Why I sold my Clarity after a year.

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by barnesgj, Feb 14, 2019.

  1. barnesgj

    barnesgj Active Member

    My dissatisfaction started on the day I drove the car off the lot when I heard the engine revving for the first time. I was totally enamored with the electric drive and my driving patterns allowed me to drive almost exclusively in EV mode, so I was able to ignore this. There were minor issues and some tech omissions which I was able to compensate for and I continued to love my Clarity. Then my driving patterns changed. I started regularly driving beyond the EV range and the love affair quickly went south.

    For the past few months, I have had to mentally calculate just how far I could drive before putting the car in HV mode in order to avoid getting too close to full battery discharge. Even with loads of charge, the car revved and was no longer fun to drive, but I continued to analyze and monitor it and tried to maintain a positive attitude. And then, one cold night when I was climbing a hill with the heater on and the engine revving (with adequate battery charge), the car lost power. I have read the other forum members' experiences, but nothing compares to having it happen in person. I was thankfully able to regain power by turning off the heater and putting the car in EV mode. I got home ok and it never happened again, but I never trusted the car not to do it again, either.

    So, thanks to all of you for the support and advice, without which I probably would not have lasted as long as I have. I am not sorry that I bought the car, as I have learned so much this past year, but it will be awhile before I venture back into the world of EVs.
    MNSteve and craze1cars like this.
  2. Clarity_Newbie

    Clarity_Newbie Active Member


    Don't blame you one bit. That is a dangerous scenario as described by yourself and a host of others. I've read posts by two other owners who got rid of the Clarity in less than a year because of the power loss issue.

    And from what I've read, it doesn't help that neither Honda USA nor the dealer network seem to give a darn...much less try to figure out what's up. If the car doesn't throw a code...dealers are useless. Problem resolution is a thing of the past.

    However, there is an effort underway to try and collect data to help figure out what's going on. Maybe one day we'll stumble on the answer.

    Good luck.
  3. barnesgj

    barnesgj Active Member

    Thanks for the positive thoughts.
  4. AlanSqB

    AlanSqB Active Member

    Did you get a fair deal for it? Last I checked on KBB I was about $10k in the hole on mine, but that’s offset by $12,500 in tax credits I’m getting this year so I’m not mad. I’d also get back part of what I paid for the extra warranty.

    My only concern about a trade in right now is the fact my wheels are a mess from all the curbing that happens in this weirdly wide car. There is a local place that will fix up the wheels for about $450 but I’m only going to do that if I get rid of it.

    I may hit up Carmax for a quote this weekend just for the heck of it.
    LegoZ and 228ra like this.
  5. tenbender

    tenbender New Member

    I can understand this. At first I was stoked to buy a Clarity, but between the hassles that seem to be involved with this car and the bad experiences I have had with a couple of Honda dealers that appear not to give a damn about these vehicles, I have drifted away to another brand.
  6. KentuckyKen

    KentuckyKen Well-Known Member

    Sorry to hear about your bad ( and unsafe) experience. That would be unacceptably to me too. No one so far has any idea why some Claritys exhibit this behavior and some don’t. I hope the finances work out in your favor in the end.
    May I ask three questions to try to understand the conditions?
    1. What Service Bulletin updates have you had applied?
    2. What is the build date?
    3. When it lost power, where you certian you has pressed past the first click and all the way to the floorboard?
    Sometimes people stop at the click/detect thinking that is as far as it will go. If not sure,try to feel it and use a heavy foot when car is off to verify.
    Thanks for letting us know.
    NaughtyNeutron and 4sallypat like this.
  7. Mark W

    Mark W Active Member


    Thanks for sharing the story. I also am hoping you can share some more information with us. Did you report the issue to Honda? What car did you replace it with?
  8. MrFixit

    MrFixit Active Member

    Also sorry to hear about your bad experience.

    If you haven't already, I would like to encourage you to report this experience to the NHTSA. It will be formal complaints like this that will ultimately get the attention of Honda, resulting in appropriate corrective action. Here is a link to the complaint reporting page: https://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/VehicleComplaint/

    The fact that most of us have not experienced this issue gives me hope that the problem is not fundamental, and Honda will get on board at some point with a real solution.
  9. ab13

    ab13 Active Member

    There is probably still a lot of software work needed here. The fuel cell Clarity has had 1 or 2 recalls regarding power loss. Although it is a different system, it still uses an electric drive with lithium battery.

    People with earlier Chevy Volts reported loss of power issues on NHTSA, which may have been resolved over the newer model years.
  10. Ken7

    Ken7 Active Member

    Sorry to hear about this issue. I guess I don't frequent these threads frequently enough, because this is the first time I've heard of this issue. It's certainly never happened to us and I assume that it's either because our car isn't afflicted with this problem or we haven't matched the driving conditions that bring it on.
  11. barnesgj

    barnesgj Active Member

    I traded and I wish I could say that I got a great deal, but I didn't. No dealer where I live wants a plugin and I had a fender bender with a tree limb that was reported to CarFax as a collision, which dropped the value even more. I tried not to think about it and the rebate helped some, but I still took a loss. But that would happen with any car traded after a year.
    Louis Nisenbaum likes this.
  12. barnesgj

    barnesgj Active Member

    I had all the SBs that were outstanding when I had the service done in the Fall.
    Not sure the actual build date, but I bought it Dec 31, 2017.
    Am also not sure about pressing the accelerator past the detent. I was on a busy highway going about 70 when it happened. My heart was revving faster than the car, and was reacting to the situation.

    Sorry, I can't be more helpful.
  13. barnesgj

    barnesgj Active Member

    No, I did not. I know that I should have, but I'm not someone who likes confrontaton and since it never happened again, I didn't think I had a very solid case.
    I replaced it with a gas powered Hyundai Kona.
  14. barnesgj

    barnesgj Active Member

    I tend to agree with you that my car may be one of the exceptions. I used a loaner car for a few days while waiting for mine to arrive and I never noticed any revving. I drove that car over 200 miles in all conditions. I noticed mine revving at once and I always noticed it when the engine was running. I was embarrassed about how loud it sounded, like I was trying to race the motor. :)
  15. PHEV Newbie

    PHEV Newbie Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the story. Did the car completely lose power or was there simply a drop so you couldn't maintain speed even with the ICE revving high? If the latter, it reminds me of my experiences climbing a small/mid-sized mountain outside of town. Early in ownership, I approached the hill in HV mode with 35-40% of battery charge. I was shocked that there was so little power with the ICE revving loudly. I had to stay in truck lane as other cars whizzed by me. I looked at the energy meter and 100% of the power was coming from ICE and none from the traction battery even though there was, what I thought to be, a significant charge. Halfway up (I know this road well), I switched to EV and flew up with plenty of power but it did deplete much of the battery. No heat nor A/C was on. Subsequently, I keep a major charge anytime I'm in HV (60% or more) and I have no trouble climbing that hill in the fast lane. The ICE purrs quietly and I notice that power comes from both ICE and battery on the way up, unlike before. The car seems to behave completely differently depending on how much battery charge you have left. It does not have to be depleted for it to rely mainly on the ICE. In your case, I wonder if you were initially drawing from both ICE and battery but when the charge got too low (35-40% as with me), it just drew from the ICE causing a big drop in power. Anyway, I always keep a major charge in the battery in HV to avoid such situations and after a number of road trips and thousands of miles, I've never felt a lack of power in HV mode.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2019
  16. barnesgj

    barnesgj Active Member

    If you haven't noticed the revving, you probably won't. The power issue is another matter.

    I don't want my experience to influence anyone not to get this car. Nor, do I want it to appear that I hated it. I really liked it and may have been able to drive it for years without anymore issues. I am quick to trade cars when there is a problem, which most cars have. This is a truly remarkable, in spite of the issues.

    I live in an area without much support network for any type of electric vehicles. Actually, both local Hyundai dealers told me that they would not be stocking any Kona EVs because they could not sell them. Right now, I just want to be able to get in a car and drive without having to think about it. Getting a bit tired of the 'bleeding edge' tech.
  17. barnesgj

    barnesgj Active Member

    Actually, that sounds like exactly what happened. It felt like I was losing power and I reacted by switching to EV before I even noticed, but thinking back, I probably still had some. I had about 20% of battery left and when I switched to EV mode (and turned off the heater), the power came back. I did try to keep more charge on the battery after that, which may be why it never happened again. Interesting...
  18. MrFixit

    MrFixit Active Member

    Please take a moment to register a complaint with the NHTSA...
    I know from experience (with a different car) that it is a very easy process that should take less than 10 minutes.
    You would performing a service for the Clarity Community !
  19. barnesgj

    barnesgj Active Member

    So let me clarify what happened. I was climbing a hill and pressed the accelerator to maintain my speed (around 65). The car revved noticeably, but the speed did not increase. I pressed down a bit harder and heard higher revving and again no increased power, at which time I backed off the accelerator and switched to EV mode.
  20. KentuckyKen

    KentuckyKen Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the reply. I guess all we can say wirh certianty at this point is that there seems to be a lot of variation in how our Claritys work.

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