Honda Clarity, the Volt Challenger

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by bwilson4web, Dec 6, 2017.

  1. Tiralc

    Tiralc Active Member

    Similar to jdonalds, even in sport, regen 4, I've used only one mile of my gas range. There can be gentle driving in sport as well, one pedal driving just means that you feather the throttle, so as you let up on the accelerator pedal, regen comes in. I used L all the time, but never used sport mode in either of my Volts.

    I was wrong earlier about sport causing the engine to always be on. The threshold is lower for the ICE to come on in sport mode, but it isn't coming on with my gentle driving style, so all is well there too. I am a very happy camper.

    I don't like to bother with snow tires, so each new EV gets a better set of all season tires for snow, right from the get go. Been using Michelin Pilot or Premier A/S, but the Volt groups have been raving about the Pirelli P7s for years, so I'm going to try P7s this time. Will sell the brand new Clarity OEM Michelins on Craigs list to soften the blow.

    Also, set up service with my local Honda dealer and ordered the back-up sensor option, $830 installed.

    I'm using Clipper Creek LCS-20 "charge cord" (the PHEV charger is actually in the car, the EVSE is just a ground fault protection system, cord, plug) that I installed for my Volts some years back now, without problems. While the Clarity can charge at 32A L2, my CC is limited to about 16A, but no problems so far, and I don't need 2 hour full charge for now anyway (around 4 is fine).
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2017
  2. Robb Stark

    Robb Stark New Member

    I am in the " a plug-in car doesn't need to mimic an ICEv to be considered attractive" camp.

    I like the Clarity's looks. Aerodyanmic enhancing wide body on rear doors/fenders with air pass throughs in doors and skirts on the rear fenders.
     
    Ken7 likes this.
  3. Johngalt6146

    Johngalt6146 Active Member

    I saw a Clarity Touring at a local dealer today. It looks better than I feared, and I am awaiting it prep for a test drive. One downer seems to be that black is the only interior color available. That's really a trivial issue, but a bit odd.
     
  4. jdonalds

    jdonalds Well-Known Member

    I suppose you mean black is the only interior color available at your local dealer. Our crimson model has nice tan colored seats.
     
    Domenick likes this.
  5. Johngalt6146

    Johngalt6146 Active Member

    Tan would be perfect! BUT, I went to the Honda Clarity website where you can configure the car. Several exterior colors were available, but black was the only interior seating color that showed up. Hopefully its just a website bug. I really hope that you are correct. Here in the South, black cars and black seats don't work well. P.S. - Silver or Crimson exterior would be my first choices.
    Cheers,
     
  6. Tiralc

    Tiralc Active Member

    The exterior colors set the interior color; choose each exterior color to see what interior it has. For example, white exterior has a really nice looking beige interior. Solar silver only comes with black interior. Fortunately, I wanted to go back to black this time, so it worked well for me. Black is super cozy when it's sunny and -10F here.

    Also, try different nearby zip codes at autotrader.com to see what dealers near you have in stock (that's how I found my car).
     
  7. ether100

    ether100 New Member

    This car has almost all the features I'm looking for.

    A few questions for owners:

    1) How good is the rear visibility thru the split rear window? I sat inside the car but didn't drive it, and it appeared iffy.

    2) The HondaLink app has poor reviews on Google Play. How well does it actually work?

    3) Is it possible to preheat the car remotely, without using the app?

    Thanks for your help.
     
  8. jim

    jim Active Member

    Honda has had very poor battery life in their Hybrids. I wonder how they will hold up and how they may honor the warranty.
    They also only made 1,100 Honda FIT EVs and not one more to meet compliance numbers. I wonder how many Clarity vehicles they will sell and if they will be available nationwide at some point. The InsideEVS Sales score card shows very few made and sold so far.
     
  9. jdonalds

    jdonalds Well-Known Member

    1) After driving the Prius I find the visibility better in the Clarity. The view is through the back window. The lower window gives a view of the road behind the car. I think the lower window was unnecessary.

    2) The HondaLink app is challenging. The one feature that seems to always work is the Find My Car which shows where the car is on a map. It only works if the car is stationary.

    The main display of the HondaLink is supposed to show the EV range left in the battery, the HV range of the ICE, and the total range. You can't always count on it. I've found it is best to kill the app and restart a fresh copy every time. It seems the app doesn't ignore the cache. Killing the cache is as effective as killing the app.

    The battery level is unreliable, and works best if you are close to the car. It may connect with the car via Bluetooth although I can't find any documents which describe how the app gets it's data from the car.

    The parking reminder seems to work.

    The Odometer reading falls behind by a couple of days, then it updates like magic.

    I don't understand why Honda can't get this right, or how they've allowed it to be so unreliable for so long.

    3) The key fob has a button that starts the climate system (push the lock button first, then the climate button). The system will run whatever it has previously set to. Setting the climate system to Auto seems to make the most sense. All the key fob can do is turn the climate on or off.

    The HondaLink app can be set up on a repeating schedule. I have ours set to start the climate system 10 minutes before my wife leaves the house each weekday morning, but to do nothing on Saturday and Sunday.

    The climate system will not work properly if the car is plugged into a Level 1/120V outlet. We do not yet have our Level 2/240V set up yet so I can't prove the remote control of the climate system works.

    I suppose unplugging the car from 120V the climate system may work properly but I haven't tried that yet.

    If my wife drives 24 miles round trip without the heater on she will use roughly 24 miles of the battery EV estimate. When she turns the heat on in these December mornings (that have been in the 30s) the car will show 30 miles of EV used. In other words the heater draws a lot.

    Overall the HondaLink is a big disappointment. I'd hoped the brand new Clarity would show an improvement over the many comments in the Play Store.
     
    Domenick likes this.
  10. jdonalds

    jdonalds Well-Known Member

    In California they are required to replace the battery if it fails up to 150,000 miles.

    Honda says they expect to sell 75,000 Clarity Plug-Ins in 2018 - 2021. It is supposed to be available in all 50 states starting on December 1. Three were delivered to our local dealer in a small town in CA. We bought the first one off the truck.
     
  11. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Are you talking about older HEVs that use or used NiMH battery packs?

    I assume the Clarity PHEV uses lithium-ion batteries, like every other PHEV made in first-world countries. If you're talking about poor battery life with NiMH batteries, I would not assume that will carry over to a li-ion battery pack.

    On the other hand, we do need to know what kind of battery cooling system the Clarity PHEV uses. I think the data is pretty clear in showing that a liquid cooling system, such as Tesla and GM use, can result in excellent battery life; forced air cooling, such as the VW e-Golf uses, is less reliable; and passive cooling -- that is, no active cooling system at all -- such as the Leaf uses, means it's basically a crap shoot as to whether or not the battery will age prematurely or hold up well over time.
     
  12. jdonalds

    jdonalds Well-Known Member

    Prius uses air cooling and the batteries have been extremely reliable.
     
  13. jdonalds

    jdonalds Well-Known Member

  14. jdonalds

    jdonalds Well-Known Member

    This paragraph is from a Car and Driver blog.

    "That said, emissions-free highway cruising is possible; the plug-in hybrid can still reach 100 mph if you go easy and don’t push through the accelerator detent. One thing that might curb electric driving in the plug-in is a cold snap. The Clarity electric has a single water-cooling system that covers the battery pack, power electronics, and motor, and while all Clarity models have resistive heating, in the Clarity electric it’s supplemented by a heat pump. Plug-in models also get an electric-powered engine-heat-based system that works as the primary heat source when the engine is running; Honda requires it to be run at cold temperatures (below 14 degrees F)."
     
  15. Johngalt6146

    Johngalt6146 Active Member

    Dah - I should have figured that! I now note that there are 6 exterior colors and 2 interior colors. Half the exteriors force a black interior. The other half force a tan interior.
    I'm looking forward to my test drive. I am curious about two things: transient at switchover from battery to ICE; acceleration from 30 to 70 (e.g. when pulling onto a freeway.) Cheers,
     
  16. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web Well-Known Member

    I think the Honda Clarity plug-in is a significant ride to which I would also cite the Pacifica plug-in. I just wanted to add some details about the Prius.

    As a former Gen-3 Prius (2010-2015) owner, our 2017 Prius Prime has significantly improved visibility. For example the outside mirrors are shaped with a triangular outside edge that covers the blind spots. I'm also more aware of the front bumper. I agree the Gen-3 left a lot to be desired.

    About the Toyota hybrid batteries, there have been three generations of NiMH batteries in the USA Prius. They added internal cell-to-cell connections that reduced internal resistance and evened out the heat. They also strengthened the case. But now Toyota is switching to LiON which reduces weight and increases Ahr.

    Bob Wilson
     
  17. Tiralc

    Tiralc Active Member

    On the app - The Clarity can join the home WiFi network (a WiFi setting screen on the center console). That connectivity is relatively fast (2 seconds) compared to the Volt which had to connect via Onstar cellular and often took minutes or more to update. The Volt app was slightly more informative. Not sure about accuracy, it certainly updates during charging and I get notifications when charged. These apps are for parked position only, and do not update while driving (sometimes the app even asks if you are being safe, and not driving while using the phone app). You can also start and stop charging from the app, not sure why, but it's there and works.

    More app - A super useful feature is that you can program the climate pre-condition time for each day of the week. The climate control comes on at the preset times, and runs for up to 30 minutes. This should be ideal for commuters.

    At the bottom of the app, you can search for gas, ATMs, coffee, restaurants, etc. Seems to work fine, but does not send a location to on board NAV like Onstar or the Chevy Volt app could.

    Climate precondition - works fine either by daily program or key fob (lock then climate for a few seconds, lights blink, I think 6 times). Oddly, preconditioning is slower than the Volt, takes longer to warm; however perhaps more importantly, once driving, the Clarity heats much faster than the Volt, and also is less sensitive to air flow local driving vs. highway (had to turn my Volt Gen 2 controls much higher on the highway).

    energy use from heat - yep, resistive heating really kills battery milage. Yesterday, I said that with gentle driving, even in sport - regen 4 (for one-pedal driving), that the engine does not come on. Yet, I was leaving a parking lot, heat set to 70, seat heat level 1, and I realized the engine was running. No idea if it is like the Volt where occasionally ICE comes on by itself due to outside temperature, or if it saw my heating settings and decided to help out (?). Anyway, I turned the seat heater off and ICE went off, more to learn.

    ICE - generally, except on the highway, I may not be noticing when it comes on, or why. Probably drove about 20 miles yesterday and my ICE gas range number went down by 4 more miles from 374 to 370. I suspect it was trying to help heat the car. Highway ICE noise is comparable to Volt Gen 2, but probably more constant with less periods of momentary higher RPMs.

    Have not taken any data on acceleration 30 - 60, however it is plenty good enough to comfortably enter the highway or for passing.

    On batteries - I am not really worried, but the manual says something like beyond normal degradation without giving numbers. I did buy the highest level of Honda extended warranty (about $1850). The Volt battery has been maintaining rated values over years (since the earliest Gen 1 models from around 2011). Rumor has it that there may be some overhead where because EVs only use some large percentage of capacity, maybe the computer can compensate a bit as the battery capacity reduces, no idea if true.

    The Clarity does appear to have a separate cooling reservoir for electronics and HV battery (separate fill points under the hood). Most of the reviews and blogs have significant incorrect information, e.g. most still say that one-pedal driving is not possible where it certainly is in Sport, regen 4. So, while possibly not as sophisticated as Volt (LG?) batteries, the clarity batteries do appear to be liquid cooled. The manual shows separate Inverter coolant expansion tank, High voltage reserve tank, and Engine coolant reserve tank. Screen Shot 2017-12-16 at 11.44.38 AM.png
    Screen Shot 2017-12-16 at 11.53.36 AM.png
    Screen Shot 2017-12-16 at 11.53.51 AM.png
    Visibility is better than Volt. There is also a camera in the right side driver mirror. That picture fills the center display when the right turn indicator is on. However, you can also turn it on manually while driving by pressing the button at the end of the turn indicator stick (looks like a window washer button). I noticed the picture was helpful in a crowded parking lot yesterday.

    The Volt group often posted read the friendly manual (RTFM). Seriously, even for a test drive, most sales persons are not going to know a lot about the Clarity yet (if ever). Download and at least quick scan the manuals before your test drive if seriously considering a purchase.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2017
  18. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Indeed. EV purists may not like the idea of a PHEV engineered to use ICEngine heat to warm the battery pack in very cold weather, but from the standpoint of efficient engineering I think this is a good design. A resistive electrical heater is very wasteful of energy. Furthermore, if I understand it correctly, the ICEngine only has to run for a few minutes to warm up the battery pack.
     
  19. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Yes, I found that by Googling too; but that specifically refers to the "Clarity Electric", the BEV Clarity. It's the PHEV Clarity which is under discussion here.

    * * * * *

    Tiralc posted an image of what I think (altho he did not caption it) what appears to be a page from a .pdf manual for the Clarity PHEV, reading in part:

    "Coolant is used to reduce the temperature of the high voltage battery and inverter coolant."
    Looks like either some bad editing there or else it's too terse and needs a longer description, but this part seems pretty clear: The battery pack is liquid cooled.
     
  20. ether100

    ether100 New Member

    Thanks for all the detailed useful replies.

    My Focus Electric would go into 'Auto' climate mode (regardless of the actual climate setting) when the climate control was turned on with the key fob. This is useful because even if the A/C had been on previously, but the morning temp is cold, the heat would still come on with the fob. Is this how the Clarity operates, or does it simply turn on the climate to the previously used setting, as jdonalds says? If the latter is true, it's quite useless for unscheduled preheating.

    Also how well does the preheat work when it is not plugged in?

    Tiralc, compared to which generation Volt do you find the visibility in the Clarity better? The gen2 Volt oddly has no lower window and I found the visibility to be quite poor.
     

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