Test Drive on Clarity with little charge

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by trueblue, May 10, 2018.

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  1. trueblue

    trueblue New Member

    I went to test drive the Clarity yesterday, and unfortunately, there wasn't a car in the lot with a fully charged battery. The engine came on almost as soon as I hit the accelerator, and wow - the noise it made didn't sound good at all. The engine sounded like it was straining on acceleration, and I felt like it really struggled to get up and go. I had pretty much made up my mind that I was going to buy this car, and soon, but that engine sound is making me hesitant. For you who already have the Clarity, what are your thoughts on ICE performance? I know the goal is to use the car in EV mode as much as possible, but when that just isn't possible, I want to know that the ICE performs well. Thanks for any input you guys can provide on that.

    Secondary question for those with light interior -- how hard is it to keep the sueded part of the dash and door panel clean?
    AndyBA likes this.
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  3. megreyhair

    megreyhair Active Member

    We call that sound the 'angry bee' sound. The engine had to work extra hard to generate electricity to propel the car and trying to recharge the battery at the same time. Normally the engine doesn't sound that bad. You should get the dealer to fully charge the car and you go for another drive.

    To answer your question, ICE only drive the wheels directly at highway speed. So most of the time, ICE is used to rotate the generators to make electricity.
  4. K8QM

    K8QM Active Member

    As with @megreyhair, in the 6,000 miles we've put on our Clarity it hasn't been an issue. Even when we've been in HV (hybrid vehicle) mode in the city as long as there's a little charge we rarely have had the "angry bees".

    Last edited: May 10, 2018
  5. Emanuel Green

    Emanuel Green Member

    When I did my test drive, they were not charged either. I put the car into HV Charge mode (hold down the HV button for a few seconds) and did the test drive that way. Then I put it in Eco mode and did a second test drive so I could see how it would work most of the time.

    It's the only time I think I would use HV Charge mode :p
    K8QM likes this.
  6. jdonalds

    jdonalds Well-Known Member

    Just keep the battery charged a bit, say 5 of the 20 bars, and you won't likely have the high reving sound. With over 7,000 miles on our Clarity I've never heard the angry bees.
    KenG likes this.
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  8. LAF

    LAF Active Member

    i agree- we had the same experience at the dealer for out test drive- given that any 120 line can charge the car it is outrageous that the dealers are letting people test drive the car with no charge on the battery.
    Johnhaydev likes this.
  9. M.M.

    M.M. Active Member

    The dealer I bought my Clarity from kept the thing fully charged (and the salesperson actually knew how the various drive modes worked, at that), but I test drove a couple of Volts with dead batteries, and indeed it's just weird that a car dealership--particularly with a brand-new car--wouldn't put in that bare minimum of effort to put the best foot forward on a $35K vehicle.

    The car is fine--I've honestly barely noticed the ICE noise all eight minutes it's run in the two months I've owned the car--but if there are other choices I'd go to another dealer just to punish the sloppy care of cars on their lot and apathy toward the vehicle.
    Last edited: May 10, 2018
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  10. bfd

    bfd Active Member

    I'm going to go out on a limb and conjecture that some dealers simply don't want to sell Clarity. It's really not that hard to charge the car up, have at least one person on staff who knows more than how to push the start button on a PHEV, and let the car sell itself. Instead, we get what we have. I'm not even certain Honda USA is serious about selling these cars… what, a few dumb commercials about "range anxiety"?

    However, being from a PHEV background, I'm not surprised. Toyota did a very poor job of hyping their initial PHEVs - I wish I had more data on why people were sold on them to begin with… Except for one sales person (who wasn't even local), 6 years ago, local dealers knew squat about PHEVs that they were trying to sell. I think Honda is six years behind that curve…
  11. AlanSqB

    AlanSqB Active Member

    I also think it's the fact that the Honda dealers don't have any facility to complete the charging. They just aren't set up with any J1772 stations and Honda needs to fix that quickly.

    I know the car comes with an EVSE, but it's all wrapped up nicely in the car and I imagine the dealers are hesitant to mess it up before the car is purchased. Hence the need for the dealer to have an EVSE.
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  13. KentuckyKen

    KentuckyKen Well-Known Member

    Ditto on what everybody just said. Find a dealer that will charge it up o/n and your test drive will be completely different. I’ve gone 1,800 miles, used only 2gal of gas, have had plenty of pep, and never heard any high revs.
    Buy it, you won’t be sorry.
    KenG likes this.
  14. ngtroup

    ngtroup New Member

    I test drove the car twice. The first was like your experience. Then I read online and realized the battery needs at least a little charge and then it would drive like everyone else says.

    I contacted another dealer and asked them to put one on charge for me. The second test drive, I was in love and bought the same day. He only had a chance to plug it in for an hour but that was more than enough to get hooked with this phev car.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  15. aperson

    aperson New Member

    Is there a way to tell how many gallons of gas you have used (without trying to calculate based on the number of bars on the gas gauge)? The old Buick I got rid of, had a 'Gallons Used' display that basically worked like a trip meter. You could reset before a trip and see exactly how many gallons you used for the trip. Loved that.
  16. KentuckyKen

    KentuckyKen Well-Known Member

    None that I know of. It’s one of several omissions that our Clarity has. My old CRV counted down the miles to go and I miss that.
    I started with a full tank from the dealer and after one trip filled up to see what I had used (2gal). Gas has been sitting in tank for 3 months now so I’m glad I added some Stabil to it in Feb. Someone posted that they set their trip odometer and then filled up after say 220 miles to make sure they did not run out. Some posts indicate we have about 1/2 gal or 20 miles when low fuel idiot light comes on.
  17. M.M.

    M.M. Active Member

    This is probably a significant factor, although given that you can grab a J1772 charger that will plug in to any 120V outlet for about $200, that seems like a no-brainer if you're going to sell PHEVs. Honda should probably give dealerships carrying the Clarity a spare 120V charger anyway, but even without buying one seems like a bare-minimum effort for a new-car dealership.
    Johnhaydev likes this.
  18. Jaketesla

    Jaketesla Member

    I think that, at least in Canada, Honda dealers had to apply to be Certified Clarity Dealers and that part of the requirements was that they install a level 2 EVSE (which is available to Clarity owners to use).
  19. KenG

    KenG Member

    I am one of those here that has not experienced any odd or loud engine noises in two months of ownership....

    Sent from my iPhone using Inside EVs
    AndyBA likes this.
  20. Viking79

    Viking79 Well-Known Member

    Drive it with a charge, it is a different car.

    I hated the car before driving it with a charge, and I knew what to expect. Honda needs to whip the dealers into shape.

    As a last resort, put the car into HV Charge mode for 15 to 30 minutes and see if it gets you enough charge (press and hold HV button until it says HV Charge on dashboard). I tried this on mine and engine didn't actually charge the car, but battery might have been too cold, it was 10 F the day I biught it.
  21. Chooch

    Chooch Member

    It sounds like you have experienced the dreaded 'angry bees' sound. At least that's what folks are calling it but think it is way worse than that and it really bothers me- I'd liken it to the enraged bear that got his head stuck in the angry bees' hive sound. It's terrible and is the only thing making me not 100% in love with my Clarity. I am not sure I would have bought it if I knew about the bees, I mean bear. That said, I am learning to not hate it as my son reminded me that it is the sound of clean air since it means the car is trying hard to be efficient and clean. The car is trying a little too hard, I think, but ya gotta love kids.

    When the car has charge and is in EV mode, I LOVE IT. Thankfully most of my driving is in EV- I charge at home for ~12 hours overnight on my GFCI outlet with the cord that came with the car. Then in the morning I drive 40 miles to work on EV, I charge at work for 2.5-3 hours, via a Level 2, and get home on EV as well, often with range to spare. My commute is 21 miles on back roads going ~40 mph with only a few stop signs and 19 miles on the highway going about 73 mph. Other than at night in winter (I am in NH) with heat and lights on, I can do it all EV. And one warm day I had 26.5 miles left on charge when I got home after driving 39.9 miles in EV only! So yeah, on EV , I LOVE IT! That 26.5 is the record, though I have returned home from work with 15+ miles quite a few times in the warmer weather. I do drive very conservatively except for an occasional quick start off the stop line just because it's fun.

    However the trouble is on those instances where I travel further than the available range. I really don't like when the revving starts. Sometimes, when driving on back roads with battery depleted which is when the revving typically happens, even after taking my foot off the gas, the engine continues to rev for a few seconds and I can see it is in the green charging. That is very unnerving to me; it is almost as if the car has a mind of its own with regard to the gas pedal. Not a comfortable feeling. As others have said, I try not to fully deplete the battery since this makes the revving happen.
    However on the highway I don't notice the revving engine sound so much, even if the battery is depleted.

    I wish it had a way to simply run on gas when there is no battery left, rather than trying to run the car and also charge the battery from burning gas. I thought HVCharge was for simultaneously running the car and charging the battery but it sure does it in regular HV mode as well. By the way, I NEVER use HV Charge--talk about angry bees/bear! That engine sound is so atrocious, and it happens even on the highway, that I fear the car will explode.

    So from my experience I'd say if you can run mainly on EV or on the highway, the engine revving sound will not occur much, if at all, and you'll LOVE the car. If you will frequently exceed range and travel more on non-highway roads, unfortunately I'd not advise buying the Clarity if you found the revving to be unnerving. And if you're driving habits leave you somewhere in the middle of those scenarios, at least you know what you'll be getting yourself into as you've experienced the angry bees firsthand already. I think you'll find additional threads if you search angry bees here.
    Perhaps you could ask for a weekend trial test drive so you can run it through all possible scenarios; even if you have to pay for it, it'd probably be worth it. I've heard of people getting to do that whereas I test drove for about 10 minutes.

    I am not sure if the VOLT does the revving thing when out of charge but, if not, I might consider that. My coworker loves his. But I gotta say, looking at the two cars parked in the lot next to each other, the Clarity is bigger and way nicer (hive and all).

    As for the light colored interior- I went with black Touring but they did offer some type of stain resistant treatment at purchase which I declined (even after they dropped the price from like $450 to like $250). It guaranteed against stains and tears and I asked specifically about the 'suede' parts and they said yes it was included so if you love that color, maybe splurge for the treatment for peace of mind but get the price down first or ask them to throw it in.
    Oh and I'd also go with the Touring- mainly for the preconditioning option which I don't think is included with standard version, since it is very convenient, at least in the cold NH winter.
    Good luck with your decision!
  22. ab13

    ab13 Active Member

    Here is a video of what the Honda Fit engine sounds like at full throttle. Nice instrumentation, so you can see the RPM and engine output. This is similar to the engine in the Clarity, if you get full output that's what it will be like.

    Johnhaydev likes this.
  23. Atul Thakkar

    Atul Thakkar Active Member

    That's why it not a good idea to get demo vehicles

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