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Honda's Clarity: Hydrogen's Hot New Ride

Honda FCX Clarity
Source: BBQ junkie
Honda FCX Clarity

It's not often I get geeked out driving new models with alternative fuel systems. Sure, I'm excited about the implications of driving a gas/electric hybrid or electric powered car, but the drive itself rarely blows me away.

Then I went for a ride in the new HondaFCX Clarity, the latest generation of the fuel cell car. The Clarity is no science project that just puttters along. It has the power and feel of a standard gas-powered car. Granted, it's not a hot rod, but it's no wallflower either.

I went for a spin in the new FCX Clarity that is being leased for $600 a month by Ron Yerxa, a movie producer (Little Miss Sunshine, Cold Mountain) in Santa Monica, California. Yerxa took delivery of his Clarity 3 weeks ago and since then has found himself always answering questions from strangers who want to know what the car feels like behind the wheel. The hydrogen powered car has better than average pick-up, smooth acceleration and a comfortable ride.

Honda is leasing 200 of these cars, but only in California. That's because the state has a handful of hydrogen refueling stations for the public to use. There will be more added in time, but for now California is the place to drive hydrogen. By the way, the FCX Clarity costs about $20 to fill up and can get up to 280 miles on a tank of hydrogen.

If future models of the Clarity can continue building on the promise of this model, there's reason to believe hydrogen can get us where we want to go.

Video: Cars powered by hydrogen, not gas, are hitting the road in California.

Questions? Comments? BehindTheWheel@cnbc.com

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