Fuel-cell cars are becoming the affordable choice. Honda recently announced that the lease price for its 2017 Clarity will be a less-than-expected $369 a month. The company had previously said that the cars would be leased for something under $500 a month—$369 is way under that.
The move is in line with Toyota’s lease price drop for the 2017 Mirai, from $499 per month in 2016 to $349 now. It’s likely Honda noticed that the more affordable price produced results—the Mirai sold 270 from January to July this year, but then there was a huge jump to 371 in August alone.
According to Sam Jaffe, an analyst and managing director of Colorado-based Cairn Energy Advisors, “Toyota and Honda need people in those cars, and a low lease price is not a big cost in a limited rollout. With more customers, the automakers get miles driven to analyze, and a whole lot of customer feedback. With new technology like this, the key is affordable vehicles—either through sales or leases.”
The low lease prices for the Mirai and Clarity are coupled with some very lucrative perks. The Mirai comes with free hydrogen for three years (a $15,000 value), plus free maintenance and rental cars for out-of-region journeys.
California residents—the only people who can buy the Mirai now—are also eligible for an up-to $8,000 federal income tax credit, a California state rebate of $5,000 and the possibility of a Toyota “Trailblazer” discount of $7,500. The 2017 Mirai has a $57,500 MSRP plus destination of $865, which becomes $37,865 with all those incentives. That’s close to the average Americans pay for their cars.
The Clarity is also available for both federal and state credits and rebates, and it comes with “up to $15,000” in free hydrogen, round-the-clock roadside assistance, and 21 days of car rental. The MSRP for the Clarity will be similar to the Mirai at “around $60,000.”
The Tucson Hyundai fuel-cell car has a MSRP of $50,875, with a $499 lease price. All three available fuel-cell vehicles offer long range: the Mirai, 312 miles; the Clarity 366 miles; and the Hyundai Tucson 265 miles. You get California HOV lane access with all of them.