Downhill at "Set" speed not working

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by jdonalds, Oct 6, 2020.

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  1. jdonalds

    jdonalds Well-Known Member

    We just traded our 2018 for a 2020 Touring Clarity last Friday. Everything is pretty much identical to the 2018 but my wife and I noticed the ACC is not working properly on downhills. Unless someone has wisdom on the subject I believe it is faulty and will schedule a Honda service visit to see if they can resolve it.

    The 2018 Clarity would quite nicely control the down slope speed if the ACC is on and set to the desired speed. The 2020 Clarity maintains speed, or will slow due to a slower car ahead, but does not limit downhill to the set speed.

    - SOC is about 50%
    - ACC is on and set to 45mph
    - ACC distance adjust is set to one bar
    - There are no other cars on the road
    - Regen is working as we go down the hill. The power gauge is into the regen area.
    - The car is not in traditional Cruise Control mode.

    At the top of the 1/2 mile long hill the car is going 45mph. The speed begins to increase and about 55mph we feel it is necessary to apply the brakes.

    I rebooted the system. I turned Main off and on to see if it would reset things.

    I read the manual which clearly indicates the set speed should be maintained on downhill slopes unless the slope is too great in which case the ACC would switch off (and beep I think).

    Does anyone have a similar issue or a fix?
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  3. rodeknyt

    rodeknyt Active Member

    It seems to me that during a ginormous road trip a couple of years ago, many times I had to either brake or use the left paddle to increase regen with the ACC on in order to maintain proper speed going downhill. I know, in theory, ACC on cars should maintain downhill speed by easing off the throttle and/or applying braking, but I don't think our 2018 Clarity touring does that.
  4. petteyg359

    petteyg359 Well-Known Member

    Mine (2018) definitely does it just fine. Set to 40 or 30 and it'll accelerate to get to the top of a rather steep train track overpass and brake on the way down the other side. Same everywhere else I drive over hills with ACC on. Granted they're shallow hills, and there's a light at the bottom of said overpass, so I have to brake anyway. Maybe the braking it applies has a limit and the hill was too steep?
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2020
  5. jdonalds

    jdonalds Well-Known Member

    Thanks. I wonder if anyone with a 2020 can chime in. Still the manual does indicate it should work so I don't think Honda changed anything.
  6. jdonalds

    jdonalds Well-Known Member

    Our 2018 (just traded in last Friday) did control downhill speed. I don't remember ever having to use the paddles to maintain speed on downhills. We have a 14% 1/2 mile long downhill beginning 1 mile from our house so we get to experience this at least twice each day.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2020
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  8. Alex800st

    Alex800st Active Member

    I have 2020 and she definitely accelerates downhill way above set speed. It is indeed in regen mode, but not enough to slow down.
  9. jdonalds

    jdonalds Well-Known Member

    Well that is a bummer. This is a feature my wife and I both very much appreciate.

    I suspect Honda has code modules for their array of cars that have ACC. My guess is someone grabbed the code for a different Honda product when they should have used the one specific to the Clarity and it's regen capabilities.

    I spoke with the Honda help line but they couldn't help. I just made an appointment at the local Honda service department to see if I can convince them this is a missing feature.
  10. JCA

    JCA Active Member

    You may have already done this, but one thing to double check is that you're actually in adaptive cruise control mode, not old-style cruise control mode. Does "Cruise Mode" appear in a box between the ACC and LKAS indications? If so, you don't want that mode -- hold the distance select button until it beeps and "Cruise Mode" disappears.

    "Cruise Mode" showing means legacy non-adaptive cruise control, which won't apply brakes either if going too fast or if too close to another car. My car was delivered in that mode, and it took a few, um, interesting tests in traffic where I thought ACC was broken before I found that in the manual. It's a VERY confusing indicator and I'm not sure what Honda was thinking -- "Cruise Mode" certainly doesn't make it clear, and "ACC" still appears in that mode even though it's in no way...adaptive.
  11. jdonalds

    jdonalds Well-Known Member

    I tried both modes. It doesn't work in either mode.
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  13. jdonalds

    jdonalds Well-Known Member

    I posed the same question on Facebook. So far it looks like 2018 models do control downhill speed in ACC but 2020 models may not. Perhaps this is just a programming error at Honda.

    Now I understand why some people talk about using paddles on down slopes. I suggested they use ACC but perhaps their Clarity didn't have the feature.
  14. JCA

    JCA Active Member

    Interesting. I live in a flat area and haven't had a chance to try it, but this weekend I might have a chance to take a spin up into the foothills and will try to find a good downhill to try in my 2019.

    The manuals for all 3 years say the following: On page 403: "Do not use ACC with Low Speed Follow under the following conditions: ... • On roads with steep downhill sections, as the set vehicle speed can be exceeded by coasting. In such cases, ACC with Low Speed Follow will not apply the brakes to maintain the set speed.". But then on page 415: "In the following cases, a buzzer sounds, ACC with Low Speed Follow is deactivated, and the message Cruise Cancelled: Slope Too Steep. Watch Downhill Speed appears in the driver information interface. • While descending a long slope and the vehicle has repeatedly applied the brakes to maintain the set speed.", implying that it might try to manage the speed briefly before giving up.

    If they did actually change something, it might have been intentional for safety. Having a car silently applying the brakes continuously for miles without the driver knowing seems dangerous. Having the car accelerate downhill is a problem, but it's obvious to the driver who can take other actions like downshifting an ICE, paddles in our cars, or consciously braking. Having the brakes fade and become unavailable because the car was riding them without your knowledge is a much bigger problem. Yes, they *could* use regen only (at least until battery full, then it would have to cut out), just like they could force an ICE car to downshift the transmission (well, an automatic at least), but the complexity and testing required to do that safely could be too high.

    But I will be interested to see what my car does, and to hear what the dealer says about yours!
  15. ClarityBill

    ClarityBill Active Member

    My 2018 has the brake lights come on when I am going down hills in ACC: It really seems to be using the brakes. I was disappointed that regen did not seem to be enough to control speed on hills.
  16. JCA

    JCA Active Member

    Brake lights don't necessarily mean it's using pads instead of regen -- when you step on the brake pedal lightly the lights come on even if you are mostly regenerating. I would bet that ACC feeds "brake this much" commands into the braking system around the same point that pedal input does -- because it's probably the same ACC system and used on other Hondas.

    The second reference in the manual implies that it will do *some* braking to hold speed down on a short downhill, but will give up and shut off (supposedly with a warning on the screen) on a long downhill to avoid brake fade, which makes sense if that part of the system doesn't get involved in the regen/pad balance. Better to let the driver manually downshift or set regen paddles which don't use the brake pads. Note that regen alone might not always be available or sufficient for the hill depending on speed and battery charge.
  17. Francofun

    Francofun Member

    2020, Canadian base edition: ACC fails to correctly control speed downhill :(

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  18. The traction motor is theoretically capable of providing the same amount of regenerative braking force as accelerative force. The inability to hold a speed on a downhill grade is a software/programming issue, not a mechanical issue. The car should be able to hold a speed and even decelerate while going downhill without ever utilizing the friction brakes.

    The reports of the ICE starting, to dump regenerative energy, while braking on a descent provides evidence that the traction motor is doing the braking, not the friction brakes, even though the brake pedal is being pressed down.
  19. jdonalds

    jdonalds Well-Known Member

    Thank you for your input Francofun. Every bit helps.
  20. jdonalds

    jdonalds Well-Known Member

    I just took a drive down our local hill when there was a car in front of me going 45mph. I was using ACC which was keeping my car at the one-bar distance all the way down the 1/2 mile hill. I didn't use the brake pedal nor the paddles. The car was easily able to regen and brake as needed to maintain the speed and distance to the car in front. So there is no question the car could do it on it's own while not following another car.
  21. stacey burke

    stacey burke Active Member

    2018 my car will use regain but not the brakes going down a steep grade. I drive over the continental divide several times a year. I have to apply the brakes if no one is ahead of me. It brakes as much as the regain is set at But it will go faster than the set speed on ACC.
  22. The Gadgeteer

    The Gadgeteer Active Member

    On downhills to get the best MPG avoid braking and even regen to take full advantage of the help gravity is providing. I end up turning off ACC during downhills for this reason because it prevents going above the set speed by using regen and/or brakes.
  23. ClarityBill

    ClarityBill Active Member

    I wonder if this is something they changed in the model year: What is your build date?

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