NHTSA : 2018 HONDA CLARITY=54 COMPLAINTS

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by Teslawannabe, Jul 23, 2019.

  1. Teslawannabe

    Teslawannabe Active Member

    Hello everyone, new Clarity owner here. I thought I had done all my research prior to purchasing my used 2018 Clarity, and tonight six days later I was researching crash testing and came across these complaints. Loss of forward movement up hills could be very scary. I know consumers can be very dramatic with descriptions at times and hopefully that is the case. I did do a cross search of 2018 Ford Fusion Energy plug in's and there were zero complaints. My question: I did much review of this forum and also other sources and found mostly positive remarks regarding the Clarity. Has anyone experienced loss of power/forward
    motion on hills? I am planning a trip in a few months, this is my NEW used 9,000 mile vehicle and will be traveling in the mountains. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Teslawannabe

    Teslawannabe Active Member

    Please note : only about 17 were engine related, 10 fuel propulsion system.
     
  3. KentuckyKen

    KentuckyKen Well-Known Member

    You will be fine if you start the climb with a significant amount of battery charge. I suggest you fully charge the battery and select HV immediately so your trip begins with 100% SOC and to ensure you have as much charge as you can when you hit the mountains. Having plenty of charge allows the car to select and cycle through its most efficient, pleasant, and powerful energy flows. I have never had a power loss or heard the high reving “angry bees” on any trip or up any hill climb.

    Do not be overly concerned about the NHSTB reports. The overwhelming majority of us are not experiencing these problems. I’m 1 1/2 years and 11,000 miles in and it’s by far the best car I have ever owned.
     
  4. Bender

    Bender Member

    I haven't even figured out where the loud engine complaints are coming from at all, unless there's a few vehicles louder than the rest of them. Even HV charge mode is not loud at all. Sure, I can hear it..... but it's pretty quiet.
     
    Teslawannabe likes this.
  5. stacey burke

    stacey burke Member

    I looked at some of the "problems" and they were not problems. The drivers did not know how to use the car. As another poster said if you trip is longer than your EV range or there is need for more power for mountains, merging, passing, THEN use HV from the start of the trip and the engine will keep the charge up in the battery so when you need extra power you will have it. Simple as that!! These people that reported loss of power run the EV down to 2 bars and then wanted the car to merge and climb mountains without having any battery left to call on.
     
  6. Mowcowbell

    Mowcowbell Active Member

    Honda sure didn't prevent these complaints by their design. The use of the various drive buttons are not self-explanatory and we all know the Honda USA dealer network is severely lacking in knowledge on how this propulsion system works.

    Just follow the advice above and always select 'HV' when you first start your trip and you'll not have any issues.

    Opinion: The 'HV' button should remain in that position, even after the car is shut off.
     
    Dan Albrich and Teslawannabe like this.
  7. Fast Eddie B

    Fast Eddie B Well-Known Member

    There are already SO many setting options for SO many things. How hard could it have been to have “Persistent Drive Mode - ON/OFF” or “Persistent Regen Setting - ON/OFF”?
     
    Teslawannabe likes this.
  8. Sandroad

    Sandroad Well-Known Member

    I owned a Ford Fusion Energi PHEV prior to my Clarity PHEV. They are different propulsion systems and I can understand why the Clarity system, with its ICE operating as a generator, could lead to folks used to a conventional car thinking there was a problem. There certainly could also be real problems reported with the Clarity, but there are also loss of power problems reported to the NHTSA for the ‘18 Energi. My ‘17 Energi was not immune to serious problems too. It had a recall for a loose steering wheel!

    My Clarity has never had a loss of power. Take the advice in the posts above and enjoy this great car. It’s a gem nobody knows about!
     
    Texas22Step and Teslawannabe like this.
  9. Robert_Alabama

    Robert_Alabama Active Member

    Not that this needs another voice, but if you drive this car understanding how to protect against this, I don't believe you will ever have such an instance. When you need the battery for additional power, just make sure you have held it so that it will be there. Generally, this means use HV mode instead of depleting the battery until the end of an extended trip (and deplete the battery at the very end of the trip if you can recharge at your destination). I echo others that this is the best car I have ever owned.
     
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  10. fotomoto

    fotomoto Active Member

    Wannabe, some of those complaints were voiced here first by new owners who didn't understand how the hybrid system with generator works under heavy load (steep hill climbing at fast speeds) and then not getting the response they'd wanted from us or Honda, they were then taken to the NHSTA. The disconnect of the ICE running higher than what the driver thinks it should be is the issue here (AKA "angry bees"). Could there be real issues for some folks? That is certainly a real possibility but the numbers of those affected are very, very low.

    Still own a C-max Energi and have some mountain driving experience (New Mexico and Colorado) in it. With its much larger 2.0L ICE, it doesn't run as high as the Clarity's 1.5L when climbing but the upside for the Clarity is it gets better gas mpg's 100% of the time when in HV mode. If I had to choose, I'd rather have the Clarity design philosophy.
     
    Teslawannabe likes this.
  11. Teslawannabe

    Teslawannabe Active Member

    Thanks for the support and great report from owners like your self. I have always wanted a Fusion Energy but the lack of trunk space was a downer. This vehicle seems to fill all the tick marks and the ride is extremely quiet with the acoustic glass.I'm liking this vehicle very much, can't say the local Honda dealer knows much about it. I am a retired Ford technician of more than 40 years and have been doing too much research, lol. This is my first non Ford vehicle and the most money I have ever spent on a vehicle. Having said that, I have bought into the tech of this vehicle. My understanding was the motor generator was strong enough to run the drive motor and charge the battery at the same time (limited to flat land I guess). I will take everyones advice and save the battery power for my trip coming up. Thank you every one.
     
    MPower likes this.
  12. fotomoto

    fotomoto Active Member

    It can do that too, it just needs to run at its max rpm setting (I don't mean redline) to achieve it but even that has its limits and reduced power "may" be experienced in some situations (the vast majority of us here have not). GM saw this and included Mountain Mode on the Volt so it could travel over the rockies. Honda's version is HV+charge but for some reason they don't tell folks that it's good for building up a charge when tackling steep ascents if you didn't save some back beforehand.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2019
    Teslawannabe likes this.
  13. 4sallypat

    4sallypat Active Member

    ^^^ This is correct.
    The Clarity is definitely for someone who understands the car and can "switch" modes, use deceleration paddles, and save energy for when needed - to maximize driving distance.
    I have learned so much on the forum that I feel like I have a grasp on how the engineers designed this car...

    OTOH my wife would be that person to complain to NHTSA first before learning how the car works.
    She is the type that would just drive and drive without knowing why an oil change is needed.
    I have to keep reminding her that she needs to switch over to HV mode when going at highway speeds and to keep from getting to "empty" 2 bars on the EV side.

    She still drives all the way to empty and then doesn't realize how much the ICE has to run in order to keep going.
    Then she complains there wasn't enough EV for the city drive....

    Geesh!
     
    fotomoto likes this.
  14. 2002

    2002 Well-Known Member

    Sorry but you have completely mischaracterized the complaints, which I assume was unintentional due to not reading through them and getting a wrong impression by glancing at a couple of random ones. There were eighteen serious and legitimate sounding complaints about sudden massive power loss that I could find on the NHTSA site, I may have missed a couple because they were not always categorized correctly. The common theme in these complaints is massive or complete loss of power, pressing the accelerator only made the engine rev but no power as if the car was in neutral. Several complaints give quantitative numbers like dropping from 70 mph to 20 mph, not being able to go over 10 mph, not being able to go over 40 mph (on a freeway). Sometimes when climbing a hill but many incidents were on level ground, or in at least one case going downhill, some while accelerating to get onto a highway, others experienced sudden power loss while cruising at a fixed speed on the freeway.

    In my opinion reading through the reports, there could be a faulty component in some cars, but apparently rare enough that we don't have people on this forum experiencing the problem although I think there were one or two I'm not sure. On this forum we have had complaints from a few people about ICE coming on in EV mode at high revs for long periods when there is plenty of EV ranges, which seems to be a completely different issue than the NHTSA complaints which have to do with massive and sudden power loss. Most of the reports say it happened when they had 0 EV range, but a few say it occurred with EV miles available but while running in HV mode.

    Although it's somewhat hard to tell from the reports it seems that most people with the power loss issue experience it for the first time relatively early on in the ownership of the car, meaning if your car has been working fine so far it likely it will continue to do so. Unfortunately the report redacts the last five digits of the VIN so it is not possible to determine estimated manufacturer dates of the vehicles.

    One person stated that the dealer could duplicate the problem and replaced a "control box" and that seems to have solved it, however the module was only recently replaced when they submitted the report so that is inconclusive. But I'm suspecting that there is an actual fix for cars with the problem, however the problem that people run into is local dealers dismissing the complaints (another common theme in the reports) and telling people who experience the problem that they just don't understand how the car works, need to read the manual, etc. Hopefully once someone with the problem can get the dealer to escalate it to Honda (and reach the right person at Honda) the problem can be fixed. I suspect that the bulk of the NHTSA complaints are mainly from those who were getting stonewalled by the dealer and told that they simply didn't know how their car works.

    The all caps is the way the website formats the text

    November 16, 2018
    WHILE DRIVING THE CAR AND THE BATTERY GETS TO TWO BARS THE CAR WOULD LOOSE POWER AND WILL NOT GO OVER 10 MPH.

    January 15, 2018
    THE CAR FEELS LIKE THE ENGINE DISENGAGES AND THE REVOLUTIONS GO UP, BUT THE CAR SLOWS DOWN. I HAVE BEEN ON THE FREEWAY GOING UP A HILL, WHEN THE ENGINE LOST POWER. WE WENT FROM 65 MPH DOWN TO 20 MPH.

    February 9, 2019
    VEHICLE FEELS LIKE IT DISENGAGES DRIVETRAIN. WHEN PRESSING THE ACCELERATOR, THERE WAS NO RESPONSE.

    April 22, 2019

    THE CAR WAS SET IN CRUISE AT 70 MPH IN HV MODE (NOT CHARGE MODE). EV RANGE WAS 30 MILE REMAINING, APPROXIMATELY 70% OF BATTERY REMAINING. THE HONDA CLARITY PHEV SPONTANEOUS EXCESSIVE REVVING THE ENGINE WHILE CRUISING AT A CONSTANT SPEED ON FLAT HIGHWAY ROAD THEN THE CAR DROPPED SPEED BY ITSELF WITHOUT ANY CAR IN FRONT. ONCE I NOTICE THE CAR DOES NOT HAVE POWER TO REGAIN TO SET CRUISING SPEED, I TURNED CRUISING OFF, SWITCHED THE CAR FROM HV TO EV THEN THE ENGINE STOP DOING HIGH REVVING. I DROVE IN EV FOR 2 MINUTES THEN SWITCH BACK TO HV THEN THE CAR REGAIN ITS POWER TO RESUME CRUISING SPEED.

    January 13, 2019
    WHILE DRIVING AT 70 MPH, SUDDENLY THE INTERNAL COMBUSTION ENGINE REVVED UP DRAMATICALLY WHILE SIMULTANEOUSLY THE CAR STARTED SLOWING DOWN UNCONTROLLABLY. MY WIFE, WHO WAS DRIVING, WOULD PUSH THE ACCELERATOR AND THE ENGINE WOULD REV UP, BUT THE CAR CONTINUED TO SLOW DOWN. IT WAS AS IF THE WHEELS HAD BECOME DISCONNECTED FROM THE POWER SOURCE.


    March 4, 2019
    SHE WAS DRIVING NORMALLY ON HER WAY BACK HOME IN ECON MODE AT AROUND 70 MPH OR UNDER. PRIOR TO THE UPDATES THE BATTERY NEVER USED TO GO BELOW 9 OR 10% (LAST TWO BARS). BUT TODAY IT WENT TO NO BARS LEFT. THE ACCELERATOR PEDAL WAS NOT RESPONSIVE AND THE SPEED STARTED DROPPING TO ABOUT 40 MPH. LUCKILY NO ONE WAS CLOSE BEHIND HER. SHE SWITCHED ON HER HAZARDS.


    February 4, 2019
    THERE HAVE BEEN MANY TIMES WHEN I AM DRIVING ON THE INTERSTATE AT 60 MPH AND ALL OF SUDDEN IT CAN BARELY GO 30 MPH AND THE ENGINE IS REVVING VERY LOUDLY.

    November 14, 2018
    WHILE IN GAS MODE, THE TRANSMISSION SLIPPED AND THE VEHICLE WOULD NOT ACCELERATE UP A HILL. IN ADDITION, THE ENGINE REVVED EXTREMELY HARD AND WOULD NOT GO INTO GEAR.

    January 8, 2019
    IN HV MODE, UP SLOPE, AT 2 E BARS LEFT, ENGINE REVIVE AND LOUD. BUT NO ACCELERATE. FELT LIKE LOST POWER.

    January 9, 2019
    CAR REVS UP WHEN DRIVING DOWN THE HIGHWAY BUT DROPS SPEED TO 10MPH. IT HAS DONE THIS 2 TIMES ONCE IN TOWN AND ONCE ON US 23 WHILE DRIVING 70MPH.

    January 15, 2019
    3 DAYS AFTER PURCHASE I WAS DRIVING ON AN INTERSTATE WHEN THE CAR SUDDENLY LOST ALL POWER. I MANAGED TO PULL TO A SLOW LANE BUT THE LACK OF POWER CONTINUED FOR ANOTHER 5 MINUTES.

    February 7, 2019
    MAJOR POWER LOSS WHILE IN HV CHARGE MODE AND ACCELERATING UP A STEEP HILL FROM A STOP.SWITCHED TO EV MODE TO AVOID POTENTIAL REAR END COLLISION.

    July 28, 2018
    I WAS ENTERING THE INTERSTATE FROM THE ON RAMP. INSTEAD OF MERGING INTO 75 MPH TRAFFIC I BECAME AN ACCIDENT WAITING TO HAPPEN AS THE CAR WOULD NOT ACCELERATE BEYOND ABOUT 40-50 MPH FOR APPROXIMATELY 1 MILE.

    January 12, 2019
    AFTER SEVERAL MILES AND DEPLETION OF ELECTRIC STORAGE AND WHILE CLIMBING A SIGNIFICANT GRADE THE TRANSMISSION FELT AS IF IT WAS SLIPPING NOT ABLE TO CLIMB THE GRADE. HAD TO MAKE AN EVASIVE MANEUVER CROSSING ON COMING TRAFFIC LANE (CLEAR) TO GET OFF THE HIGHWAY (101) . THE VEHICLE WOULD NOT PULL THE HILL AND SLOWED TO 25 MPH ON A TURN,IN A 55 MPH ZONE

    December 16, 2018
    TWICE SO FAR, WHILE TRAVELING DOWNHILL AT 45 MPH, THE ENGINE BEGAN TO REV TO ITS REDLINE AND THERE WAS NO POWER TO ACCELERATE IN HV MODE. THIS WAS QUITE DANGEROUS IN ONE INSTANCE AS I WAS UNABLE TO ACCELERATE ONTO A HIGHWAY.

    July 28, 2018
    4 TIMES ENGINE WENT INTO EXTREME HIGH REV LIKE BEING STUCK WIDE OPEN IN FIRST GEAR WITH SUDDEN LOSS OF SPEED TWICE ON THE FREEWAY.

    September 27, 2018
    TWICE I EXPERIENCED EXTREME HIGH REVS (LIKE THE CAR WAS IN NEUTRAL AND YOU HAVE THE PEDAL TO THE METAL)WITH ABSOLUTE LOSS OF POWER AND SPEED DOWN TO 30 MPH FIRST TIME ON FREEWAY & 10 MPH SECOND TIME ON HIGHWAY. HAPPENED TWICE WHEN BATTERY WAS LOW (EACH TIME BATTERY DISPLAY ACTUALLY WENT DOWN TO 1 BAR WHICH IVE BEEN TOLD BY DEALER THAT IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO GO BELOW 2 BARS WHEN HV KICKS IN) AND ON SLIGHT INCLINE.

    March 12, 2018
    VEHICLE ENGINE RESPONDED TO ACCELERATOR PEDAL INPUT, BUT WOULD NOT TRAVEL AT GREATER THAN 25 MILES PER HOUR ON SLIGHT UPHILL.
     
  15. ab13

    ab13 Active Member

    The 2017 Chevy Volt has a similar number of complaints, even though that was it's 7th year. Some may be due to customers not understanding, but some may be due to software. Software is something that can be and has been changed over time.
     
  16. 4sallypat

    4sallypat Active Member

    Um, I could not find any complaints listed on the NHTSA site for the PHEV or EV - only 2 for the FCV.

    OP is your source from Carcomplaints.com ??
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  17. MajorAward

    MajorAward Active Member

    There is a problem motorcyclists experience, where an auto driver looks right at them, but does not see them. This phenomenon is called saccadic masking, and is said to be responsible for many motorcycle / auto accidents. I am not in any way dismissing all of these NHTSA reports, but I do wonder if sometimes there is something similar going on here. Just as many CVT owners experienced when switching from automatic transmissions, the expectation of the transmission shift was so strong, that many CVTs now have "fake" shifts built into them.

    When the ear hears sudden high revs at a steady speed, is it possible the automatic reaction is to lift off the throttle, causing loss of power? Don't shoot me, just a thought.
     
    Louis Nisenbaum likes this.
  18. 2002

    2002 Well-Known Member

    An intermittent problem that only affects a small number of cars would normally be hardware. But yes software cannot be ruled out as most software bugs occur only in specific exact circumstances, which is how they can slip through testing. However many of the people with the problem experienced it more than once which points to a faulty component in their car.

    However that theory is not consistent with the details of what people report.

    https://www.nhtsa.gov/vehicle/2018/HONDA/CLARITY%2520PLUG-IN%2520HYBRID
     
  19. MajorAward

    MajorAward Active Member


    But what people report is not always what happened. It's just what they remember happening. Just as the auto driver reports they did not see the motorcyclist, when in fact the motorcyclist was there. This seems a possibility to me in some cases...not saying all, and just an opinion.
     
  20. fotomoto

    fotomoto Active Member

    Lots of the quotes refer to what MajorAward is talking about (bold mine):

    Again, I said it's very possible some of the folks have legitimate drivability issues as these are complex machines and sh!t happens but several of these reports read more like newbie issues with a powertrain they don't yet fully understand how it works.
     

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