Interesting musings

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by PHEV Newbie, Sep 13, 2018.

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  1. PHEV Newbie

    PHEV Newbie Well-Known Member

    Just saw this video on Youtube:

    They are making the argument that the 50 mile range plug-in hybrids are the ideal transition vehicles. Quite frankly, I'll go a step further and that's to say that PHEVs are just the ideal cars, period, for many years to come. They have nearly all the benefits of BEVs and none of the downsides. Here are some reasons:

    1. Less waste. Although I don't know that many BEV owners, all the ones I know have at least one other purely ICE car that they keep for road trips. In fact, that second or third car is not an old car but often a relatively new one. If people switched to PHEVs instead of BEVs, they wouldn't need to keep another ICE car at all because it can run fine on gas for those road trips. Reducing all those extra otherwise unnecessary cars will save huge amounts of resources needed to produce them.

    2. Conserving battery resources. The growing popularity of BEVs are straining the supply chain for battery components. The Clarity and Volt have 17 kWh batteries and that's enough for most of us to go all EV 90% of the time or more. BEVs with adequate range like Teslas and the Chevy Bolt have batteries 3-6 times that size. By design, PHEVs require batteries a fraction of the size of a BEV.

    3. Range anxiety. As the video explains, the charging network is not all that great. Even Tesla Superchargers take 30 min for a partial charge and repeated supercharging will damage the battery. In the winter time, with the heater on, the reduced range on BEVs make them pretty miserable for extended driving. None of these issues apply to PHEVs at all.

    4. Proven technology. Although more complex than BEVs, the technology needed to produce a PHEV isn't particularly costly or overly complex. The drive train of the Clarity is essentially the same as the Accord hybrid and new Insight. Those cars have gotten rave reviews for outstanding fuel efficiency coupled with powerful acceleration (for hybrid vehicles). The Clarity uses the same technology as those cars except with a bigger battery.
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  3. tim

    tim Member

    One more advantage to add: For those of us who don't have a good place to install a charger and higher-amp circuit (or who don't care to pay the extra money), the 17kWh battery is just the right size to charge up overnight with a normal 110V 15A circuit. So, the Level 2 charger is a choice but not a requirement.
  4. bigbug

    bigbug Member

    Totally agree. I always tell my Tesla dreaming friends: all you need is a Clarity :)
  5. Tangible

    Tangible Active Member

    My ideal doesn’t yet exist: a PHEV with the amenities of a Lexus or Audi and the 50 mile EV range of the Clarity. I don’t mind spending a lot for a car; I’m in the EV game to do my little part for the Earth, not primarily to save money.
    bfd likes this.
  6. KentuckyKen

    KentuckyKen Well-Known Member

    Add to all that the fun of waving to my Tesla and Leaf friends as I go past because they have to stop and charge on a road trip and I don’t! (And I don’t have to plan my trips around where the sparse chargers are.)

    Additionally, I saved enough money over the optioned out Tesla to pay for a solar power installation for my home.
    So wait for a Tesla or have a Clarity now and have solar power with net metering for NO electric bill (pay back in ~/<10 yrs) for the same price. It was a no brainer.

    I really appreciate @PHEV Newbie mentioning that you don’t need a second gasmobile because we have no range anxiety.
    Henry Shaw and LegoZ like this.
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  8. Tangible

    Tangible Active Member

    While I too prefer the Clarity to the Tesla S I used to own, there are many ways in which the Tesla is a much better car: vastly higher performance, partial self driving, much longer EV range, roominess, etc. Whether those things are worth the huge price difference is a matter of individual taste, of course.

    To me the most important Tesla advantage is the self-closing charge port door. I can’t count the number of times I’ve forgotten to close the Clarity port, and then been taunted by the message on the dash.
    barnesgj and lorem101 like this.
  9. lanb

    lanb Active Member

    Now that Honda has the 50-mile PHEV, I am assuming Toyota and/or Lexus will be out with one in the next couple of years.

    BTW, after my first time missing to close the charging door, I now treat it like the gas door that you close right away :)
  10. bfd

    bfd Active Member

    Well, having both Tesla S and Clarity, I can't honestly say Clarity is a better vehicle, but it's a good car. We've had the Tesla off the beaten path many times - it's not that difficult to accomplish once you get past the dirt - LOL. And it ALWAYS responds to a pedal push. Clarity's pickup is good but not really all that great - in comparison anyway. That said, one can buy two Clarity vehicles for the price of one Tesla. So if we're looking to save the planet and some money to boot, there's that. Both vehicles have great strengths. Tesla just has a few more as well it should for a vehicle that's well north of $80K…

    We thought about getting another Tesla - very happy with the S we have now, but I thought it might be nice to try the Honda PHEV (at half the price).
    I test drove the BEV and was pretty impressed with most everything except the weak range. When the PHEV was announced with the same motor, that was it. And with close to 50 miles of EV range, for around town, it's perfect. And as mentioned, for those with no access to 240v, a Clarity can be refilled overnight on a regular household circuit. Not so much with a Tesla. We'd be charging that one for awhile. (at 7 mph on 110v, it takes a long time to "fill 'er up" to 270)

    I still think PHEVs are transitional in nature. There's more talk now in the Golden State about pushing toward a 100% EV mandate within the next 15-20 years. We'll see how that goes. But if the bill picks up traction, and it's likely to, it could easily come to pass. Of course they won't have considered what to do with all the ICE vehicles left on the road - but it's essentially what we did with requiring anti-smog equipment and unleaded gas back in the late 60's. Want to sell cars in the largest state? Smog 'em and make 'em able to use unleaded fuel. And now, all 50 states are in compliance. I don't think we can wait 50 years on net zero emissions and electrifying all vehicles, though. If it takes this one half-a-century, we'll never reverse the climate changes. It may already be too late, but we've been on the cusp before - DDT, Smog, etc. and we've managed to mend our shameless ways. Hope springs eternal.
  11. tim

    tim Member

    In California, PHEVs are given carpool stickers based on being a transitional zero emissions vehicle, so @bfd is probably correct about the transitional nature of PHEVs. However, I think it's going to be a long time before all vehicles can be mandated to be all-electric. The required charging infrastructure is simply not in place. I have the choice to install a charger and high-amp circuit on the outside for my house for a few thousand dollars and a sort of ugly looking house. However, only around 60% of all households in the US have a garage or carport, and many of those (like me) don't have enough usable parking spots for all their cars. So, a humongous amount of money would be needed to install chargers and circuits at basically all street curbs and parking lots. Think many billions of dollars. Then think of highway truck stops that would need huge parking lots to hold long queues of cars that need 3x minutes to charge up cars that drive only a fraction of the distance compared to gas cars. The all-electric mandate and manufacturing of electric cars is the easy part. The infrastructure needs new technology that doesn't yet exist. Hopefully the new inventions arrive before 50 years, but I am skeptical that they'll arrive in the next 10 years (but would love to be wrong).
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  13. lanb

    lanb Active Member

    Yes, 100% EV is still decades away if at all. Not just because of technology but due to vested interests, politics etc.

    We will probably end up with a compromise (PHEV??) for a long time.
    More gas stations will probably start having fast chargers to support EVs.
  14. jdonalds

    jdonalds Well-Known Member

    For me, at this point in time, the Clarity PHEV was the right car. It has the right EV range for our daily use, and the gas engine for trips. It can be charged at home on solar.

    Why not a BEV?

    Well a short range BEV (like the Clarity BEV) would come with the range anxiety factor that I'd rather avoid. A short range BEV wouldn't have enough range for long trips so we would have to make many long duration charging stops. Also I've now learned that if public charging stations aren't free they are usually more expensive than a gas engine would be.

    A BEV with perhaps 150 miles of range would be a big improvement over a short range BEV. It would be a compromise of purchase price, single charge range, weight added for the larger battery, and it would reduce the number of charge stops. But I think I'd find having a car with 150 mile range would have me worrying about running out of power so I'd recharge at about 120 miles which means a charging stop less than every two hours.

    It seems to me a long range BEV (like a Tesla) would mean I would have to pay dearly for that large battery in the initial purchase price of the car. The battery would take up more space and cut cargo space (but Tesla seems to have done it right; others not-so-much). The extra weight of a large battery would reduce mileage. The cost, weight, and cargo space issues would be inappropriate for our daily drives.

    I think there is a large percentage of the population that fall into the same category as I do. That is they drive about 40-50 miles per day, and take occasional trips that are longer. The choices are to have a second car for long trips. We do have a second car, a 2005 Toyota 4Runner. It's a nice car but gets less than 20 mpg on highway drives. It also doesn't have all of the modern features the Clarity has like ACC and Lane Keep Assist. It's not as quiet as the Clarity nor does it ride as smoothly. It seems silly to buy a new great car like the Clarity, then leave it at home for long trips. So the Clarity is a decent compromise. All trips around town are electric only. Road trips use the ICE but stops are more like 4 hours apart so tolerable. Stops are not long because refilling a 7 gallon tank is quick. No doubt I would really like to dump the ICE though.

    I do believe PHEV is a stop-gap solution. But then I've always believed hybrid (we owned two Prius) to be a stop-gap solution too. These gaps can be quite long though. Perhaps PHEV is the right answer for 5 more years. I won't go back to a hybrid, nor an ICE only car. I very much would like to have a BEV.

    It seems to me the turning point for me buying a BEV would be fast charge times. I can tolerate a 10 to 15 minute charge time which would give me 300 miles of range. There are promises of solid state batteries coming out soon enough to be on the horizon. The promise is about 1/3 more storage capacity in the same size package. Safety in that there is no liquid in the battery. Battery lifespan is better than today's batteries too. But to me none of that changes my resistance to buying a BEV. The change has to be the short recharge time.

    FCV promises to be pollution free (well not really), with 5 minute refill times, and eventually costs will drop. But I have one big problem with hydrogen fuel cell cars which is I can't recharge with my solar roof. An FCV means I'm once again tied to "stations". 90% of my driving is accomplished by charging at home which I really like. I will strongly resist switching from battery-electric to a fuel cell car.
    Jan and insightman like this.
  15. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member Subscriber

    2029 Clarity Plug-In Hybrid Fuel Cell (assumes greatly improved battery technology or a Pilot-sized Clarity)
  16. Carro con enchufe

    Carro con enchufe Active Member

    A recent example of why a PHEV is better than a BEV with or without an extra ICE car:

    Due to the hurricane (I live in NC) I came home at 7pm and my wife told me that I needed to make an emergency trip 200 miles away and return immediately. I hopped in my Clarity (which thankfully was fully charged), and made the 400 mile round trip, stopping once for gas at about 250 miles into the trip. I returned home at 3am, 7 hours later.

    If I had only a BEV:
    Would it have been fully charged, ready to go? If so:
    At the end of it's range, arriving at my destination around midnight, I would have needed to search for a charger, and camped out until it was charged. Even at a SuperCharger, this would have added unnecessary time to my trip. My trip would have been needlessly longer and I would have come home later than I did.

    If I had a BEV plus an ICE vehicle:
    My wife does have an ICE - a Mazda CX5. Her lifetime mileage is 25mpg (according to her display). That means I would have used at least 16 gallons of gas on this trip. In my Clarity, since I started with a full charge, I only used a little over 8 gallons.

    So, having the PHEV makes tons of sense. I drive all electric, almost every day, and the occasional time I make a road trip, I get at least 43-45 mpg. With current technology, this is the best option.
    Parja, Jan, PHEV Newbie and 1 other person like this.
  17. su_A_ve

    su_A_ve Active Member

    Well, I want an Odyssey PHEV. I know about the Pacifica, but don't like Chrysler's reliability long term...
    jdonalds likes this.
  18. Domenick

    Domenick Administrator Staff Member

    An Odyssey PHEV would be amazing. It's, like, the gold standard of minivans.
  19. Techdup

    Techdup New Member

    PHEV are the perfect solution for now. Most of us on this forum seem to rely solely on the battery for daily commutes. Gas infrastructure reigns supreme for the foreseeable future and therefore is the only reliable solution for long commutes. I understand Teslas are great cars but not one for the masses (i.e. not affordable for most).

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