedan or station wagon. CR-V has a split personality, perhaps more than two. CR-V drives as soft and docile as a new-born kitten when coaxed to do so, yet performs with the best in the class when split-second on ramp, or lane change speed is required
Interior comfort: While initially, I found the leather-covered, heated and 10-way power adjusted driver’s seat old-school-Honda stiff, within an hour or two, my body adjusted to it – the comfortable surround that is CR-V, becomes second nature as to operation – everything properly in its place, presenting arguably the most refined ride and drive experience in CR-V history.
I like the overall “chunky” stance of CR-V. The driver’s seat height and subsequent commanding view out the windshield instills confidence, and a well-earned sense of safety in the operator and passengers.
The interior layout is well-balanced, comfortable, and sensory appealing – with color contrasting soft and hard touch fabrics and plastics, offset by realistic wood-like accents, chrome, and brushed metal trims, complimenting a perfectly placed center stack, visual pleasing and unique instrument cluster, smart wheel, and single touchscreen entertainment, navigation, personal communication and cellphone-pairing driver to car interface – exceptional!
So, let’s drive already
Well, despite the pending danger of a torrential downpour in the weather forecast, we’d promised ourselves a drive out to the Oregon Coast, a mixed drive of surface streets and rural 2-lane highway. the Ocean rests 65 miles or so to the northwest, about 1 hour and 20 minutes from the old homestead. Nancy and I decided to go for it!
Our 2017 Honda CR-V Touring activaes with a car recognizing key fob – the ignition is key less, and requires foot on the brake for startup. For 2017, Honda retains the electronic parking brake in CR-V, with 5 position select-stick control placed historically correct on CR-V’s dash. This arrangement affords ample cup-holder, cellphone-cable-connectivity and charge points, and a well-placed, covered storage bin, and stash place between the two front seats.
We discover the advantages of a slightly wider and longer manufacturing platform in CR-V, it’s comfy, even in the second row, affording excellent visibility to the front and sides from all seats — and yes, 2 full size adults, 3 in a pinch, child seats, and the family gold-fish, also fit in row 2 with room to spare. And, with a split 40/60 magic seat, so will your bicycle, surfboard, blowup doll, etc.
Placing CR-V in reverse, a rather good resolution color monitor turns on. In the case of CR-V Touring, one has 3 view choice options. However, one of my favorite Honda options is not on board. The right turn “Lane Watch” cam is missing in action. In its stead is the exceptional accident preventative, mitigation measure, “Honda SENSING” Suite, now available on CR-V EX trim level or higher. Featuring adaptive cruise control, Lane Keep Assist, rear cross traffic sensors, mitigated automatic braking and more.
Perfect? Darn near. O.K., I’d change a thing or two, but not much
At 3800 LBS, or so, 2017 Honda CR-V AWD Touring drives a bit heavy on 2-lane country roads. By that I mean it dives slightly into a turn, with a sense of controlled side roll.
Granted, I’d just stepped out of Honda’s exceptional handling 2017 Civic Hatchback, a car that successfully injects 5-door utility and driving fun into Honda’s bread and butter lineup. So, my take on CR-V handling trends a bit pessimistic as of this writing. In short, Honda calls CR-V “The sporty SUV,” and when I inject the instant-on acceleration, torque, superior brake and steering reponce into the equation, I’d have to agree, CR-V is a pleasure to drive, especially on the long-run, it’s fantastic on the highway.
A minor annoyance
There’s no height or lumbar adjustment for the passenger front seat.
A very minor idle oscillation occurs at idle, while sitting at the stop light.
Engine and CVT pair to make a high-rev-run when accelerating hard.
I’d like to see a full glass roof in CR-V, it doesn’t offer one.
I find the (side bulb) rear tail light design a bit distracting in the rear-view mirror.
That’s it! As I stated back in late 2014 with the major refresh of CR-V, Honda’s exception 2-row SUV retains the title of “best in class” for a very simple and succinct reason – it is! While our fully loaded 2017 CR-V AWD Touring came with a MSRP of $34,595 (Includes a $900 destination charge, Honda roadside assist, and Sirius XM programming for 1 year,) my personal build sheet totaled MSRP $38,935, for a very well equipped, AWD, turbocharged, compact urban assault 2-row. At the end of the day, CR-V is easy! I like that.
Our collective hats are off to Mr. John Mendel as he vacates the top office at American Honda Motors for greener country pastures. No worries, American Honda Motors remains in very capable hands as 2nd in command Mr. Jeff Conrad picks up the Mic at a time when Honda can do little wrong.
With Accord, Civic and CR-V leading segment sales in the U.S. auto market, the future outlook remains bright for America’s # auto manufacturer. John Mendel leaves A.H.M.C. on a high note, with record sales recorded in 2016 — thanks to the continued sales success of the top-3 — as well as new-found market momentum in Fit and HR-V., both great values, presenting exceptional optional and standard passive and active safety features, Lane Watch, and a very decent transformable ‘magic-seat’ interior.
Ode to Mr. John Mendel, as published today in Honda-Torque News
John Mendel takes a final bow at American Honda
In a world of an eminent ongoing change, there comes a shift at American Honda Motor Company. An auto-world-celebrity in his own right, “Big John” Mendel will be missed.
I meet John Mendel at an Acura TLX event a few years back in Virginia. At that time, I found this big bear of a man, a formidable, well spoken, but effectively the “King” of American Honda Automotive, not overly approachable. With the Takata Airbag related threats would come bodyguards, that too would change.
I would come to consider John a friend as he went out of his way to share with me what he could about the inner workings of Honda, near future developments, and where the maker focused as to alternative transportation, safety, and electrification. Furthermore, I appreciated John’s personal acknowledgement of my work as an automotive journalist.
As it turned out, the more that I got to know John, I would soon come to realized that Mendel epitomized the roll-up-your-sleeves and get it done attitude that drives Honda. What you see with Mendel, is what you get. There’s no false pretense present, he’s a genuine Honda player, and a “car guy,” in the old-school sense of the auto industry.
John Mendel worked his way up through the Ford Motor Company, before transitioning to Mazda, and then Honda Motors in 2004 — just on time for the world-wide recession. He made it through the economic s… storm, Honda made it. John Mendel is well liked by dealers, the automotive press, and associates. Because, at his base corp. he’s one of us, a no-nonsense team player.
Effectively the head of Honda’s U.S. Automotive operations, John Mendel would appear time and time again over the years, sharing the good news, as to industry benchmark setting model roll outs, while putting out media fires, airbag recalls, and the supply chain cause and effect, of earthquake, and tsunami related impact on America’s 4th largest automotive brand.
Through good and bad times, “the buck stopped” at John’s desk, as he masterfully handled diversity, setbacks, and success, masterfully. All, to the bennefit of Honda, and its premium brand Acura, a true professional.
As with all entrepreneurs
As announced yesterday by Honda News, Mr. John Mendel will retire from Honda. He joins his sons in a micro distillery start-up in Mammoth California. I’ll be headed out to “Devil’s Creek Distillery” to sip some moonshine sooner than later, and wish John Mendel smooth sailing towards continued success.
As to the future of American Honda Motors, it’s in good hands with Mr. Jeff Conrad. Stay tuned.