Cold Start - Thoughts?

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by aperson, Jan 24, 2019.

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  1. aperson

    aperson New Member

    I'm worried about whether the upcoming cold spell (-22 F w/o windchill next week in MN) might cause any issues with starting the car. I have an out of town work trip coming up next week and neither I nor the wife can afford a stalled car since we will not have the other around to back up.

    I think I heard some chatter about the car not starting below a certain temp (from the manual??). Has anyone experienced it? Any advice is appreciated.
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  3. craze1cars

    craze1cars Well-Known Member

    It's a straight-up statement from the owner's manual which is quite specific and clear:

    "If the temperature drops to below –22°F (–30°C), the fuel cells or the High Voltage battery will not operate and, as a result, the vehicle will not start."

    So I suggest you plan accordingly, and don't plan to do any travel at all with this particular car in those temps. Rent a different car, or Uber, or whatever if travel will be necessary...
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2019
  4. ClarityDoc

    ClarityDoc Active Member

    The battery generates heat during operation, so driving it at such temperature may not be the greatest risk; can you avoid cold soaking it at a temp below -22 F? Most garages are probably warmer than ambient temperature.

    Sent using Inside EVs mobile app
  5. Sandroad

    Sandroad Well-Known Member

    The -22F must be an overnight low. Just keep the car inside overnight and you’ll be fine. In the last cold blast we had here in Michigan (-15F), my detached garage was 40F warmer than outside.
  6. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member Subscriber

    There is heat generated when you charge the battery, so you can schedule recharging to have the battery at its warmest just before you expect to drive your Clarity. I expect that a Level 2 EVSE would generate more heat in the battery than a Level 1 EVSE, which spreads out the charging for a longer period of time.

    However, after you leave home, if you park in an extremely cold location, that charging heat will not be available to ensure you can get back home.

    It would be very interesting to see how many EV miles the Guess-O-Meter predicts from a full charge when the temperature is -22 F.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2019
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  8. MNSteve

    MNSteve Well-Known Member

    As a fellow MN resident, I am interested in your experience. I have not experienced any issues but I've not had the car that cold. My fear is having to park the car overnight outside in a hotel parking lot.
  9. Sandroad

    Sandroad Well-Known Member

    I see Hibbing is going to be chilly for a few nights this week. Any vehicle is going to protest if left outside at -28F! I lived in MN for a year and experienced cold like that. Even I don't start well in those temps. I attempted to cross country ski one night when it was -27F. It was like skiing on sand, even with polar wax.

    I still think it's manageable to use the Clarity in extreme cold, you just have to avoid leaving it outside when it's below -22F, which is probably best practice for any electric vehicle and for that matter, any ICE vehicle too
  10. MNSteve

    MNSteve Well-Known Member

    But up here, we've been plugging cars in for years, just not to charge a battery. Anyone who is going to leave a traditional car outside in temps like this probably plugs it in to keep the oil warm enough to have a reasonable shot of it turning over and starting. Unless you have the Canadian model, that's not an option for the Clarity.
    lorem101 and ClarityDoc like this.
  11. MPower

    MPower Well-Known Member

    Do you think that preconditioning could warm the battery enough to allow the car to start?
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  13. MNSteve

    MNSteve Well-Known Member

    I don't know if you can start preconditioning if the battery is so cold you can't start the car. Would be interesting to know.
  14. Richard Kelly

    Richard Kelly Member

    Pretty sure the -22 referenced in the manual is actual temps, not windchill. A car sitting out can't get any colder than the actual outside air temperature, which I don't think is supposed to get too much below zero this weekend. Not that I would risk it. If you can't be garaged, maybe alternating periods of charging and running the climate control can keep enough juice flowing in or out of the batteries to keep them warm.
  15. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member Subscriber

    I believe preconditioning uses the current from the EVSE to operate the climate-control system, not current from the battery (assuming your Clarity is plugged in). Charging the battery generates heat, so you should schedule your charging to end when you expect to start driving. The Canadian Clarity PHEVs don't appear to start their battery warmers until after charging is complete.
  16. LegoZ

    LegoZ Active Member

    Real temps not windchills up where my sister lives in Lakeville, MN
  17. LegoZ

    LegoZ Active Member

    If you do get stuck which I really hope you don’t please tell us what the car says. Good luck and stay safe and warm!
  18. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member Subscriber

    The Owners Manual (page 109) says you'll see this message:

    LegoZ likes this.
  19. LegoZ

    LegoZ Active Member

    In all of the older IMA hybrids they still had the 12v starter on the gas motor does anyone know if they still do that on these?
    I don’t get why they didn’t have a water water heat exchanger and use the ice to warm the battery, heck you could even use the cabin water heater for that. then there wouldn’t be that many more parts and the packs would all be the same.
  20. LegoZ

    LegoZ Active Member

    I would send you 5*F if I could.
    Robin likes this.
  21. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member Subscriber

    No, the low-temperature starter motor from the IMA hybrids is gone. Honda designed the i-MMD battery system to always have sufficient charge (two bars?) to start the engine with the starter motor/generator.

    The HV battery in the Clarity PHEV is lumped and contorted into strange shapes to pack it under the seats. Adding a water-based heat exchanger would be very difficult, if not impossible. Only a very small percentage of Clarity PHEV owners experience -22 F temperatures, so the added complication and potential problems of having water running through the battery pack didn't warrant the added bulk, weight, and expense.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2019
  22. The Gadgeteer

    The Gadgeteer Active Member

    Is your wife’s car a Clarity too and will she be in -22F or below that week? There might be a day or two you will have to Uber otherwise.
  23. craze1cars

    craze1cars Well-Known Member

    Lol anyone who lives north never talks seriously about wind chill’s all about actual temp and they know the difference between actual temp and wind chill. 0 degrees and 70 mph winds is no problem for starting a car. But a night of -30 degrees with dead calm is a serious problem for many vehicles. Mechanical things don’t know wind chill. Our northern members all understand
    this, and for this reason they ignore media driven wind chill factors...

    I noticed this morning that actual temp is -29F in International Falls. Next week it’s supposed to be colder than it is now...and if there is a blanket of snow on the ground, usually low temps get lower than the forecasts predict

    It will be an interesting and educational couple weeks for Minnesota and other northern Clarity owners, no doubt...

    Let’s face it. Everyone seems to think warming the battery by plugging it in might make a difference. This car has a basic temp sensor that displays outside temp on the dash. Who’s to say Honda didn’t program a simple instruction that says “disable starting circuit” if that dash number says -23, no matter if you somehow managed to warm the battery 5 degrees by plugging in at the perfect time. We have no idea. They did write a VERY specific temp in the owners manual. I HIGHLY doubt that number is a random choice. -22 is in the program somewhere.

    Truth is that nobody here knows the answers just yet...this is the first winter for probably 98% of Clarity owners. EVERYONE is speculating, guessing, and hoping. Over the next 7 days we will learn the answers. We shall see.

    Wih that in mind, I refer back to my first post and recommend that OP simply assume the car will not work and plan accordingly to either not use it, or to possibly be stranded. As anyone should plan for when temps get that cold wih most any car.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2019
    insightman likes this.

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