Low Estimated Range-- is this normal?

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by Dan Albrich, Nov 7, 2018.

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  1. Dan Albrich

    Dan Albrich Active Member

    So got my Clarity 9/25/2018. Absolutely love the car so far (overall). I mention temperature weather as it may be the issue (I don't know). We had nice daytime temps of like 70 degrees when I bought the car, and lows above 50. The car lives in a garage that never gets very cold and certainly not freezing. I charge at home with level 1 -- and sometimes at work with level 2. I was getting estimated range as promised -- 47 or 48 miles at each charge. Occassionally I'd get 43 miles or whatever, but mostly around the advertised 47 miles estimated range.

    This week, my town has been colder, daytime temp 46 degrees. No freezes yet-- so lows of like 36 over-night but keep in mind my clarity is in a garage that never goes below 50.

    So today the car had 13 miles estimated range. Went to the work level 2 charger. Full gave me an estimated range of 38 miles. I live exactly 5 miles from work. I drove home, and the cars estimated range went to 26 miles.

    Other details:
    - with daylight time change, I used headlights going home.
    - I am using both the heater (temp set to 70), and sometimes heated seats.
    - I am using radio -- but did when the range was good too.

    Anyway, just trying to figure out if this low estimated range is abnormal. it was odd to have just finished charging, drive 5 miles home, and see 26 miles electric range.


    PS: I have seen another similar thread -- i.e. known issue range is reduced due to cold, but mine seems extreme compared to what I've seen. i.e. folks saying they went from 47 to 38 maybe. In my case full charge reports 38, and drops to 26 with only 5 actual miles driven.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2018
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  3. ClarityDoc

    ClarityDoc Active Member

    I'm Maryland where it's also cooling down, have had frost recently, and my Clarity sits on an exposed parking pad next to my house, plugged into L2 EVSE.

    EV range remains around 60 miles (57-61 in the past week). I precondition each morning just before my 15-20 mile commute, and wear a jacket (not using heat or heated seats yet).

    Preconditioning melts frost from windows and gets the cabin warm enough for me (so far), drawing power from L2 EVSE.

    When it gets really cold I'm sure that I'll lose range due to using heat or heated seats - my guess is that's where you're losing range.

    Of course, YMMV. :)

    Sent using Inside EVs mobile app
  4. KentuckyKen

    KentuckyKen Well-Known Member

    Two thoughts:
    First, in my experience, using the radio and lights have minimal effect on range. It’s the resistance heating of the seat heater and especially the cabin heater/defroster that kils EV range.
    Second, you must remember that the range estimates are based on your immediate previous driving habits and conditions. If they change, the estimate will be less accurate. If you can isolate all the changes (in your case it sounds like mostly cold weather and heater use), you can have an idea of what’s affecting the range. Give it a couple of trips at the new lower temps and see if the range gets more accurate.

    I’ve noticed that just having temps go down to 50 F caused my EV range to go from low 60s to high 50s with no heater usage, so cold weather alone can cause some range reduction. Did anything else change? Rain and especially snow will reduce range due to increased friction. As @ClarityDoc said, preconditioning on the EVSE’s power is your best bet to increase range since you’re already in a garage which is the other big winter range extender. Since you’re garaged vs outside charging on the 2 legs of your commute, I would expect you’d get two different efficiencies (miles/kW) and two different battery capacities (kWs stored at 100% full battery). That could possibly be skewing the ranges, depending on how the range algorithm works.
    Let us know what happens after some more trips and the conditions of those trips.
    ClarityDoc likes this.
  5. jdonalds

    jdonalds Well-Known Member

    13 miles sounds much too low to me. I would expect our Clarities to lose about 25-30% in the winter vs summer. If it were me I'd do two things.

    First I'd record the estimate for several days to see if this was an anomaly.

    Second, as you've already done, record your actual miles driven vs the change in the EV Range estimate. I've found as the weather gets colder our range has dropped but I've also found that my actual miles vs estimated range has improved. Most days when I pick my son up at school I'm starting out with 44 EV Range but have only used 22 miles after a 25 mile trip.
  6. DucRider

    DucRider Well-Known Member

    Honda has a history of very conservative range estimates in cold weather.

    Favorite story for the Fit EV (100% Electric) was the owner that lived in the NE and on a well below zero morning (car parked outside and fully charged overnight), he got in and turned the key and saw an estimated range of 0 (yes that is a zero) o_O. He drove the ICE car to work that day ....
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  8. Candice

    Candice Active Member

    We have weather similar to yours and I do see a big drop in actual driving range when using the heater or heated seats and especially with the use of both. In the summer, I was showing a max of 65 miles after a full charge and when the temps dropped to the 50s, it went to max of 55 miles. We have had some days in the 40s and I use almost twice as many miles on my 8 mile commute if both the heater and the seats are on. I use them sparingly so the effect is not usually that dramatic. Recently, I drove to a nearby grocery store with a free level 2 charger which is approx 3.5 miles away. I had 6 miles in ranges left. My husband was blaring the heat and we ran out of electric half way there :(
  9. bfd

    bfd Active Member

    I tend to use a kind of simple ratio of 3:1 as in 3 miles per 1kWh. That's in "perfect" conditions between 65ºF and 80ºF. Once the HVAC and seat warmers start getting a workout, that goes down. If I drive using more economical measures (keep speed relatively steady below 50MPH, avoid jackrabbit starts, etc.) that ratio goes up a little. While I get excited about seeing a big EV range estimate and disappointed by seeing a low estimate, I know that neither one is likely to deliver those actual miles. Luckily, we live in a climate that's almost always perfect. So our variability isn't nearly the same as that of those of you who live in harsher winter/summer climates.

    If this was a BEV, there'd be more of a reason to be concerned. But the hybrid quality of the car means that it really doesn't matter what the EV range is (unless you run out of gas).
  10. Dan Albrich

    Dan Albrich Active Member

    First off I just wanted to say thank you to those thoughtful and helpful replies. I've really enjoyed reading this forum so far and am glad to contribute once my knowledge grows. From looking around online I've found the following:
    - My car had the 'dreaded' public charger problem error message "Power System (orange), ... Charging system probem..." so I had the dealer install SB 18-079.
    - I found in these forums there's now an update to 18-079 -- called 18-097 (yes the digits reversed) which super-seeds the original. The note seems to indicate folks who got 18-079 may have a problem where the battery won't fully charge. So I have another dealer appt. tomorrow to install 18-097.
    - My dealer in my small town is terrible to work with (i.e. for sales). Luckily their service department seems to try. i.e. They never know anything about the car's service bulletins unless I print and bring in, but they've been willing to apply them as needed. So hopefully the service people will continue to be decent.

    I'll followup once I know if this works.


    PS: From folks in the forums that exceed 50 or maybe even see 60 mile range that is incredible to me. Day 1 my car would show 43 miles range (when our weather was warm). After my first level 2 charge, I saw 48 miles and was glad to see it. Prior to this last week or so, I mostly see 43-47 miles estimated range right after a charge.
    VTSAX likes this.
  11. V8Power

    V8Power Active Member

    Today on my way home from work tonight, I was stuck in a traffic jam and it was about 4 degrees C. It took me about 15 minutes to travel 800m = 1/2 mi so with nothing else to do, I watched the Info screen on the infotainment screen as entertainment while the electric heat kept blasting and seat heater kept my bum warm. Not too surprising, the EV range slowly dropped an extra 4km as I waited for the traffic to clear while the resistors converted stored energy into heat.
    MPower likes this.
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  13. Mark Weidner

    Mark Weidner New Member

    Dan, My Clarity has been doing the same thing and it's very frustrating. I bought mine at the end of April 2018, and keep it in an unheated garage. I currently have 6600 miles and have only used 18 gallons of gas....so I'm exceptionally happy.

    Up until 5 weeks ago, I consistently would get it to charge up to 48-52 miles of range. Now that the temps have dropped here in CO to an avg of mid 50', I am only getting the battery to charge up to 38-41 miles of range. I've done all of the Technical Service Bulletins, but the "full" charge seems to remain very close to 38-39 miles of range. I do use the heater and the seat heaters, and I understand that those will reduce how far I can drive in EV mode. But shouldn't the battery give me a full range of 49 ish miles, then drop faster as I use the heater? Or is everyone on here saying that the car is smart enough to predict that will be using the heater and that a "full" charge will only get me 38/39 miles until I stop using the heater?

    I guess my expectation of an 7 month old car with 6600 miles is that the batter would still charge up to 48-52 miles of range under perfect conditions....and if I turn on the heat or seat heaters that my range will drop below that.

    Would love to know everyone's thoughts as I'm getting a bit PO'd at the new "full" range.
    jazdean likes this.
  14. Robert_Alabama

    Robert_Alabama Well-Known Member

    Yes. It looks at recent history of miles per charge to estimate the next miles at full charge. So if you drive 85 mph and use heater and heated seats, the estimated next charge miles will be very low. If you elect to wrap up in a blanket and leave off the heater and heated seats and drive 50 mph, then after a few learning cycles, the range will improve to something much better. The battery will still have lower performance in the cold weather so you are still going to lose a few miles as compared to warmer weather, but not nearly as much as everyone is seeing due to using heated seats and heater...
  15. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member Subscriber

    You can delay the blanket-wrapping if you precondition your Clarity to warm up the interior while it's still plugged in.
    Mark Weidner likes this.
  16. Mark Weidner

    Mark Weidner New Member

    Thanks Robert. I'm going to test that out. I get it that the battery will have less range in cold weather, but I wasn't expecting a 20% drop. But if the car is taking my HVAC settings into account, then it makes sense. I just leave the temp set at 70 or so, and of course it takes the heater to get to that temp this time of year. I turned it off today, so lets see what happens over the next week or so.
  17. Robert_Alabama

    Robert_Alabama Well-Known Member

    Few additional thoughts... It might help to also charge the battery as late as possible before driving in the morning. This might warm the battery some from charging. Have to weigh that with any TOU rates, though. Also pre-conditioning should warm the battery a little as well. I live in Alabama and don't have to deal with a lot of cold weather, so I am reaching a little here. I think the Volt actually warms the battery with resistance heat in cold weather, so that adds to the drain as well. The Clarity may do so as well, but I do not know. Driving agressively (charging and discharging) might actually help keep the battery warm and at least not be as big a drag as in mild weather.
    Wish they made some decent (and cheap) lithium ion UPS backup power supplies. You could throw a couple in the car and plug in the 200W (Honeywell makes a UL listed one) office space heaters (and maybe a heating pad). Unfortunately the standard cheap UPS supplies are lead and would be too heavy to be reasonable. I have a few of the APC ES 750s and one would pull a 55W heating pad for a little over an hour, but it weighs nearly 20 pounds. Lithium-ion would cut that weight to about 8 pounds. You would just have to remember to plug in the UPS every night as well...
  18. AaD

    AaD Member

    With temps in the 40s to 50s, I think that the lower EV range many are reporting is almost all due to heater usage. I can still get 60+ real miles in MA this month by not using the heat except for occasional defroster as needed (I do precondition the car to toasty warm). When things actually get cold actual battery performance is likely to pull it down more dramatically.
    ClarityDoc likes this.
  19. Dan Albrich

    Dan Albrich Active Member

    Just a quick followup. Got the car back from dealer. SB 18-097 should be applied.
    Charged in my garage at home (level 1 only). Range estimated 28 miles on first charge but showed full. So worse than before.
    Today I took it to a public level 2 charger (restraurant nearby). The honda link app showed it stopped charging but before 100% full. I kept going to the app and selecting 'start' charging then it would stop again before 100%. At 99% it showed 28 miles of estimated range. In short, so far the update doesn't seem to have improved things.

    I have been careful to avoid jack rabbit starts. I do have the heat on in the car still. i.e. its 50 degrees by day here, so I'll set the cabin for 74 then drop it back to 70 if I'm in the car awhile.

  20. dnb

    dnb Active Member

    Using the heater and heated seats will drop the range a lot on EV. Also it depends on how you drive, if you are driving lots of in town (stopping (charging)) and driving slower will increase the range, while driving on the freeway drops range.

    Since it "learns" your habbits to estimate that 28 miles could be accurate with heater(s) on and driving on highways or quickly accelerating
  21. Dan Albrich

    Dan Albrich Active Member

    Once again, thanks for all the thoughtful replies. So a little more information as maybe it helps someone reading the thread:
    - My garage is kind of under my house but not heated. I told my wife I imagine it to be 50 degrees. She immediately disagreed with me and indicated our garage will even reach freezing if we have many days in a row near freezing. In other words, I'm likely wrong about how warm my unheated garage actually is. So maybe car is getting closer to outside temps overnight than I realize which is presently about 36 degrees outside over-night with maybe daytime high of 50.
    - I've started turning climate off completely when not needed. I wasn't doing this before. I find I have to turn back on when I need to defrost front window.
    - The roads I drive (Eugene OR) have no highways between me and my normal commute with average speed of 25-40. So none of my driving is at highway speeds -- at least not during the work-week (and as it happens none this weekend).
    - On reflection, as I've gotten more comfortable with the car, I am guilty of jack rabbit starts. It's fun with an electric car to have the sensation of being thrown back in your seat with starting from stop. high torque at low speed is nice. i've been consciously working on avoiding this behavior (mostly).
    - I started using the climate control in the morning, then try leave it off as I drive (as others have suggested). I'm not going to start dressing like an eskimo though. My luxury car feels ghetto to me if I don't let myself use the heat as need be.

    I do envy the clarity owners who have seen 60-70 miles of estimated range. Never going to happen on mine -- maybe the dealer didn't charge mine adequately when it sat on the lot, or ..., who knows. There just isn't that much behavior change mileage to be had in my case. (I mean even if I literally never use climate control at all, and drive gingerly, no heated seats, with the temperature here, I'd be lucky to see 38 miles on range on my car again until Spring.) Full charge is still showing 28 miles even after I have been better about my behavior, and temps are going colder as we go into winter.

    The final thought for this post is this: I originally thought I wanted a Hyundai Sonata plugin with 25 mile range. I would of bought one actually could I find one. My Honda Clarity even at worst conditions will likely be 50% stated range which is about what I would of had on the Sonata anyway. So maybe lost in winter is the luxury of only having to charge every two days (now I'll plug in nightly). Also, god forbid, I'll use hybrid mode and burn some gas. It's still way less gas than I was doing. So I'm still getting a lot of value... I will say my expectations have really been reset for winter driving though.


    PS: I luckily have a need to drive about 20mi a day on a normal day with no special trips. I guess it would be more concerning to me if my one day need was 40 mi. i.e. I appear to be able to get 40mi electric range when its warmer out, but not otherwise.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2018
  22. KentuckyKen

    KentuckyKen Well-Known Member

    @Dan Albrich, you can determine if the dealer damaged your HV battery by not charging it while it sat on the lot. All you have to do is have a dealer use their diagnostic tool access the Battery Capacity Signal for you. It is a nominal 55 Amp hour when new. A significant reduction from this is a signal of battery degradation.
  23. Dan Albrich

    Dan Albrich Active Member

    Thanks KentuckyKen. To imagine my local dealer, if you saw the movie Fargo, that's it. Worst folks I've ever encountered (the family bought the competing dealers so they are an auto-group and virtually impossible to avoid). Anyway, given caustic and not helpful folks at the dealer, do you know if this measurement is something I can request or demand. Is it worth it to travel to another city with a reasonable dealer and pay for it? Thanks for the advice. -Dan

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