2019 Canadian Clarity Harsh Winter Question

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by Andrew97, Aug 17, 2019.

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  1. Andrew97

    Andrew97 Member

    Hi every one, i know that Canadian Clarity's come with a battery heater. I just wanted to know if the car use the battery heater when is not plugged in & still has +60% charge. For example letting the car outside when at work at around -32C, will i not be able to go back home because is too cold or the car will use a little bit of juice to keep the battery warm even if is not plugged in. At home no problem because i have a level 2 charger and the car is almost always plugged. I live in QC and winters here are really harsh, i just want to make sure that i can drive around with my car and not getting stuck because of the extreme cold weather.

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  3. 4sallypat

    4sallypat Active Member

    Wow, that's cold!
    Almost like Siberian temps.

    I would most certainly look at making sure your fuel tank is filled up.

    Your miles per EV charge will be very low but expected at that low of a temp.

    Make sure you swap out the factory tires for snow / winter tread rated tires....
  4. victor_2019

    victor_2019 Active Member

    I expect the heat pump will keep the battery warm all the time. Since it's a heat pump it will not use a huge amount of battery.

    If you use preconditioning while plugged in it will also help with range, but in -30 days you can expect the range to drop in half.

    I just bought mine this summer so i haven't experienced winter yet with the clarity but the model was sold here since 2017, so others have.

    For Quebec winter questions you might have more luck on the AVEQ forums.
    Olive likes this.
  5. Andrew97

    Andrew97 Member

    Thanks for your answers, yes i ready for winter just worried about the battery and that the car won't start. Didn't know was a heat pump tho. Also thnx a lot for letting me know there a QC EV forums, looks great!
  6. victor_2019

    victor_2019 Active Member

    Someone on AVEQ reports winter range at 50km when it's cold out.
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  8. sniwallof

    sniwallof Active Member

    -32c is about -25F, many of the northern U.S. states get that cold in winter, from North Dakota, Minnesota, all the way across through upstate, NY and New England inland from the water. We routinely see a few mornings of -32c every winter between Syracuse and Albany, and the U.S. models don't have the extra heater. The record low here is about -34c (-30F). Because I do not commute daily, I cannot add a meaningful report, half range sounds about right.

    The Siberia like records for the U.S. are in Alaska, down to the -60's c, or -80F. Some of the episodes of Ice Road Truckers show what that is like on the open roads. Probably many remote places in Canada approach those numbers too.
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2019
  9. Evfred

    Evfred Member

    The owners manual suggests that the battery heater only works when plugged in. I’m in Canada but BC so we don’t have real winter so can’t verify this. I remember reading a separate thread that concluded it won’t work under battery power only.
  10. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member Subscriber

    I don't believe the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid has a heat pump, only resistance heat. Heat pumps aren't well-suited for very cold temperatures.
  11. Paddy

    Paddy Member

    My understanding is Clarity won’t keep the battery warm if it’s not plugged in. So it’s possible it can’t start after parking outdoor for a long day when the temperature is extreme cold. I wish there is a software patch for an option to automatically start the ICE to warm up the battery when its temperature drops close to the threshold

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  13. victor_2019

    victor_2019 Active Member

    I read the manual and it's true that it's not clear at all what will happen.

    I will ask on the quebec forums for other people's experience.
  14. MNSteve

    MNSteve Well-Known Member

    If you believe the party line published in the owner's manual, you will be stuck. It is quite specific that the car will not operate if its ambient temperature is below -30C. I do not believe that the battery heater operates when the car is not plugged in. But don't you have any facility for plugging in traditional gas-powered cars, which are also unlikely to be happy at that temperature?

    The good news is that I have been watching for an actual report from an actual owner that their car would not operate because it was colder than -30, and I have not seen such a report. I now wish that I had taken the opportunity last Winter to leave my Clarity outside overnight when the temperature dipped below -30 as a scientific experiment, but I couldn't bring myself to subject it to the trauma of starting at that obscene temperature just for my quest of knowledge. But if I haven't seen a report of someone doing it, I feel compelled to do it next Winter.
    2002 likes this.
  15. victor_2019

    victor_2019 Active Member

    they're not happy, but they still start.

    I've been living in Montreal for 25 years and we've never plugged a regular gasoline car in the wall for block heating, and I've never had problems starting any car. it may crank for a few more turns than in summer but eventually it starts (of course you need to have a 12V battery that's got enough juice. not sure if canadian cars get stronger 12V batteries than in the states).
  16. victor_2019

    victor_2019 Active Member

    Many houses in Montreal use heat pumps for heating in winter. Yes, they need some supplementary heating such as heating strips when it's very cold out, but most of the time it's not -20 outside and a heat pump will still save you money on heating even when not running at full capacity. Also, there are heat pumps designed to run down to -20 or -30C and still give you good heat, so it's possible.

    according to this page at least, the Canadian Kona EV comes with a heat pump which is supplemented by a pure resistance heater when it's really cold out. Although that page shows PTC used below 0 degrees C and heatpump above 0.
  17. 2002

    2002 Well-Known Member

    Most EV's seem to have a heat pump, which makes sense because heat pumps are very efficient, and they are essentially just an add-on to the existing AC system, and as you said resistance heat is needed only for temperatures that are below freezing, although some will apparently work a few degrees below freezing. Heat pumps add a little bit of complexity and additional cost and require more space, but for an EV the tradeoff is worth it in electricity saved when using the heater in temperatures above freezing.

    For a PHEV however not so much because anytime that you are in HV mode then of course there is "free" engine heat available so it's certainly worth installing a traditional heater core in the cabin and routing heater hoses to it. A heat pump would then only be used for EV mode, and you would still need a resistance heater for EV mode below freezing. For Clarity they decided to just go with engine heat, which will work in all temperatures as long as the engine is running, and a resistance coolant heater for EV mode, which again works in all temperatures. Simpler and lower cost and takes up less space, but unfortunately in EV mode in temperatures above freezing the resistance coolant heater uses more power than a heat pump would have.
  18. WindsorBoy

    WindsorBoy New Member

    I'm not sure on the battery issue but we had some pretty cold weather here in Ontario last winter and I was always able to get around. On the coldest few days I found the ICE engine ran more often, but otherwise I didn't have any problem driving with extreme cold temperatures.
  19. victor_2019

    victor_2019 Active Member

    OK, but the electric heater could still work to keep the battery warm if it gets too cold...

    when the battery is charged you can use the preconditioning to heat up the cabin even if not plugged in, doesn't that heat the battery as well?

    How does a regular hybrid like an Insight handle the cold?

    Although I don't think it will be a huge problem now that I think about it:
    first even if outside it's -30C doesn't mean the battery will be at -30C. the battery takes a long time to cool down when not actively cooled, as demonstrated by the problems the Leaf owners are having.
    and if the battery is indeed very cold, then the engine will turn on.
    At this point the generator connected to the engine is turning so I assume the electric heater can work to quickly warm up the coolant and then that warms up the battery.
  20. RichL

    RichL Member

    [QUOTE="Hi every one, i know that Canadian Clarity's come with a battery heater. I just wanted to know if the car use the battery heater when is not plugged in & still has +60% charge. For example letting the car outside when at work at around -32C, will i not be able to go back home because is too cold or the car will use a little bit of juice to keep the battery warm even if is not plugged in. ..." [/QUOTE]

    I live in Toronto/GTA and my Clarity had a low estimated range of 55 Km at 100% charge on the coldest day of -30C overnight in an unheated but attached garage. The battery heater will only turn on when its plugged-in and only after charging is complete as charging generates heat in the battery pack.

    I think the Canadian manual recommends plugging in at your destination if you leave the car exposed to prolonged temperatures below -30C - like outdoors at work for 8 hours. Never experienced cold-soaking the batteries below -30 since I park indoors, even at work. Pre-conditioning the interior will warm the interior and the warmth may bleed over to warm the battery pack slightly but I don't think its worth the loss of charge - certainly you can't pre-condition for 8 hours.

    It would be interesting to see if the car starts with a cold battery pack but if it doesn't then according to the manual - you can wait for the battery pack to warm-up (with warmer ambient temp which could take days in QC) or you can plug it into a charger. If it does start with a cold battery, I'd suggest running the car in HV where the ICE is on to reduce the discharge load on a cold battery pack.
  21. victor_2019

    victor_2019 Active Member

    I assumed that the same cooling loop used by the motor was also used by the battery and therefore pre-conditioning, which warms up the coolant, will also warm up the battery.

    either way, the manual says that if it's too cold then you start the car and wait for the engine to warm up the battery before you can drive off. You don't need to plug the car in.
  22. RichL

    RichL Member

    If the High Voltage battery pack is too cold, I don't believe the car will start. It always started in EV mode. I've never seem the car start with the ICE coming on immediately. Based on the Canadian manual, if the battery pack is too cold, it may not start.

    Btw, pre-conditioning uses the the electric resistance heater only and will not run the engine (danger CO poisoning inside a attached garage) so the battery cooling loop is not a factor.
    upload_2019-8-19_14-27-26.png upload_2019-8-19_14-27-41.png
  23. victor_2019

    victor_2019 Active Member

    this is what the manual says. based on this, you start the engine and wait for it to warm up the battery.

    8-19-2019 3-14-21 PM.png

    as far as I know the cabin heating is done via the coolant loop and the electric heating is actually heating the coolant, so if the same coolant loop is also conditioning the battery then the preconditioning would help warm up the battery.

    according to the abstract of this Honda paper that is what is happening:



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