Storing Clarity Plug-In Hybrid over winter

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by Domenick, Oct 2, 2018.

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  1. Over on the Facebook Clarity owners group, a member posted that he was going south for the winter and asked what he should do to prepare his car for storage.

    His plan is to put a battery tender on the 12-Volt to keep it charged, and keep the car plugged in as well. He also plans to put Stabil in the gas, which makes sense.

    So, is he missing something? Does he really need to use a battery tender, or will the main battery keep that charged up?

    I figured all this info should be good for our members as well.
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  3. Zor

    Zor Member

    I don't think that the 12 volt battery will be kept up while its not in use. The dealers are told to keep the 12 volt battery charged.
    I believe there is documents on what the dealers need to do on there lot. I would expect it would be similar/the same.

    I am also not so sure about keeping the car plugged in for that duration. Iv had some odd behaviors with my car on the charger. Namely working on a timed charging schedule on the charger, the fan system sometimes kicks in like its trying to cool the batteries as they charge outside of the charging schedule. also holding the battery at 100% may not be the best. Most batteries recommend about 75%, but given that a full charge isn't 100% anyway 80% or 90% is likely ok.
    The HV battery will likely discharge slowly anyway.
  4. Breezy

    Breezy Member

    I'd be careful about Stabil. It's messed up our single stroke engines (chain saw, mowers). Don't know if it's the same for cars, but local mower folks say use premium so no ethanol (which I'd do if I were storing the Clarity), and use Star Tron for stabilizing as it won't create the sludgey coat that Stabil might cause.
  5. Sandroad

    Sandroad Well-Known Member

    Here's some further info in another thread. Lots of "guessing" though. Might be good to get info directly from Honda (not a dealer) about storage.

    To the post above about STA-BIL. I suggest using the marine version (blue). It's better at scavenging contaminants out of the gas, as well as stabilizing the fuel. I've used premium gas and marine STA-BIL for decades in all my small engines and never had an issue related to gas. Here in Michigan we go through a semi-annual ritual of winterizing/summerizing various engines and I've not heard of anyone ever having trouble with marine STA-BIL when used regularly.
    Kailani likes this.
  6. KentuckyKen

    KentuckyKen Well-Known Member

    I’ve been using Stabil in my small engined yard equipment for decades and have never had a problem. I’ve also had Stabil in the Clarity for 6 months without any problem. But the latter is not proof since sludge take a long tine to build up. However all my small engines have fuel paths in great shape.
    Perhaps your problem was due to something else? Can you share why you thought the Stabil “messed up and left sludge” in your engines? Are you sure the sludge was not there previously and did you add the Stabil to fresh or old gas? And do you run them dry for storage or at least run them unit the fresh gas and Stabil reach the whole fuel system?
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  8. lanb

    lanb Active Member

    Wouldn't it be best to use ethanol free gas on our clarity phev's if it is going to be stored for a while and/or ICE is not being used that often ? Just thinking aloud.

    BTW, premium (91+ octane) does not automatically equal ethanol free.
  9. KentuckyKen

    KentuckyKen Well-Known Member

    He’s got the major points taken care of. He might consider using a car cover and 4 jack stands to keep the tires from getting a temporary flat spot. That way his Clarity would be in perfect shape just to drive as if he never left.

    A few mouse traps or poison bait under the car wouldn’t hurt to deter mice from nesting in the covered underbody and from chewing on wires.
    I also suggest a can of desiccant for the interior. These are under $20 and are reusable for next year by heating
    Here is a link to some.

    He should also buy chocolates and flowers when he returns. His Clarity will miss him!
    leehinde, Domenick and insightman like this.
  10. PHEV Newbie

    PHEV Newbie Well-Known Member

    I'd be most concern about the Li ion battery. Gasoline can be siphoned out and replacing the 12 Volt battery is not too expensive. Li ion batteries need electrons flowing through them to stay healthy. One of the most damaging things you can do is leaving them idle for extended periods. My suggestion is to take Amtrak's Autotrain where your car gets loaded onto the train with you (and whatever you could stuff in your vehicle--a real bonus for snowbirds) and unloaded when you arrive. That way, you'll enjoy your Clarity at both places.
  11. Richard_arch74

    Richard_arch74 Active Member

    @Domenick, I opened a case with Honda Customer Relations today to ask them several questions about winter storage requirements (for up to 3 months) here in Michigan where temps can get below -10 degrees F. Hopefully they will respond to my questions. If they do I will pass them on to this forum.I have attached my questions. Should any of you want to give me any other questions maybe I can amend my request for information. I just wanted to get Honda on the record as to how they want the 17Kw and 12v batteries maintained. View attachment Winter storage questions.pdf

    Sent from my Chromebook 15 CB515-1HT/1H using Inside EVs mobile app
    reussed, Clarity_Newbie and Domenick like this.
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  13. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member Subscriber

    Of course, Honda has already instructed their dealers on how they should be maintaining the batteries in their unsold Clarity PHEVs, but we've read on this forum that many of them can't be bothered to worry about the health of unsold Clarity PHEVs. It shouldn't be too hard for Honda Customer Relations to come up with that document, but you'll probably never hear back from them. I wonder if that info is available on the pay-per-view Honda Service Express website?
  14. AnthonyW

    AnthonyW Well-Known Member

    I’ve never seen anything about long term storage of the lithium battery on the Honda Service website about long term storage. Only thing I have seen is in the instruction manual that says the battery must be charged at least once every 3 months.

    Sent from my iPhone using Inside EVs
  15. reussed

    reussed New Member

    Richard did you ever hear back from Honda?
  16. Richard_arch74

    Richard_arch74 Active Member

    @reussed, yes, sort of. They did not respond back to my inquiry so I called them. The person I talked to was completely useless. He just referred to the manual where it says the car should be charged at least every 3 months. He said I should talk to my dealers service department. I called my salesman who said he would ask the service department. I told him that I wanted my response from them in writing. They came back with their response in writing. They said that I should keep the car plugged in (duh), keep it in the garage, and don't put a cover over it. That's it.
    I think what I am going to do is charge the car to 80% just before I leave. I will also hook up a battery tender to the 12V battery. Every couple of weeks I will turn on the pre-conditioning via the HL app so the battery will get some "exercise". Hope that will do the trick. Depending on the HL though.

    Sent from my SM-G955U using Inside EVs mobile app
  17. reussed

    reussed New Member

    Thx for the quick response. I will be leaving my Clarity in my garage in Cincinnati for 5 months this winter. I was thinking about leaving it 1/2 charged and then charging it about 30 minutes per week with a timer on a level 1 charger just to compensate for the losses due to sitting idle. I was also going to put a battery tender on the 12V battery. I do not have HL so I am not able to run the heater.
    I was unable to get a response from the dealer.

    Thx again
  18. KentuckyKen

    KentuckyKen Well-Known Member

    Just curious. Why do you not have Honda Link?
  19. reussed

    reussed New Member

    Well I just installed the app even though I have had the car 6 months. I really did not think I would have a need for it I guess. what is the cost for it? Do you need wifi to use it remotely?
  20. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member Subscriber

    HondaLink is free and Honda buys time on some cellular network so the car doesn't need wifi access.
  21. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Asking a Captain Obvious question here:

    Has anyone searched thru the entire Clarity PHEV's owner's manual to see if there are instructions for long-term storage of the car?

    The Chevy Volt's owners manual has such instructions, and I'd hope that the Clarity PHEV's does too. If not, that's a serious deficiency in the manual.

    And if it was my car, I certainly would not use instructions written for some other car. PHEVs are complex cross-breeds, and it would be dangerous to assume that long-term storage instructions for one brand of PHEV would apply to another.

  22. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    I don't think there's any particular problem with leaving the battery pack idle for extended periods of time. Li-ion battery packs don't need to be "exercised". (Neither do NiMH battery packs.) The real danger is with leaving a li-ion battery pack (like the Clarity PHEV's pack) either fully charged or fully exhausted for extended periods of time.

    You definitely don't want to charge the battery pack to full, or even to 90%, before leaving it parked for weeks or months. The battery "likes" to be kept at around 50-60% state of charge when stored long-term.

    The problem is that the battery pack's state of charge may change over time during long-term storage. If there is no trickle-drain on the battery pack, then it seems to me that the best general advice for PHEVs is to do what the Volt's owners manual says: Charge to 50%, unplug, park it, and disconnect the starter battery. However, that general advice may not apply to the Clarity PHEV!

    If there is anything that causes the main battery pack to lose energy every day, any sort of trickle-drain that will cause it to lose even a tiny bit of energy every day, then eventually that will completely drain the battery pack. Leaving a li-ion battery pack at 0% state of charge for longer than 24 hours risks "bricking" the battery, which means it's completely ruined. At that point, it's useful for nothing more than a rather heavy doorstop or boat anchor.

    Hopefully it's not necessary to underscore that whatever approach you use to store a PHEV long-term, if it has a li-ion battery pack, then the procedure absolutely must avoid allowing the main battery pack to fall to 0% state of charge and remain there for more than 24 hours.
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2018
  23. KentuckyKen

    KentuckyKen Well-Known Member

    I’d just charge it to 70% (keeping it plugged in) and use Honda Link to check the SOC and partial charge when it got to 50%. Full charge before you need it in 3 months to balance the cells since informed opinion is that balancing occurs when fully charged. Since it’s still somewhat unclear under what conditions (on, off, plugged unplugged, etc) the 12 v battery is maintained, I’d also put it on a maintainer or trickle charger.

    This will in all likelyhood treat the batteries far better than most dealer’s did before we bought them!

    The only info on the long term storage issue I could find in the manual is the aforementioned mentioned warning not to let it go more than 3 months without charging.

    As @insightman mentioned, the HL is free and uses cellular packet data so as long as your phone and the car have a strong enough signal to reach Honda’s server then HL should work fine. Just be patient and realize it is not a real time reporting app because Honda is trying to limit the bandwidth which for me is an equitable trade off for a free service.
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2018
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