(Six) grand road trip report

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by Clarity Dave, Oct 8, 2019.

  1. Clarity Dave

    Clarity Dave Member

    Some data and miscellaneous thoughts after a 4 week road trip in the US and Canada using our 2018 Clarity Base Model. Apologies in advance for the length...

    A rough connect-the-dots of the route is Seattle - Edmonton - Winnipeg - Hot Springs (AR) - Emporia (KS) - Grand Junction (CO) - Salt Lake City - Seattle. With numerous additional explorations. We left on September 7 and arrived home on October 4.

    The car performed great and is the best road car I've ever owned. ACC and LKAS aren't perfect, but they eased extended highway driving considerably. The 7 gallon gas tank was never a bother, because I like to stop at least every 2 hours anyway, so in fact we only reached the Low Fuel warning twice in the course of the trip. And I love Apple CarPlay (keep in mind, though, that our previous car was a 1998 Subaru Outback with a cassette deck).


    Distance: 6,510 miles
    Gasoline used: 122 gallons
    Estimated electrical energy used: 355 kWh

    When the charger didn't tell us kWh delivered (and that was most of the time), I estimated kWh at each charge based on the percentage figures provided by HondaLink.

    Distance divided by gas yields 53.4 mpg. Including the 355 kWh and using 3.3 kWh/mi (about equivalent to the EPA rated 110 MPGe) yields (6510 - 355 * 3.3) / 122 = 43.8 mpg. I'm guessing that we did better than 3.3 kWh/mi, so 43.8 mpg might also be a little high.

    The guess-o-meter HV range had always been high ever after the software fix was applied, but after some 5,000 miles with HV on, it reads 303 miles with a full tank, which seems reasonable.

    EV range was typically in the 50's, but dropped to the high 40's when parked outside near Winnipeg in near-freezing weather. After exhausting EV range on the way up Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain NP, then coasting back down (hurray for regenerative braking, allowing me to smile at the "don't let your brakes overheat" signs), we hit a new record GOM EV high of 92.5 miles (then hit 90.0 miles after 12,000+' Independence Pass).

    I used HV mode often, so I don't have actual EV only range figures, but my sense was that I was getting 50+ miles real EV range.


    I used PlugShare to find L2 chargers but also used the 120V charger overnight when possible. We asked about outdoor outlets at motels and there often was one available, especially in block heater country. I looked for L2 chargers near where we could have lunch or dinner, sightsee or just stretch our legs for an hour. I used ChargePoint and FLO accounts when needed, but spent a grand total of one dollar (in a parking garage in Boulder) on electricity.

    I'm typically the ECON type, but found SPORT mode with sticky full regen very handy driving curvy roads in the Ozarks and Rockies, and used normal mode with ACC most of the time.

    We dropped in on a National Electric Drive Week event in Overland Park, KS, which was on our way and had no Claritys present. Enjoyed chatting with folks and looking at the custom EV jobs (and we got some free L2 kWhs).

    A total of 5 times on consecutive rainy days crossing Alberta and Saskatchewan, ACC and CMBS shut off with this message: Some Driver Assist Systems Cannot Operate: Radar Obstructed. The first four times, I stopped the car and wiped off the Honda badge, behind which I *think* the radar resides, and the warning lights would go away after a while and ACC and CMBS would work again. The fifth time, I kept driving and it went away by itself in about the same time. I fairly quickly figured out that non-adaptive cruise control still worked fine when ACC was disabled, and whereas I don't prefer it (e.g. no speed setting shown) it was better than no cruise control (and with regen, better than ICE cruise control).

    I've taken the Clarity on a few logging roads, but the steepest one yet was the road to the Whitaker Point trailhead in the Ozarks. I had my doubts here and there, and the traction control light went on a few times, but it made it up the steep dirt road just fine with the OEM LRR tires. Once these wear out, though, I'm getting all-weather tires.

    I mentioned this in another thread so I'll just recap. Because we were putting on way more miles than we do at home, the Maintenance Minder rapidly went from some months to the next service to 11 days, and later that same day it popped up Service Due Now A01. I had the tires rotated and reset the '1' and it reverted to Service Due in 5 Weeks and now says Service Due in 12 days A012. I think I'll have them skip the tire rotation when I take it in as it has only been about 3,000 miles. It has now been 10,000 miles since the last oil change and the MM seems fine with that.

    I decided that the best rationale for using HV mode on highways is that Engine Drive (aka "gear") mode must be the most efficient use of the ICE, or Honda wouldn't have included it. The second best rationale is I prefer not hearing the ICE run when I'm in stop-and-go traffic or tooling around town.

    And that's all the notes I took. It was a fun trip, and a good way to get closer to 36,000 miles in the first 3 years, thus getting the most out of the bumper-to-bumper warranty.
  2. Sandroad

    Sandroad Well-Known Member Subscriber

    Thanks! What a great trip and great report. :)
  3. cokeb5

    cokeb5 Member

    Great trip report!

    Were you ever worried about someone stealing your 120V charger? I feel like I would be pretty concerned doing that outside in a parking lot overnight.
  4. Clarity Dave

    Clarity Dave Member


    I used a TSA combination lock that fits into the little hole in the push button. It prevents the button from being pushed to remove the cable from the car's J-1772 port. I figured this would deter an opportunistic thief. I decided not to worry about thieves with the right tool to cut through the U of the lock (or patient thieves who would try all 1000 combinations, or rogue former TSA agents with a key to the lock...).
  5. skylines

    skylines New Member

    Thanks for that very nice and detailed report!

    Your 43.8 mpg is consistent with a similar calculation I made earlier this summer. Round trip of 800 miles. Started with a full tank and Ev range. All HV and did not recharge so I could subtract the exact kWh I needed to top up at the end of the trip. The gas only mileage was 44 mpg with liberal use of the AC. 90% highway.

    The mpg reported on screen was optimistic. But I don't think it is because the HV calculations themselves are inflated. What seems to happen is that every time one lets off the accelerator and it goes into EV for a bit the car averages in 199.9 mpg for the EV section instead of the actual mpge. So how optimistic the on screen mpg is depends on the fraction of the trip that is actually in electric mode even if one is formally driving in HV all along. All the losing a few miles of EV range and gaining it back in HV mode still biases the mpg upwards from the actual value.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2019
  6. Robert_Alabama

    Robert_Alabama Well-Known Member

    Much shorter trip - 800 miles on trip to beach (450 interstate at 70 MPH speed limit, 350 50-55 MPH speed limit). Was able to plug in a couple of times to get 40 miles range added. Assuming I got a total of 100 miles from the battery (initial charge and the 40 miles added), 700/14 or about 50 mpg operating on gasoline. I was very impressed with the car's performance. Used HV charge a couple of times to build the battery back up when I couldn't charge and I forgot and ran in EV mode without pressing HV early enough (yes, I should have listened to @insightman and put a sticky note on the D button). I'm now pretty much in the camp that some HV Charge use doesn't come with much of a penalty to gas mileage, especially if you are just trying to pick up a couple of miles on the battery. No noticeable engine high revs on any of the trip. Since only my wife and myself traveling, we put the back seats down for luggage. Amazing what you can put in this car when you do that. Echo earlier post that it was a great car for the trip. For the question from @cokeb5 of the fear of someone stealing the 120V charger... I found one of the 120V 2011-2012 Chevrolet Volt chargers on Ebay for a little less than $70. With that little investment, I don't worry too much about someone taking it. I like it in that it has 8A and 12A settings, so if you want to make sure you don't trip a breaker and have the time to recharge, you can set it to 8A. I took it with me on the trip thinking I'd plug in some at night, but unfortunately security said that they had been told by their management not to let anyone plug cars into the outlets. First time I have ever had to deal with that, every other time I have been able to charge overnight at hotels and condos when I asked nicely and I've had a phev for the past 6 years. As an aside, I saw a 120/240V charger on Ebay last night that had 10A and 16A settings. That could be handy as well when traveling. Listing was at $148 including shipping. Also not a killer if someone stole it.
    I couldn't be happier with this car purchase. Now at 10,000 miles and just over 60 gallons of gasoline used (pretty much all on highway trips).
  7. TomL

    TomL Member

    Sitting in a cheap old school motel in Liberal, KS as we finish a 3,000 round trip from WI to NM. Our 2018 Clarity Touring model has performed perfectly and with great comfort. We are mostly traveling old mother roads like the Jefferson Highway and Route 66, so not much opportunity to recharge EV. HV gas economy has varied from 35-52 mpg on fill ups. Gas cost per gallon was as low as $2.08. The only surprise was how easily (and unintentionally) we reached 95 mph passing a semi on I-40 in the NM desert. What a great car.

    Sent from my iPad using Inside EVs

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