ICE Breaker

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by bobcubsfan, Jun 4, 2018.

To remove this ad click here.

  1. bobcubsfan

    bobcubsfan Active Member

    Those of us who have reported the ICE issue where in comes online unexpectedly should band together and do the following:

    I just opened a ticket with Honda. I suggest all who are having the ICE issue do the same. Here is what I wrote:

    Our Clarity Hybrid has a behavior where the internal combustion engine (ICE) comes online when it should not.

    The vehicle is in ECON mode. EV shows in the instrument panel.

    The battery is full. Ambient temperature is nominal between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The behavior is random. Sometimes when the car has been driven less than a mile, the ICE will come online at a stop sign after a full stop. Other times it will not do this under the same conditions.

    That is not the way an EV vehicle is supposed to operate. It should stay in EV mode all the time. Since the Clarity has an ICE (internal combustion engine), it should come online only when the battery is low. Perhaps 10% would be normal.

    In the first month we had the vehicle it did not do this very often. Now, it happens regularly.

    The dealer said there is nothing to be done. I am not the only Clarity Hybrid owner that this is happening to. See the forum at

    We really think the car, in general, is much better than the Nissan Leafs we had the last 7 years but its behavior is unacceptable. So, here is my proposal:

    Either the problem has to be fixed, or I will invoke the State of California Lemon Law. That means the vehicle has to be replaced or our down payment and lease payments have to be refunded.

    You can open a ticket here:

    Of course, modify it to suit your personal situation.

    It is good that we share with each other, but how can we know if Honda is listening? If Honda receives a lot of tickets, instead of just mine, perhaps they may Listen.
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2018
  2. To remove this ad click here.

  3. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member Subscriber

    First, let me say that we purchased our Clarity PHEV with the understanding that almost all of our driving would be battery powered and that is what has happened. After 6 months we still haven't been to the gas station.

    However, I accept it when the engine starts up for no apparent reason after reading the 2013 paper by Honda engineers who helped design the i-MMD two-motor hybrid system. That document illustrates how their primary goal was overall system efficiency, not extended EV operation. That's why there's an ECON Mode button but no EV Mode button, even though an EV drive mode is one of the 3 basic operating modes of the i-MMD system.

    The warranty I received didn't include anything about how the Clarity PHEV would manage its EV activity. The lack of an EV Mode button confirms that it was never Honda's intention to give the driver complete control over EV-only operation. Is there a clause in the State of California Lemon Law that says every plug-in hybrid has to work like a Chevy Volt? If so, you may have a case.

    I've thought about creating a second identity on this forum, "EV Troll," where I would correct every single post that refers to selecting "EV Mode" instead of the correct "ECON Mode," but this post is about as trolly as I ever really get.
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2018
  4. loomis2

    loomis2 Well-Known Member

    The car is probably operating as intended, whether you like how it works or not, so I don't see how lemon laws can be invoked. It is a phev, not an ev, so I would think anytime the engine comes on randomly it is probably for the good of the car. I am also a Leaf owner, so I know we are more inclined to even notice an engine running than ice drivers. We have experienced the nirvana of silent driving and it irks us whenever we have to go back to the caveman days of burning gasoline, but let the Clarity do its thing. Just because we don't understand why the engine is running doesn't mean it shouldn't be running. It is all based on Honda's voodoo algorithm.
    lordsutch and insightman like this.
  5. Viking79

    Viking79 Well-Known Member

    The EPA electric range is 0-47 miles.

    Edit: I agree it is annoying, complain to Honda, but don't think it is operating differently than intended. It is possibly a bug with the software in the car, but what would you replace it with?
  6. loomis2

    loomis2 Well-Known Member

    And that seems accurate. With a PHEV that 47 miles doesn't have to be at once.
  7. To remove this ad click here.

  8. Dreamgt

    Dreamgt New Member

    Honestly, the car isn't a fully electric vehicle, it was never intended to be. Good luck getting the California lemon law to cover your "discontent" with how a car designed by real-world engineers performs outside of your "expectations for how an EV should perform". You're frustrated, your one drop in an ocean, we get it; and you want the rest of us to jump on board with your witch hunt because you assume we have the same concerns. Honestly, you made a piss-poor purchasing decision if you expected it to behave like a full ev. Regardless of your experience with the ICE, whats your average MPG? Probably what the EPA estimated, and probably not a cause for concern.
  9. bfd

    bfd Active Member

    In California, a vehicle is presumed to be a “lemon" by the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act if, within 18 months of the vehicle's delivery to the buyer (or 18,000 miles on the odometer):

    • 2 attempts or more have been made by the manufacturer to repair a warranty problem that could result in death or serious injury.
    • The manufacturer has attempted to repair the same warranty problem at least 4 times.
    • The car has been out of service for 30 days or more for repair to warranty problems.
    • Problems to the vehicle are not the result of abuse by the owner.
    With that in mind, the car still must be taken to the dealer - and they have to attempt a repair at least 4 times. Still, it's not clear that this behavior is even a warranty problem. It's clearly an annoyance, and it is probably not the cruise the OP thought they signed up for. But that fact probably doesn't rise to the level of a claim. However, there are plenty of attorneys that specialize in the California Lemon Law. They'll be happy to advise you on your options.
  10. LAF

    LAF Active Member

    but if it happens to only a few owners (we have never experiences anything like the angry bees when there is a charged battery after 4000 miles) it must be an issue with only some cars.
  11. dstrauss

    dstrauss Well-Known Member

    6 months and 6803 miles here - had the angry bees two time - the day I took delivery (I don't think my dealer even knew there was a 110 charger in the trunk) and about three months later when I ran it out of battery on way to work when pushing hard on a 60 mph highway access.

    That first one was the devil to pay because my wife was riding home with me and she basically said - "You traded a working Highlander for this?"
    CaryLyn likes this.
  12. To remove this ad click here.

  13. LAF

    LAF Active Member

  14. LAF

    LAF Active Member

    Chill out!!! The car does drive like all EV for the vast majority of us so something must be wrong with his car.
  15. KentuckyKen

    KentuckyKen Well-Known Member

    Thank you, insightman. You are right on target. I reread the manual; specifically pp 11-15 and indeed the 3 Modes are Econ, Normal, and Sport. EV, HV, and HV Charge are the selectable power sources not Modes. So everyone posting is correct that Honda makes no claims and gives no instructions that the Clarity can be or enter a “pure” EV Mode like a BEV is in by default all the time.

    I think Bob is going to have a rather tough time proving his case since in addition to the above posts, the manual specifically states that even with EV as the power source, the ICE will come on in certain circumstances.

    From the manual:
    “When the High Voltage battery has sufficient charge levels, the vehicle is propelled solely by the power supplied by the High Voltage battery (Electric) or by a combination of power supplied by both the High Voltage battery and the generator which is driven by the engine.” (Emphasis added on the “or”)
    And also from manual:
    “The car will select the appropriate source of power depending on the drive mode you select.As a result, the engine will automatically start or stop as needed to either charge the battery or provide supplemental power.Under certain circumstances, the engine may turn on or, if it is already on, it may not turn off.
    ●You are going uphill or accelerating aggressively.
    ●The climate control system is in heavy use.
    ●The Ambient temperature is too hot or too cold.
    ●The High Voltage Battery state of charge is very low.
    ●The vehicle is running a system check.”
    And add to those instances, aggressive use of the accelerator may engage ICE even before the click or detent is felt:
    Manual again:
    “Regardless of the drive mode that is activated, when the accelerator pedal is depressed past a certain point, the engine starts. When this occurs, electrical power generated by the engine combines with electrical power from the battery to provide greater driving force. If you select ECON mode, the threshold for the engine to provide additional power is higher than it is when the vehicle operates under either of the two sources. Note that if the accelerator pedal is depressed past the point at which you feel a click, the engine will start in the ECON mode with the HV indicator off.”

    So the take home message is that that are no guarantees and no claims by Honda that you can drive solely on the HV battery and never have the ICE turn on.
    Bob’s only claim would be that his ICE runs excessively often and/or long. Try proving that! Bob is going to have to keep meticulous and voluminous records with dates, times, milages, etc. and even then, he’s going to have to prove that it’s not occurring for any of the reasons stated in the manual.
    So it boils down to whether or not his particular car is malfunctioning or whether his expectations are wrong.

    Form posts on this forum, it would appear that Bob is the only one having excessive unexplained ICE operation. So I don’t think he’s going to get a lot of Co-signers.
    Several of us have had the occasional ICE immediately after full charge scenario but not so often as to be indicative of a malfunction. For me it’s only been twice in 3 months, 2,200 miles and then just for a few minutes each. Hardly a problem for us, but that doesn’t mean Bob may not be having a problem.

    From my experience and from other posts, it seems you can reduce the non-traction ICE starts by not trying to stop it by turning off the car. It appears that the ICE wants to stay on till it warms up and stay on till it completes whatever System Check or other reason caused it to come on in the first place. So let it stay on and turn itself off and you may not get it to restart as much. This is just conjecture on my part and not yet proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. But it’s working for me.
    So good luck Bob and I hope you can get it fixed or come to terms with it. Please let us know if Honda finds any problems with your car and what they say. Also let us know how often and long your ICE ones on.
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2018
    DaleL and CaryLyn like this.
  16. bfd

    bfd Active Member

    Then all he needs to do is take it in for an inspection. As far as I can tell from his posts, he hasn't been willing to leave it at the dealer because they won't give him a free loaner car.
  17. dstrauss

    dstrauss Well-Known Member

    Rather harsh don't you think? For Bob, this is more than just an annoyance, and he will likely have to hound his dealer, or find a more experienced one nearby, but no need to be so growly @Dreamgt .
    Tacoma Soccer Dad likes this.
  18. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    I don't either. That would appear to be a perverse application of the law, and hopefully arbitrators and/or the courts would disallow it. Lemon laws were made for people who got a car full of unintended flaws, or flaws which render the car either unsafe or not useful. Lemon laws were not created for those who simply have a disagreement with those who engineered the car over an operating mode.

    I appreciate the attitude of PHEV drivers who want to do everything they can to minimize the amount of gas their car burns. Some of them go to surprisingly great lengths to avoid burning any gas at all. But if you wanted a car that never burns gas, then you should have bought a BEV, not a PHEV.

    chris5168 likes this.
  19. Sandroad

    Sandroad Well-Known Member

    I have no problem with occasional ICE operation. The car needs to run checks, keep things lubricated, get fresh gas in the injectors, etc. etc. Our former ride, a Ford Fusion Energi PHEV, would run the ICE once in while even when we operating it as an EV (Yes, the Ford had an EV-Only mode!). It was just a quiet purr for a bit, then it shut down after the system check it was doing. Any ICE needs to run every so often. The key would be "excessive", and though our Clarity engine has run at unexpected times, that alone is not excessive and instead of bothering me, is actually somehow reassuring (the darn thing still runs!).

    As a side story, I once had an old Gravely tractor I used for plowing snow and each winter I would fire it up. It was bear to get started each season because the gas was gummy, but the thing would finally light with a roar of blue smoke, black smoke, and clattering valve train. It was spectacular, but only for a minute or so until the piston rings re-seated, the valve guides got some oil, and the bad gas burned out of the carburetor. Each year I would tell myself "I need to start this beast more often". I realize a 1952 Gravely is not a 2018 Honda, but there is a kernel of truth to the need for an ICE to run once in a while.
    DaleL and jdonalds like this.
  20. bobcubsfan

    bobcubsfan Active Member

    Wow. 15 replies. Impressive. Got a call this morning from Honda. They want me to bring in the car to a dealer and will cover rental or loaner. Not sure what the service department will do if the ICE does not come online. So, let me help you think this through. If one were to install a backup generator for power failures in a home or business, and, I will give you this, the manufacturer says to test it once a month, and you do, but despite that, the generator fires up when the power has NOT gone out. Wouldn't you think that is a little strange? Oh, the rep from Honda said they do not pay attention to forums. So, I will report what, if anything, Honda finds.
    Chooch likes this.
  21. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member Subscriber

    Good luck! You deserve a good Clarity, but it's a mysterious car and dealer service personnel are not familiar with it. The best outcome will be if they can replicate the performance you've reported and get help from the home office.
  22. AnthonyW

    AnthonyW Well-Known Member

    Question Bob: have you ever let the system check complete itself. Initially when the ICE came on each morning as I coasted down the first hill leaving my neighborhood with full battery, I would pull over and restart the car. After I got the multiple system warnings, I decided to stop doing that. It completed the system check a couple more mornings and now i have only had the engine come on once in the last month even though I go down the same hill each morning at the beginning of my drive.

    Sent from my iPhone using Inside EVs
  23. bobcubsfan

    bobcubsfan Active Member

    Yes. A couple of times ICE came online and I had no choice but to let it run its course due to traffic conditions.
    Johnhaydev likes this.

Share This Page