Clarity heater, relatively cool air from vents

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by Dan Albrich, Nov 10, 2019.

  1. Dan Albrich

    Dan Albrich Active Member

    So my Clarity hasn't usually had 'normal' EV range compared with others-- on the low side.
    My estimated range is now down to 28 miles, and it will go down further (we're not very cold yet here in Oregon).

    So what I notice, I get in my car and I'm cold. If it's say 43F outside, and I turn the heat to 70F with the dial, warm air does not come out of my vents. Is this sort of like a heat pump where it warms super-slow? I find to get noticibly warm air from the vents I select 80, or just spin the dial to HI which works. I can get warm/hot air, but if and only if I do high temp on the dial.

    So just curious what others experience is. Maybe the reason my EV range is lower than usual is that I simply must 'goose' the heat to get heat, and maybe that's not normal.

  2. It's not a heat pump. It's resistive electric heat except when ICE waste heat is being used.
    4sallypat likes this.
  3. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member

    For those who use the heater, which is faster to bring heat to the cabin, electric or ICE heat (oxymoron alert)? I pre-condition before I leave and use the seat-heater if it's so cold that the cabin cools before I reach my destination 18 miles away.
  4. fotomoto

    fotomoto Active Member

    If the HVAC is in AUTO mode, one mode is for cooler air to come out the upper vents with warmer air via the floor vents when the system using humidity, temp, and/or light sensors vs. set temperature decides so. This is the equivalent of the Hi/Lo setting on the fan selection menu on a manual system.
  5. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member

    I knew the Clarity, like many cars, can vary the temperature for the driver's vents vs the front-seat passenger's vents, but never knew it could send cooler air to the dash vents while sending warmer air to the floor vents. Do the floor vents get warm air sooner than the dash vents?

    I would expect the electric resistance heater could provide heat quicker than waiting for the engine to heat up. Is that true? Which heat source can provide warmer air? It's funny that I'm asking this question after driving our Clarity in Michigan for 2 years, but I just never heat the air after the car's unplugged.
  6. JCA

    JCA Active Member

    Dan, just to see if that's it, try manually setting air to come out of the upper vents only and temperature to 70; if you don't get *warm* air within a minute there could be something wrong with your heater circuit.

    I know in mine the electric heat comes on very quickly and very warm, usually to my great annoyance -- in the summer here it's in the 90s+ in the afternoon, so I set AC on with temp at 70, but in the mornings it's usually in the low 60s, which is pleasantly cool and doesn't require heat but hot air starts blasting at me as I leave the driveway until I spin the temp down to Lo and then press Climate, wait, and turn off the AC because I don't want that either. I very much dislike the climate controls -- really prefer the old style manual controls right on the dash, but would settle for a separate Heat To and Cool To setting (which I'd probably set to 55 or so).
    Al-clarity and insightman like this.
  7. JCA

    JCA Active Member

    Meant to add -- I don't *think* the heater (or AC) is multi-stage, so whether set at 70 or 80 shouldn't make a difference (if the inside temp is below 70 of course) in how warm the air coming out is, but would be interesting to confirm. I think the climate control performance change they mention in Econ mode is just allowing a larger swing when cycling (e.g. heater reaching 70, then allowing to drop to 66 before coming on again instead of 68, or AC rising to 74 instead of 72), but again I could be wrong.
  8. Sandroad

    Sandroad Well-Known Member Subscriber

  9. M.M.

    M.M. Active Member

    I live in a mild climate (coastal northern CA, rarely above 60F but also rarely below 40F), and running electric only, even on cold early mornings with no pre-heating I get warm air in the cabin MUCH faster than any pure-ICE vehicle I have ever owned. I'm getting warm air before I reach a particular corner six blocks away.

    I suspect there's no real way to tell if the ICE is "faster", since it will probably start heating off the battery then switch to ICE waste heat once that is available, but in my not-super-cold experience the EV heat is surprisingly fast.

    For what it's worth, I used to notice a significant drop in EV range in my Volt when it got cold outside, and the Clarity seems to be much less noticeable even without being particularly thrifty with climate control. I tend to just leave the heat set at 68 or 70 unless I'm really trying to goose range, which for the 30-40 mile round trip driving I do still results in no gas use at all.
    4sallypat and insightman like this.
  10. Dan Albrich

    Dan Albrich Active Member

    Wow, I love these forums. Extremely helpful. I selected Front (I presume Front only) using the button. From the climate button, the only defrost I see is the combined front and feet option. I turned it to 70 on this cold night, and no warm air out the defrost vent at all, and I waited 2 minutes, nothing. I turned it to HIGH and waited longer, still no warm air at all.

    As others noted, it never occurred to me that the air coming from the floor would be different than the defrost vents. So I speculate that when I've been using the defrost/floor the only warm air I get is from the floor, and hence why I need to crank it. Anyway, looks like I just need to find that service bulletin already referenced and ask my dealer for a fix.

  11. KentuckyKen

    KentuckyKen Well-Known Member

    While I don’t use my heater much, I have noticed that it modulates not only the speed of the fan but also the temperature of the warm/hot air even on auto. It seems to me like it’s programmed to use the least amount of energy to satisfy the temp setting. And mine does come on very quickly and faster than my old gasmobile.

    It’s a resistive heating element inside the ICE coolant loop that shunts the ICE part off of the loop and circulates hot/warm coolant to the heater core. That makes it very safe from overheating in a malfunction since it’s encased in water. I also believe that a diagram was posted showing it will switch over to engine heat when that is available since it’s trying to be as efficient as possible.

    Does anyone know if it is what is used on the Canadian models to heat the battery loop? And does anyone know if it is ever used to preheat the ICE in extreme conditions?
    Olive likes this.
  12. 4sallypat

    4sallypat Active Member

    I am in the warmer southwest part of California and hardly ever turn on the heat but I as @M.M. stated, on cool mornings, I do notice the Clarity heats up the cabin much faster than my ICE car.
  13. AnthonyW

    AnthonyW Well-Known Member

    Actually the HVAC is multi-stage and the steps change in multiples of 8 degrees difference vs inside temperature. Last winter I conducted a test with my Scangauge. While in park with all accessories off right after starting the car I recorded the Air Inside Vehicle reading from the SG. I observed the Current reading which shows you the real time Amp draw. This was my baseline. Turned the heat on with a low fan setting and immediately set the temp to match AIV. I observed the amp draw and continued to observe the amps while slowly increasing the temp. I noticed a clear increase in amp draw when I increased the temp from 7 to 8 degrees above AIV. Same thing from 15 to 16. Same thing for AC operation.

    By the way the temp reading for inside the car is slow to change. I believe that is due to placement of the temp and humidity sensor. If you look/feel just under the Power button there is a little vent where it is located.

    Sent from my iPhone using Inside EVs
    KentuckyKen likes this.
  14. JCA

    JCA Active Member

    Very interesting; I stand corrected. I'm not surprised that the heater is multi-stage, since that's relatively straightforward to do. Variable AC compressors are more complicated, but it's definitely possible.

    I'm most interested that you're able to get "current" and "air inside" data; I'd love to get that with the BAFX OBDII reader and Torque Pro that I have. Is there any way to extract the PID or other identifying info that the Scangauge is using?
  15. AnthonyW

    AnthonyW Well-Known Member

    I’ve tried a few and Scangauge is the only one that I found that can pull it. I heard that Aukey can pull it but they are kind of pricey.

    Sent from my iPhone using Inside EVs

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