Why I sold my Clarity after a year.

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

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  1. Mark W

    Mark W Active Member

    I understand what you are saying, and agree with you to a point, but it just seems a little extreme. Yes, by nature, a PHEV is more complicated and requires more understanding than either a gas car or a straight EV. We have two adults and two teens in the family that share the Clarity, a Nissan Leaf, and an SUV. Nobody likes driving the SUV. I am the type that frequents boards like this. My wife is just the opposite. She doesn't care about tech, and doesn't want to understand about the ins and outs of how things work. She gets in the car and drives it. Doesn't care about the modes. I think the only thing that REALLY needs to be explained to drivers is the fact that 95% of the time when the engine runs, it is running to charge the battery and NOT to power the car directly. So the engine will rev at a higher speed sometimes that has nothing to do with the accelerator. That is really hard to understand for people. Don't forget, if you are on this board, you have some level of interest in how things work. Most people really do not. Those people can have a great experience driving a Clarity, oblivious to modes and buttons, if they understand the engine revving.
    Tim66 and MrFixit like this.
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  3. bill_m

    bill_m Member

    I would like to allay some of your concerns about your wife driving the Clarity. My wife has been driving the car for the past two months and she loves it. She is very focused on her work, was not interested in going car shopping with me, and never took test rides. Although she does share my concern for lowering our energy footprint. She has never been curious to look at the Owner's Guide or the Owner's Manual, does not know how to charge the car, or open the hood, or put in gas. I charge it every night and make sure there is gas in the tank. She likes the visibility through the windshield, the LaneWatch camera, and the other safety features, such as the LKAS. As far as I know, the only buttons she pushes are the POWER button, the P, D, N, R shifters, and also the AUTO knob to select a temperature. I drove with her twice and that was apparently enough. She just needed to get used to the absolute silence of the car when it wasn't moving. (No, it hadn't stalled). She has enjoyed the ease of steering, braking, and driving. Like your wife, she never drives beyond battery range so has never had to worry about gas-battery tradeoffs.
    And she is a better driver -- not once has she driven over the curb turning right, thanks to LaneWatch, a problem she has had more than once. One can depend on Honda safety features.

    For many people on this Forum, knowing more about cars adds to the pleasure of driving. And digging deeper and deeper increases the pleasure. But for my wife and others, driving a car is no more interesting than getting food from the refrigerator, just a means to an end: no interest in energy efficiencies or thermodynamics or advances in ice-making technology.
    fotomoto and 4sallypat like this.
  4. Dante

    Dante Member

    Hi Mark W and bill_m

    I understand your points and don't get me wrong - I'm not a downer... I'm in central jersey and my trips are on the same flat roads and highways and so on, but that isn't even the case for my fellow new jersians in the northern part of the state, let alone elsewhere. The simple fact (based on previous posts here) that you have to plan on having plenty of charge before you tackle a grade, or toggling between HV and EV modes to "fool" the car into what charge point to maintain when in HV, or loss of power (or better lack of sufficient acceleration) because you didn't ration battery and HV properly, with or without heat, AC or who knows what, on top of all the things people have going on in our lives... can't you see someone getting home and being done with the car after a couple of those?

    Just a few examples that in my view do not jive with a mass consumption philosophy. If Honda or other car makers advertised these vehicles as custom, or requiring deep understanding of all permutations involving power generation, distribution and utilization, not to mention other software and such, for optimal driving experience, than I'm ok... but my point is, as we've been accustomed for decades, I can't say Clarity is as simple as turn on, shift/press/switch drive and go. The future (this car represents to some extent) should make COMMUTE (and driving why not) easier
    Gearhead likes this.
  5. KentuckyKen

    KentuckyKen Well-Known Member

    I’ve been following all the conversations here and I don’t think the Clarity needs any “deep understanding of all the permutations ...for optimal driving experience”.
    If that were the case, my Clarity would have never left the dealer’s lot or my driveway since I admit I don’t have any deep understanding of PHEVs.

    To me it’s simplicity itself; plug in every night, use EV in town and HV on the highway. That’s it; easy peasy. I don’t do any deep thinking or frequent second guessing button pushing besides P, R, N, and D.

    So I’ve only manually chosen the mode and pushed the HV button 7 times in the first year. (Maybe an extra couple on the trips because it defaults to EV after a gas stop.) Six times for three out of town trips and once to test how it did with no charge on my local highway. And the car has performed flawlessly with no angry bees or loss of power or any other problem.
    Perhaps if Honda had mentioned using HV and sufficient charge for extended highway trips in the manual, it would have prevented some problems.
  6. MPower

    MPower Well-Known Member

    Your wife will have it easier than you. She can get in the car, put it in ECON once, drive to work, park, press the door button to lock it, and after work get in and drive it home. It will retain the ECON setting. What else does she need to know? Mode shmode.
    Tim66 and insightman like this.
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  8. barnesgj

    barnesgj Active Member

    I agree that driving in EV mode is golden in this car. And, also understand that most owners have not experienced the HV and HV Charge mode issues. However, anyone who has experienced the high revving and loss of power issues is for all practical purposes driving a different car.

    While I was able to stay in EV mode, I loved driving it and never felt uneasy. When I began to frequently drive beyond the EV range, I was constantly monitoring remaining distance and trying to figure out when to shift between EV and HV. My lovely drive became a daily problem to solve and my one instance of power loss shattered my confidence.

    Looking back at the accident that I had, I also think that the weak headlights may have contributed to my inability to see the limb hanging over the road with enough advance warning to be able to stop in time. Maybe, it was simply a perfect storm.
  9. I’m on another forum where something like the below classifications have emerged.

    For this forum, it might be...

    ARCOA and LGCOA.

    That is, Anal Retentive Clarity Owners Anonymous, or...

    Loosey Goosey Clarity Owners Anonymous.

    Most here are likely the former - not that there’s anything wrong with that!
    Tim66 likes this.
  10. craze1cars

    craze1cars Well-Known Member

    You don’t “have” to do any of the things in your first paragraph above. Some here choose to because they enjoy it and feel they’re accomplishing a touch more mpg. Maybe they are.

    And as for your last sentence I quoted above...I absolutely CAN say it is exactly what you say it isn’t. It’s exactly how my wife drives it. Rarely does she change modes for any reason. She just drives the car normal. Sometimes the battery bottoms out. It still works just fine. And she overall likes it. I fiddle with it a bit more. But because I choose to, not because I have to.
    Mark W likes this.
  11. Gearhead

    Gearhead Member

    I'm at the point where I 'just drive'. I experience angry bees occasionally when EV range is zero (most of my driving is EV given my usage pattern) but have not experienced performance degradation. I do believe Honda made a conscious design decision to minimize 'working' charge when EV hits zero in order to maximize advertised EV range. After a fun filled year experimenting with modes and recently losing interest in actively managing my battery I would have preferred Honda keep an extra Kw or so in reserve when EV goes to zero for less angry bee time but, really, the car is terrific. I believe angry bees are a feature, not a defect and that fact makes it acceptable if not desirable.
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  13. MPower

    MPower Well-Known Member

    As a PHEV operation of this car is not significantly different from my 2012 Prius Plugin. The engine would run unexpectedly. It would roar especially accelerating up hills and/or have to be driven in the truck lane for lack of ooomph.

    Unless you are some kind of control freak, just let the car do its thing and don't exceed the speed limit and the driving will be very pleasant and way less tiring than the Prius.
    fotomoto and KentuckyKen like this.
  14. Mark W

    Mark W Active Member

    This is my situation exactly. I have explained to my wife that the engine may rev when she doesn't expect it to, and that it's "normal" for this car. I have suggested to her that if she is driving further than the EV range, to press the HV button when she drives on the highway. I doubt she ever does it. So she just drives it, and I also pretty much let the car do it's thing with the exception of using HV on the highway.

    Let me be clear, I DO believe Honda should make some changes in the software to lessen the amount of time that higher revving occurs. I don't enjoy the car as much when that happens. What is the sudden emergency where the engine has to rev at 3500 rpm instead of 2000 RPM? Couldn't it instead run at 2500 for a while instead? I can understand if you have been going up a steep hill for a long period. That makes sense. Otherwise, I think the software should handle it better.

    Given that, I still am not going to make a million calculations, and constantly press buttons and manage the car while driving. It's the same reason I have not owned a standard shift car, in a long time. I don't want to work that hard while driving. We're all different human beings. Some of us, the revving won't bother at all, others like me, it's mildly annoying, and to others it's like nails on a chalkboard apparently.
    MPower and Richard_arch74 like this.
  15. Steven B

    Steven B Active Member

    Well, I for one can't agree with your "feelings" of what happened. From your above text, you were going up a hill and wanted the car to go up the hill faster. You asked it to do that and it said no. There are limits to vehicle capabilities. The vehicle did not "lose power"; the vehicle continued to apply the same amount of power. If the incline had lessened, the speed would have increased. Furthermore, sometimes as you climb a hill, the vehicle will slow down to a speed that allows its power output to match the environmental conditions it is operating in (wind resistance, incline, load). Who hasn't noticed a fuel economy car slow down climbing hills; likewise, people who tow things know this as reality. Don't try to equate an increase in speed with an increase in power; only in a vacuum on a level surface will that always be the case.
  16. MGT

    MGT New Member

    I'm re-posting this from a month or so ago:

    "I experienced low battery and weak ICE power the night I drove our Clarity home from the dealership. We leased ours from a dealer approximately 30 miles away. Getting home involved about 20 miles by freeway and the rest surface street.

    The thing is, we live at the top of a hill. To get home, i had to drive up a gradual hill, descend about the same distance, then drive up our fairly steep hill. It’s about a 500 foot altitude gain. The Clarity could barely get up our steep hill, going about 15 mph, and making a terrible loud sound. My husband was following in our Civic but fortunately he didn’t hear it."

    That was my first drive in our Clarity. I learned from that experience, and from reading online, that I need to preserve about 3 bars of battery (roughly 10 miles of battery range) to make sure I can always drive up our hill to get home.

    Since we got the Clarity, back in January, I've racked up 3700 miles (I have a long commute to work (surface streets and freeway)).

    I typically drive EV on surface streets and HV on the freeway. Sometimes, at work, I can park in a charging spot and completely charge the battery. This provides a 61 mile EV Range, which gives me the courage to drive in EV for my entire route home (freeway and surface).

    Overall, the Clarity has no problem climbing steep inclines on the freeway at high speed. The Los Angeles area has a lot of hills and mountains and several freeways have some stretches with very steep grades. I could drive 70+ mph and the Clarity would have no problem.

    So, for me, driving the Clarity is a very positive experience. In the past several weeks, I've been noticing a *lot* of Clarity cars.
    AlanSqB, fotomoto and Robert_Alabama like this.
  17. AlanSqB

    AlanSqB Active Member

    Have also experienced the power loss issue. Especially on the trip home from the dealer. Increasing the “floor” for EV from 2 to 3 bars would probably solve the probe but that’s going to be associated with a loss in EV range in most conditions so I doubt it will happen.

    I was also considering selling because I am a bit worried about the value/cost of owning a “unicorn” but I’ve seen more Claritys in the last month than the entire year I’ve owned it. Something must be happening.

    I know how to manage the battery now (don’t let it run out) and the dealer here seems to know how to deal with it so it stays for now. For the future, I just want them to get a 200-240 mile battery into the BEV and get it up here in WA and I’ll be a happy Honda owner.
  18. KentuckyKen

    KentuckyKen Well-Known Member

    I’ll share this observation about whether to let the traction battery deplete to 2 bars/0 EV.
    With only a driver and no luggage, on rolling hills with no steep ascents, and at speeds under 60 mph, my Clarity did fine (no loss of power and no angry bees) when I did a test and let it deplete enough to switch to HV on its own.
    That being said, I would not want to try a depleted battery on a steep hill, with a heavy load, at high speeds, or any combination of those. (Or perhaps high altitude)
    But for normal conditions, it seems to do just fine for me. The few times I’ve taken a long trip, I’ve started out in HV with an almost full charge and even on steep hills and Interstate speeds, I’ve never heard the angry bees. In fact the only time I’ve ever noticed the engine was on the steep hill and even then it was not past mid range (kind of like my old gasmobile shifting out of OD).
    Hope this helps.
    insightman likes this.
  19. jwb

    jwb New Member

    I drove my Clarity over Tejon Pass out of LA earlier this week with a dead battery and a full tank of gas. It has up to 6% grades and reaches 4000ft. I set the cruise for 65 and it was fine. I was in the left lane passing everybody. Many ICE cars can't handle this pass. Got 35MPG even under these conditions. Going in the other direction my wife driving set the cruise for 75 because she's a maniac. Car made a lot of noise and got tragic MPG but still was fine. I conclude that the power-loss phenomenon must be specific to certain cars, or only happens randomly.
    Gearhead likes this.
  20. melklim

    melklim New Member

    Interesting read about loss of power going up a hill. I often will drive in ECON and live on top of a very steep hill. Many times I do drive home with little or no battery before approaching the incline. Haven't experience loss of power, angry bees, etc but now I'm going to be aware when it does happen.
  21. Gearhead

    Gearhead Member

    Are you in EV mode most of these times? If you are there won't be anything to notice. In HV mode from my experience there's no loss of power but the engine would rev high which would be noticeable although the angry bee thing isn't a big deal for me. I live in a hilly area and the last part of by drive is a climb from sea level to a few hundred feet. With zero EV range the engine will rev high.
  22. Gearhead

    Gearhead Member

    I agree with your conclusion BUT I'll feel better about the car once the power-loss question is answered conclusively by Honda. It's rattling around in the back of my mind. I suppose a few cars effected (as long as you're not one of the unlucky ones) is better than happening randomly, which could bite anyone at any time, but it isn't great not to really know.
  23. Tim66

    Tim66 Active Member

    "shift/press/switch drive and go" Is exactly how my wife and probably 75% or more Clarity owners drive the car. You are overthinking this. This web site is visited by people who are interested in more than just "shift/press/switch drive and go" We do not represent the majority of Clarity owners. The discussions into the munitia of the Clarity are not what the average Clarity owner is interested in. They just get in and drive. No offense but you don't seem to be happy with a car with modern features. Get a non hybrid Chevy or Ford and relax.

    qtpie, MNSteve, bill_m and 2 others like this.

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