Honda Clarity Electric Completely Out of Stock Nationwide?

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by MarkS, Aug 20, 2019.

  1. sniwallof

    sniwallof Active Member

    Congrats, good picture! Didn't know there are Honda branded fast chargers.

    In NY, when I got a call from the salesman that the car I was looking for just arrived on a truck, I gave them a refundable (I think $1,000 or $2,000) credit card deposit over the phone, also with the understanding that the car would not be used for test drives (had 4 miles on it). Not sure if that is state specific, or if you can do a refundable credit card reservation / hold in California too.

    Post note - They had the same special form for the PHEV $200 lease in Feb, 2019. My dealer used the wrong one, and had to send another to me to sign and return a day or two later.
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2019
  2. MarkS

    MarkS New Member

    By the way, I learned the lease on the Clarity Electrics are a special program. They even have a different set of "long forms" they use to print out at the Finance dept. The dealer is just an intermediary between you and American Honda Motors. They don't even try to push any non-sense fabric protector or alarm add-ons on you (very refreshing). They can't even add a trade-in to the deal. If you decide to trade in your current car (I didn't, I always sell on Craigslist), they'll give you a separate check for it outside of the lease.

    My last 6 of my VIN are also less than 400, like the previous poster. This means Honda has only manufactured about 1 Honda Electric per day for model year 2019. This is why it's so rare. Most dealers only get one per month since that 1 car per day has to be spread across all the dealers that are authorized to sell it in California and Oregon.

    Anytime I can get a car that sells for $55k USD equivalent in Japan for just $199/month (+TTL) with 20,000 miles allowed per year, I'm going to jump on it. I'm sure the special form has a bunch of fine-print in there (didn't read it all...only focused on the important $ figures) basically stating that I have no privacy and I'm just their Guinea Pig for the next 3 years. At the end of the 3 years they'll gather all the data they recorded and analyze it.
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2019
  3. MarkS

    MarkS New Member

    It's a Chargepoint DC Fast charger on the Chargepoint network, but they did co-brand it Honda as you can see. Is the Clarity Electric the only Honda that can do DC Fast Charging right now?

    I asked about putting a deposit on my CC over the phone to have them hold it for me, but they told me they don't do that. I think the "refundable" is the part that makes no sense for them, since they have no incentive to do it since you can back out and be refunded while they might have turned away a customer who showed up first at the dealer with their checkbook on hand.
  4. sniwallof

    sniwallof Active Member

    Still pretty cool, I wonder if they are starting to think ahead to more Honda EVs with DC fast charge (DCFC). yes, only the BEV, no fast charge for us PHEV. I'm sensitive to looking for DCFC units after six months of BOLT driving last winter.
  5. 2002

    2002 Well-Known Member

    It would be interesting to know how many Honda dealers in California have that, i.e. is it common or somewhat rare and depends on the dealer's interest level in promoting electric whether they install one.
  6. 2002

    2002 Well-Known Member

    I found a couple of interesting articles about the Honda Fit EV from several years ago. You can see some parallels with Clarity Electric, although we probably should be careful about making too many assumptions since it is two different cars several years apart. And yet the parallels are there, especially when considering the near certainty that Honda loses money on the current Clarity Electric lease price. $199 x 36 + $1,800 = $9,000 plus fed $7,500 tax credit (don't know if Honda gets money from CA), less whatever the dealer gets (probably minimal). This means that Honda gets approx. $16,500 income on a car that is likely scrapped after three years. (EDIT - of course they get ZEV credits but that's the point, they likely only produce as many as they need for the credits)

    Considering that a similarly equipped Clarity PHEV retails at $37,520 and there is at least anecdotal evidence that Honda loses money on the PHEV if they discount too many thousands below that price, especially in non-ZEV states, which supports a theory why the PHEV has been pulled back from everywhere but California and Canada (where Canadians seem more willing to pay closer to MSRP to get the tax credits). My guess is that the cost to produce the BEV is similar to the PHEV, the BEV has a larger battery but at est. $180 / kWh that is just a $1,500 additional cost, along with a heat pump and maybe a few other costs but the BEV of course does not have the cost of a gasoline engine.

    Green Car Reports July 2013

    Some interesting snippets:

    - (Fit EV is) a compliance car--a vehicle built and sold only in California (and a handful of other states) in just enough volume to meet its zero-emission vehicle requirements, which started in 2012.

    - (Honda's) position is indicated by its plans to lease just 1,100 Fit EVs over the three-year regulatory period--they're not for sale at any price.

    - After that it will take them back, relieving itself of 10 years' worth of parts and maintenance obligations. The fate of the cars themselves? We're not optimistic.

    - When Honda cut the lease price on the Fit EV, it was quickly swamped with orders--and had to apologize for the long waits.

    - But (Honda VP) said that the company's pace of Fit EV production won't change. Parts are ordered in very small batches, and there's little ability to "ramp up" production as you might on a conventional assembly.

    - Each of Honda's 200 electric-car-certified dealers will get one Fit EV at a time, potentially meaning one every four months.

    Clean Technica July 2013

    - The Honda Fit EV is only leased, and it took a loooong time for Honda to offer it on the East Coast at all. Despite very low sales, Honda announced in early June that it was sold out. It also isn’t exactly the most competitive EV on the market. All the signs of a compliance car there.
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2019
  7. DucRider

    DucRider Active Member

    The Fit EV was indeed a compliance car, as is the Clarity FCX and BEV variants (and now the PHEV as well - at least for the time being).

    The Fit EV's garnered a bit more revenue than your calculations, they were leased @ $259/mo for the first 3 years (the original lease deal was $389/mo, but they didn't move at that price - those that signed for that price got credits when they dropped it to $259). Those that chose to extend their lease for 2 years got the $199/mo rate (lease returns were also re-leased for 2 years at the $199 rate to new "owners). We would have been able to extend for a 6th year (i know a few did), but when a Clarity BEV was available, we made the switch.

    Fit EV's were hand built (about 40 per month). Plucked from the assembly line and finished in their R&D lab. Never intended to "make money", just to earn ZEV credits that otherwise would have needed to be purchased - likely from Tesla.

    At least some of the returned Fit EV's were used for other purposes. Car sharing projects for low income areas are one example

    They learned a lesson from the East Coast stated that got the Fit EV - short range EV's in bitterly cold weather are problematic. Couple that with a very conservative guess-o-meter and let the games begin :oops:. Favorite is the one where an owner did not have it garaged, but in the driveway (with L2 charging). Came out one morning in -20F weather, brushed off some snow, got in to his fully charged Fit EV. Turned it on and estimated range read 0! He took the ICE vehicle to work that day. It didn't take long for Honda to require owners to sign a document when leasing that stated winter range was drastically reduced. The Clarity BEV is not offered in cold Section 177 States.

    The Fit EV was very much (if not primarily) about gathering data from real world use. The Clarity (BEV and PHEV) also have some value there as well. The slightly bigger pack and heat pump on the BEV make a big difference in cold weather range (maybe the battery chemistry switch as well - though one of the touted benefits of the Toshiba SCiB LTO battery used in the Fit is low temperature performance).

    There were virtually no reports of any noticeable range loss from battery degradation in the Fit EV, even without liquid cooling (it had "active air" cooling with fans to move the air over the pack). Owners with 75K+ were stating "maybe a mile or two less". We plugged it in virtually every night and charged to full. 5 years and 50K miles later it had very nearly the same range and battery capacity.
    Hoon, 2002 and insightman like this.
  8. 2002

    2002 Well-Known Member

    My calculations were for the Clarity Electric but thanks for the info on the Fit EV leases that is something that I was interested in, especially what the price drop was that the article referred to that led to the waiting lists. No wonder the Clarity Electric has a waiting list at a lease price for a brand new vehicle, that adjusted for inflation is less than the lease was for a used Fit EV.

    Will be interesting to see if Honda also re-leases the Clarity Electric and for how many years. We had a report of re-leasing already but that would be for cars returned early since no one will have reached 36 months yet. Only thing is a re-lease for a 36 month car will have to be quite low if they keep the lease for new models at $199. They could raise the lease price on the new models but might be wary of doing that since the ZEV credits only apply to new leases not re-leases.

    One of the articles that I linked to also mentioned what you said that the Fit EV was hand built, basically modifying the existing Fit by replacing the powertrain. The article considered the fact that Fit EV was based on an existing gas powered car as one of the indicators of being a compliance car. Clarity Electric is somewhat different as it is a modification of the FCV which is already essentially an electric car, just with a different type of battery cell. Certainly Clarity Electric by itself meets other qualifications for being a compliance car, but together with the PHEV I think Honda was trying to be compliant but also try and gain some experience in full production, and they hoped that Clarity PHEV would allow them to do that with help from the the tax credits, as evidenced by putting the exact size battery needed to get the full $7,500 credit. I suspect that their hope was that keeping the PHEV price as low as possible combined with the tax credits would allow them to sell it nationwide at a small profit, and in east coast ZEV states for a slight loss. However this plan did not seem to work out anywhere except Canada. I'm not sure what else they can do with the current Clarity and don't expect to see it sold outside of California or Canada for the rest of its run in its current state. In 2021 if production costs come down a little, battery costs come down a little, gas prices go up a little (or a lot), they might decide to go for a restyling and upgrade to new infotainment and other things to enable another nationwide relaunch of the PHEV, maybe with some actual marketing. I hope so but it is far from certain at this point and they may simple move on to next model, a crossover or whatever.
  9. eneka

    eneka Member

    THe Fit EV lease also included collision insurance, all maintenance AND tires! The saleswomen that got me my Clarity said they had a Fit EV lease return that just sat on the lot for a year or two. They couldn't re-lease it or anything; Honda just had it sit on their lot.

    I was able to test drive a Fit EV a couple years back, but someone put a credit check down before it did!

    And congrats Mark! Looks like this current batch of Clarity Electrics are all White on black!

    The PHEV in japan has CHAdeMO which can quick charge the battery, or be used in reverse and power auxiliary devices.
    MarkS likes this.
  10. MarkS

    MarkS New Member

    I'd love it if they allowed me to extend the lease for 2 years at the end of the first 3 on my Clarity BEV. Now that I know that was the case with the Fit EV, I'll delay applying for the HOV access until January of next year, so that I can get an extra 9 months of it vs applying now. I was going to apply right away after I got my License plates from the DMV.

    So far, as long as I leave the AC on Auto and 74 degrees, it's provided me with 10% better range than the official EPA range on my 40 mile one way morning commute from LA to OC (without really trying, just my normal acceleration and deceleration habits). I thought I was going to get worse than the EPA official range. I'll see how I do on my way back from OC to LA where I get more stop-and-go traffic and higher temperatures for the AC to deal with. I can charge at the gym/mall where I work out after work, so no real range anxiety here, even if all 8 or so of the available free to use EVSEs there were unavailable. It seems like the only ones that are always full are the Tesla superchargers...don't know why, do most Tesla owners live in apartments where they can't charge at home?
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2019
  11. DucRider

    DucRider Active Member

    I would put it at a 90%+ chance an extension will be offered. Maybe not at a reduced price, but there would likely need to be a reduction to make any sense for the consumer (both CA and OR have rebates that would apply to leasing a new vehicle). The effective net cost of my lease is ~$143/mo when accounting for the rebate.
  12. eneka

    eneka Member

    After test driving my clarity, my cousin set out to get his own! Picked it up from Gardena Honda today! May/2019 build.
    Unfortunately they had a very different experience than I did, the salesmen was clueless wanted to charge them $3700 OTD and $279/m. They were getting mad at them when my cousins tried telling them about the official deal numbers and was about to blow them off saying there were 10 more people waiting for the car! They showed them my lease paperwork and some upper management finally stepped in to get the paperwork corrected.

    Had a bunch of dealer add-ons, 11miles range and no body plugs installed either.

    Attached Files:

  13. 2002

    2002 Well-Known Member

    The electric that you got a couple of weeks ago had a build date of 7/19, I wonder how this dealer had ten people lined up for a car with a build date of 5/19? Why didn't they sell it to one of the ten people waiting for it? Sounds more likely that people were probably going elsewhere because of all the add ons and trying to gouge on the price.
  14. eneka

    eneka Member

    Yup! I was quite surprised at the build date as well. I actually got on their wait list a couple weeks ago, and they called me today saying one just came in which I promptly let my cousin know. They had the anti theft vin stickers and door edge guards all installed already even though they said the car just arrived today. They were using the included 120v charger to charge the car even though it specifically says in the PDI sheet not to...we found out when they forgot to put it back and almost sent us on the way without it! I should tell him to check the tire pressures too considering how unprepared the dealer seemed to be.
  15. MarkS

    MarkS New Member

    My second time using a DC Fast Charger. It was at Honda of Pasadena. In the 30 minutes it took me to go across the street and eat a burger at In n Out, my car charged from almost empty to 80% full, 17.7 Kw.

    Fuel for both me and my car in 30 minutes!
  16. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member

    Both me and my Clarity PHEV would get fat on those diets.
    MarkS likes this.
  17. eneka

    eneka Member

    FYI Caltech has a free DCFC open to public!
    MarkS likes this.
  18. ab13

    ab13 Active Member

    Interestingly, Clarity BEV has the largest passenger room of any sedan BEV. So if the range is sufficient, then it works out well.
  19. MarkS

    MarkS New Member

    YOLO: You only live once :)
  20. MarkS

    MarkS New Member

    Oh no! Now I'm really going to gain weight since Pie 'N Burger is walking distance from Caltech :) I used to live a couple of blocks from Caltech for over a decade, I still go back to Pasadena once per month to the same Barber I've been using for 20 years now.

    I didn't see any DCFC listed on the Wilson garage on the Plugshare app. On there it says they have 4 J1772 Level 2, recently "upgraded" to the Powerflex Systems adaptive charging stations at $0.12/kWh. Still a good deal, as long as you park outside of the peak parking times when they require a city parking permit/school parking permit. When was the last time you charged there?

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