"Angry Bees"

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by Mesa, Dec 25, 2018.

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  1. Mesa

    Mesa Member

    I have read the term "Angry Bees" for months but I had never experienced it, until last night. Christmas Eve I went to a relative's house, 18 miles from my house. Had 36 mile of EV and had used 18 miles of EV when I got to my relative's house. The EV range showed I still had 18 miles. Later that night, I went home but I did not take note of the EV range. It was cold, about 36 degrees. About 8 miles from home the engine started a high rate of RPMs, really high. I let up off the accelerator and it RPMs were still high. During this time I noticed the EV range was zero. I tried all the different mode on the way home, the RPMs were still high. I have owned my Clarity since March 15th, first time this has happened. So, for people who have experienced "angry bees", did it happen when your EV range was zero and before you selected the HV mode? Any explanation for the excessive RPMs? It seems the car would have accelerated with those high RPMs?
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  3. Tahuna

    Tahuna Member

    I can't help with what conditions cause the car to go into this mode. But as for your last sentence, remember that the engine is not normally connected to the wheels. In most cases the engine is driving a generator, and the generator is providing electricity to drive the electric motor, to charge the batteries, or both. Above a certain speed the car can decide to connect the engine to the wheels, but it's not always connected. In your case it sounds like your were low on battery power so the engine was generating power, but I can't say what might have caused that.
  4. Sandroad

    Sandroad Well-Known Member

    Sounds normal to me. You ran out of battery power on a cold night. The engine had to rev high to run the generator enough to power the car, heat the cabin, heat the seats (?), and light the lights. Plus whatever else created electrical demand. Once you run down the battery, the modes become somewhat academic because the car is going to have to rev the engine to run. Next time you’re on a 36 mile trip at night in the winter, use HV mode. See @Tahuna correct comments about connection between the ICE and the wheels.
  5. Once the battery is depleted, the only way for the car to propel itself is by using the engine to run a generator. At steady highway speeds it can mechanically couple to drive the wheels more directly, but for the most part, the engine is running a generator in this situation.
    By design, the engine speed won't correspond to accelerator setting or road speed the way you're accustomed to.

    [Sorry for duplicating the above responses. Multiple fingers typing the same things]
  6. Mesa

    Mesa Member

    Thanks for the responses. Now it all makes sense! I totally forgot that the engine does not always connect to the drive train. Duh! Yes, I usually do put on the HV mode before the battery is depleted, I guess that is the reason that I never heard those bees. Thanks again. Love the Clarity.
    jdonalds likes this.
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  8. MNSteve

    MNSteve Well-Known Member

    I wish that the algorithm that controls the driving characteristics switched to HV mode when there was still sufficient charge left to prevent this situation. I guess that the reason it works this way is to maximize EV range so that they can state an EV range of 48 miles; if they did the switch automatically before the battery was completely flat, that marketing number would have to be smaller.
  9. craze1cars

    craze1cars Well-Known Member

    This is not a problem, simply a characteristic. A feature. Yes different from a normal car. But normal for how this car operates.
    ClarityDoc and jdonalds like this.
  10. David Towle

    David Towle Active Member

    When the angry bees happened to me the battery was half full and I was going downhill at 45 mph. Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason to it.
    Mad_River and Ceetee like this.
  11. jdonalds

    jdonalds Well-Known Member

    It sounds like you may have been bitten by the often discussed HV reset behavior. That is if you turn the car off and intend to continue your journey in HV mode you have to do that yourself as the car does not remember it.
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  13. Dan Albrich

    Dan Albrich Active Member

    The "angry bees" sound comes on for me quite often, unless I remember to religiously press the HV button to try and preserve a charge. And of course this will likely be much less of an issue once the temperature (and subsequent battery performance) improves.

    So it varies somewhat from car to car, but also much depends on how cold it is. The battery performance is definitely impacted by cold. For most clarity users this is typically a 30% hit. For me personally, my Clarity seems to be 40+% loss in winter even with modest use of heater.

    But yes, when my electric range indicates zero, I get angry bees sound consistently and often. No matter the two bars of reserved electric which in my case means absolutely nothing.
  14. Yonno

    Yonno New Member

    I’ve been experiencing this issue (“angry bees”) for some time now as well. My normal commute is 47 mi. each way. I used to be able to do this on EV but now that the colder weather is here that is no longer the case. It generally happens shortly after the battery is depleted - can’t recall it ever happening while I am still have EV charge remaining. I did notice over the past few days where I did a longer trip that the bees did not appear when I started without any EV range. Makes me wonder if this is something that only happens when EV range is consumed - and before the car is shut off or plugged in? Does that make sense?

    Sent from my iPad using Inside EVs
  15. Sandroad

    Sandroad Well-Known Member

    Yes, that makes sense. It’s exactly the point of the posts above. On that long of commute in the winter, hit the HV button when your battery is about half full. The engine will come on, but normally won’t rev way high. That’s a lot of driving each day!
  16. On our longer drives, which are pretty common, we’ve settled on 50% battery or 20 EV miles remaining to switch to HV. We then go back to EV 20 or so miles from home, if we have no add’l drives planned that day. We’re still getting far better gas mileage than we’re used to with our gas-only cars and trucks, which was the whole idea!
  17. MNSteve

    MNSteve Well-Known Member

    This is exactly my technique, and it seems effective in avoiding the bees. I've become less aggressive on trying to roll into the garage as the range hits zero.
    Mesa likes this.
  18. PHEV Newbie

    PHEV Newbie Well-Known Member

    I second that suggestion. I think it is a disservice that PHEV manufacturers tell us to drive on EV and when the juice runs out, just drive in HV. Yes, technically you can do that but it's not a good idea because the 1.5 litre ICE in the Clarity is underpowered when not supplemented with a significantly charged Li ion battery (at least 50% but I've found 70% to be better). Think about it this way. The Accord Hybrid has the same i-MMD drive system as the Clarity, is 700 lbs lighter, and yet Honda installed a much more powerful ICE (2.0 litres). Why? Because Accord has a small Li ion battery that doesn't provide much power on its own. If Honda really designed the Clarity to be driven well on a depleted battery, they would have given us a 2.4 litre ICE to make up for the extra weight compared to the Accord Hybrid. Because Honda didn't, the Clarity must rev its little 1.5 engine high on a depleted battery and still not provide enough power when you need it (like climbing hills). The Clarity is a plug-in hybrid, not a BEV, so we need to adjust our driving style to the car. If you do that, it's a fantastic car. If you don't, it can be unsettling (as folks have complained) even though it's simply behaving as it's designed and it's not designed to provide anywhere near peak performance on a depleted battery.

    BTW, another benefit of not depleting your battery is to reduce the harmful effects of high depth of discharge (DoD). After high temperatures, the worst thing you can do to your battery is to fully charge and fully discharge often (even though Honda built in small buffers on both ends). I'm sure the battery will still last a long time if you do but charging every chance you have instead of always waiting for the battery to be depleted will make it last longer.
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2018
    Atkinson, Ray B and Sandroad like this.
  19. Serge

    Serge New Member

    I run into this problem yesterday for the 1er time since Juin when I got the car. It is not a good feeling as you also lose most of your power. The generator is running at full speed and full noise but you have no power. On the highway, this is dangerous.

    I was on the highway in HV sport mode when it happen. Temperature was -10C and had 10km EV range left. My solution was to recharge (HV charge). I put another 10 km of range in the battery and everything came back to normal.

    I usually keep half battery charge on long trip to make sure I don't run out of power. I use the last of my battery power on my way to a charger in EV mode (usually home).

    I notice that people who answer above understand how to get the most of their Clarity Phev. A 1.5l 100hp generator cannot keep up with the load in hard condition ( high speed, cold, mountain). Unfortunately, that is not explained in the documentation. There should be a note in the owner's manual mentioning that we should avoid running in HV with a depleted battery.

    There should be a warning in the display that you are about to get into low power mode. This way we could avoid getting into the angry bee mode by reducing speed, heating system set charge mode.

    Translation:10km=6 mile. -10C = 14F
  20. Dan Albrich

    Dan Albrich Active Member

    Knock on wood, while I get angry bees sound predictably, I've never seen a power-loss that was noticeable to me. The car always has had what I'd call a reasonable amount of power and responsiveness. I don't like the sound of the high rpm engine "angry bees" sound but the car otherwise has been solid. I also appreciate that under all circumstances I am using less gas. My actual mileage often matching the estimated 40-44 MPG (my highway mileage measured at 41 MPG)- so I'm pleased overall.

    If I'm vigilant about hitting HV for longer trips, I can keep the sounds of the car reasonable. So with some management, the car is usually very pleasant to drive.

  21. PHEV Newbie

    PHEV Newbie Well-Known Member

    The Clarity will still cruise fine at highway speeds and scoot you around town with a depleted battery. It doesn't take much horsepower to do that. It just won't give you the same level of acceleration for passing and power for climbing hills. Keeping a significant charge in HV will provide full power when you need it. You might not use full power much. Heck, I've never gone pass the click point while driving (I did try it when the car was off just to see what it feels like) but it's reassuring to know you have the power if you need it. What I don't know is whether the computer will deliver juice from the depleted battery buffer when you floor it. That would make sense since that could be an emergency situation. The car will certainly add charge to the depleted battery when its efficient to and that's available for use later like any regular hybrid car. It just seems that the algorithm is pretty aggressive on relying on ICE generation when depleted.
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2018
  22. David Towle

    David Towle Active Member

    As I and others have stated sometimes the angry bees/no power situation occurs with plenty of power left in the battery. All Clarity owners should realize this. I finally stopped it by going out of HV into EV and all was fine, and when I went back to HV 10 minutes later that was fine too. On first try I immediately switched back to HV and the problem was still occurring.
  23. PHEV Newbie

    PHEV Newbie Well-Known Member

    That's interesting and good advice. That sounds like a software glitch. Hopefully Honda will patch that. What I will relate is when I climb a small mountain grade outside of town in HV (with at least 60% on the battery), it will draw from both ICE and battery to smoothly power me up at high speed. No angry bees. When I reached the top where it flattens and then a slight downgrade, the ICE will rev higher (angry bees) than when I was climbing. It seemed to be taking the opportunity to recharge the big chunk of charge lost that was used for the climb. To me, that made sense but if you're not thinking about it, that could be disturbing.

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