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Honda Clarity Handed Over to Los Angeles Prosecutor

No, there was no crime involved here. The handing over of the Honda Clarity fuel cell vehicle to a non-Hollywood person is a part of the car company’s promotion plan for its newest hydrogen vehicle.

Karen Thorp of Newport Beach, California, who regularly prosecutes mass murders as a senior deputy district attorney for L. A. County, has been blessed recently with a Honda FCX Clarity. She is the second “regular” person, behind fellow Orange County resident Jim Salomon for the honors.

Ms. Thorp is also squelching some of the hype behind the Honda since she’s reporting a total range in her vehicle closer to 200 miles and not the 270 – 280 miles estimated by the manufacturer. In addition, you can take that reported 68 mpge (miles per gallon equivalent) with a grain of salt also, since the attorney is reporting results more in the 45 to 55 mpge range.

Attorney Thorp is refueling her Honda FCX Clarity at the Irvine California station where I took some rather large photos a couple of years ago. Filling up there will give her sufficient range to make it to her job at Long Beach and back.

The New York Times has brought forth an interesting fact in that they say Honda is charging Ms. Thorp $649 per month for the lease of the Honda Clarity. This is more expensive than the $600 per month other sources are reporting such as the Clarity that is currently at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival or Honda’s own website that states, “3-Year $600 / month lease, Limited lease”.

So, I guess it pays to check out the fine print when leasing a car even if it is a cutting edge hydrogen fuel cell vehicle that so few are given the chance to drive. Upping the price on a prosecutor may not be the best PR move, so we’ll have to see what shakes out in future negotiations.

About Hydro Kevin Kantola

Hydro Kevin Kantola
I'm a hydrogen car blogger, editor and publisher interested in documenting the history and the progression of hydrogen cars, vehicles and infrastructure worldwide.

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  1. Why are we still messing around with gaseous and liquid hydrogen?

    Let a Clarity sit for a day after filling it or a week or longer, what is the
    range? As long as gaseous or liquid hydrogen storage is used, the
    range of fuel cell vehicles will be greatly impaired. Is noone in the
    automotive industry willing to let go of the whole liquid/gaseous fuel
    concept? I don’t get the weight argument. A fuel cell that can drive
    the Clarity is about the size of my ATX computer case and probably
    doesn’t weigh anywhere near what a conventional gasoline engine
    does. So with the weight savings, one can allow for a heavier metal
    hydride tank. Is it true that Polonium stores a lot more hydrogen than Magnesium? How far could the FCX Clarity go if Honda ripped out the
    high pressure hydrogen tank and replaced it with even a Magnesium
    Hydride slurry reforming system? Imagine a solid metal hydride
    system where refueling is a simple matter of swapping out the tank.

    If you have an Ovonics hydrogen tank, you need water and gaseous
    hydrogen to charge it, but it holds the hydrogen at a low pressure.

    Honda, if it really wants a commercially viable car, should experiment with
    a new fuel cell model that gets entirely away from compressed gas storage.
    I think a serious concerted effort at using Magnesium Hydride or Polonium Hydride would be very worthwhile. Toyota needs to try something else too,
    After all, how many 10k PSI hydrogen stations are there in the world?

    What is 400 kg if that is what a metal hydride system is going to weigh?
    What is the weight of a typical engine which is being replaced by a much
    lighter fuel cell stack? I’m guessing that the standard gas tank filled
    weighs about 90 kg. Okay, 400 kg is about 5 times that amount. Still, a
    lot of weight is lost by taking out the engine and replacing it with the fuel
    cell stack.

    If a metal hydride system brings the range up to 600 miles, it may not
    because of the weight problem, the additional weight is not a big deal.
    I’d like to see some real figures on what a Clarity equipped with a metal
    hydride storage system can travel on a single fill.

    Note to Honda, a Magnesium hydride system could be easily supported
    by standardizing a low pressure tank that swaps out easily.

  2. admin

    Thanks for your comments. My understanding is that compressed hydrogen tanks don’t have the boiled off problem that tanks filled with cryogenic hydrogen do. Swapping out the tanks may be a viable idea for some drivers, but for others like some of the elderly, this may require a full service station and slightly higher costs. On the plus side, though this doesn’t limit drivers from buying fuel from traditional stations as they would be able to buy hydrogen fuel at the same places they buy propane for their gas grills.

  3. Seems this writer must have awakened on the wrong side of the bed. Lets see, ask how much a new car, new boat etc is, and the price is without tax. This editor should have simply calculated what the tax would be on $600.00 and viola! There it is… the extra $49 dollars. Duh. As for range, the Clarity EPA certified range is 240 miles. If this customer doesn’t enjoy driving until the car runs out of fuel (most of us don’t) then HER range is 200 miles.. It’s that simple folks, move along, nothing to see here. So I guess it would pay this writer to check out the fine print himself, and pay attention to the reality of EPA certified range. Too bad these points became the article focus instead ot the merits of the car and the everyday driver.

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