Will the Clarity work for long commuters like me?

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by ernda, Aug 28, 2018.

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  1. ernda

    ernda New Member

    Maybe it's me but it seems that the majority of posters here drive well less than the electric range of the the vehicle per day, thus many reports of never emptying a 7 gallon gas tank.

    I have a commute of 27 miles each way, mostly by freeway and drive about 23000 miles each year, take several long trips (eg, Los Angeles to Vegas) each year. I drive a 2012 Prius plug-in now, haven't bothered charging it for a long time because it drives fine as a pure hybrid and, most important to me, has kept me in the carpool lane as a lone occupant for years. But I am being grandfathered out of the carpool lane after this year so need a new car.

    It sounds like I couldn't just " get in and drive" a Clarity like I do my Prius with my long commutes and trips but have to carefully nurse driving modes to avoid "angry bees" or not being able to get over the Cajon Pass with only a 100 hp engine and no battery. Not sure what my real driving range would be between fillups.

    Since staying in the carpool lane is priority number one with me I need to decide between a Clarity and several other approved vehicles, some considerably more expensive but more akin to driving a "regular" car (eg, BMW 530e, Mercedes GLC 350e, Volvo plug-in hybrids). The Niro seems interesting but my wife says no to a Kia (don't ask). If the Clarity works for me I could overlook the less than state of the art Honda Sensing features, it not being a hatchback, the audio system complaints some have or the styling quirks.

    Any Clarity owners here in my"demographic" who could advise me?

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  3. jorgie393

    jorgie393 Well-Known Member

    You specifically asked for people in your driving demographic, so apologies (as I am not: I'm 19 miles each way, 15k a year). But as a framework: Sounds like you are talking about a commute (or maybe occasional trips) from Hesperia to San Bernadino area, over the Cajon Pass, and back. There's a 2500' elevation difference between SB and the pass. So you are right to wonder about saving battery for that uphill leg. I assume you would always start from home fully charged, and no charging at work.

    I get mid-50s range on my commute (in the summer, no heater, based on what's left when I arrive), but you might not quite make it on battery alone. If I were driving like you do but in a Clarity, I would push the "HV mode" button twice: once to turn it on, and once off, during some higher-speed and relatively flat part of the drive, on one leg. That would spare enough battery to get you home, and not leave you underpowered. I don't think this would really qualify as "nursing"---- just those two presses, which you would learn to do. And when to press them would be flexible. That's the price of a PHEV: it can't know that you are going on a long drive (greater than battery range), so you need to tell it in advance to save battery.

    As for the longer trips: I just pop it into HV mode when I hit the freeway, and come off again when I near the destination. Based on my own experience, you could go about 280 miles between fillups on gas alone, keeping at least 1/2 of the battery for emergencies. That's not immense, but generally plenty. You could even just leave it in HV mode all the time as soon as you start up (then it would be the same as driving your Prius, which you also are running as a hybrid all the time).

    So I'd definitely keep the Clarity in your running. You will need to hear from someone who drives more like you do.
    For comparison: You are used to a 2012 Prius that you run always in HV mode (no plugin), which has max 134 horsepower (100 from the engine, 30-ish from the battery), and weighs 3000 lbs. On the level, I think the 4000 lb Clarity with 212 hp would readily outperform. Would also outperform uphill, except if the battery is out, as you noted. You'd have to plan ahead pretty badly to run out on a known commute, though.)
  4. ernda

    ernda New Member

    Thanks for the reply. On a full battery I have no doubt the Clarity would outperform my Prius, comparing 0-60 of approx. 7.5 sec for the Clarity vs 9+ for the Prius.

    BTW my commute is not over the Cajon Pass, its actually pretty flat though mostly freeway. I was thinking of my longer trips I take each yar including Vegas over the Cajon Pass or to the Sierras (Yosemite, trailheads for backpacking, etc)
  5. jorgie393

    jorgie393 Well-Known Member

    Yep, though my point really is that this would be true not only on a full battery, but on anything short of a totally empty battery. And to keep the battery from running to empty, you would just need to turn on HV mode at some point (for a commute) or for most highway driving (for long travel).

    Admittedly, the Prius stays in HV mode like this automatically, while you have to do this manually in the Clarity, as you noted. Still, just two presses.

    I’ll pipe down and let some >20k/year drivers weigh in, since I’m not quite in that club.
  6. If you're driving your Prius Plug-in basically like a hybrid, you can also just turn off ECON mode, it will switch between battery and ICE depending on how you drive. You probably won't have the battery depleted at the end of the day.
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  8. ernda

    ernda New Member

    I'm a little confused. Is ECON mode the default mode when you turn on the car? Is turning ECON off different than turning on HV mode?
  9. Tacoma Soccer Dad

    Tacoma Soccer Dad New Member

    Your driving habits are similar to mine. I typically commute 40 miles each way. I plug in to a 120v at work, so I am able to do most of my commute with electricity. I switch to HV mode for a few miles of my commute, but you really don't need to. You can just let the battery drain and the car will switch to hybrid mode automatically. The car works great as a hybrid. The gas engine is slightly noticeable in town, but I think it's pretty similar to a prius. On the freeway, I don't notice any difference in noise when the ice engages. I have never experienced "angry bees", so I can't comment on that.

    I have also taken the car on some longer drives. It works great. As with the commute, you can press the HV button a couple times to preserve the battery, but it's not a problem if you don't. My wife took the car on a 500 mile road trip and had to cross 2 mountain passes. I didn't want to try and explain HV mode, so I just let her drive it. She drained the battery in the first 50 miles and didn't even realize it. She just drove it like a regular car and had no complaints.

    Hopefully that helps.
  10. Tacoma Soccer Dad

    Tacoma Soccer Dad New Member

    I think ECON mode reduces acceleration, reduces AC, etc. to reduce energy use (gas or electric). I run the car in ECON 99% of the time.

    HV mode runs the ICE like a hybrid. It preserves the battery and uses some gas.

    You can run the car in ECON and HV simultaneously.
    ClarityDoc and Atul Thakkar like this.
  11. Monir

    Monir New Member

    hi, how many stops were done to the gas station for a fill up during the 500 mile road trip?
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  13. stacey burke

    stacey burke Active Member

    I drove my Clarity from Grand Junction, CO to North Platte, NE 520 miles. Went over the Passes without problems. Filled up 2 times and had 1/2 tank when I got there.
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  14. ernda

    ernda New Member

    And were you in HV mode the whole time or in any particular driving mode?
  15. stacey burke

    stacey burke Active Member

    I did use HV for almost all of the drive. 60 to 75 mph all of the way.
  16. Tacoma Soccer Dad

    Tacoma Soccer Dad New Member

    On a road trip, the car has to be refueled like other vehicles. Our minivan has about a 18 gallon tank and gets 17 mpg, so the range is about 300 miles. Assuming you start with a full battery, the Clarity range is about 360 miles. With my commute and other driving, I usually drive about 1,400 miles between gas station visits.
  17. kent335

    kent335 Member

    You want a cheap car that still qualifies for a California HOV sticker and fits what you want to do? Get a Chevy Volt or another Toyota Prius Prime. If you want to spend more, get a Chevy Bolt or if you can afford it, a Tesla Model 3 or Model S.

    The other thing you should note is that there have been over 9,000 Honda Clairty Plug-In that have been sold, and only a handful of people have posted complaints about this vehicle on this forum. I would guess that 95% of the Clarity buyers are satisified with their purchase. I am very satisfied with mine. If you closely read some of the complaints on this forum, it's evident the complainers haven't read their owner's manual to see how their car performs.
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2018
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  18. JCEV

    JCEV Active Member

    HV mode is best on hwy, you barely notice it based on my testing. Where you get the bees for me is 40 mph stop and go. Your commute seems like it would work really well with a full charge, for the most part stay in EV on your daily commute.
    Daily commute check, hwy check. I think it will be a great car for you!

    Strengths of the car : City Driving on EV, Hwy HV.

    HV city is not quite as pleasant but not horrible.
  19. LAF

    LAF Active Member

    If your commute is flat you will never hear the angry bees when the car switches to HV mode when you run out of EV. You should use at most 1/2 gal each day. I had a Prius before which I loved, but this car is so much more comfortable especially on long drives. You will still have all EV for the weekends. Go for it.
  20. KentuckyKen

    KentuckyKen Well-Known Member

    Not exactly in your driving demographic, but from my 6 month experience with the Clarity I think you will be quite happy with it based on your post.
    In the summer with ac on, I’m getting 57 to 60 miles to a charge with local driving under 60 mph. And my HV trips are getting 49 mpg at 60 to 70 mph wirh minor battery depletion. If you can charge at work, you’ll do the whole commute on EV. If not, the car will automatically switch to HV for a small portion of your commute and of course for a larger portion in winter depending on temps and heater/defroster use. On level ground and under 1,000 ft, I can deplete the battery and not get the high rev angry bees. Only got the Clarity in Feb so I have no direct experience on EV range in winter, but other posters up north have mentioned it drops to high 30s, but your California temps will be much higher and so will your winter range. So your commute looks good and even I’d you can’t charge at work, you will still be doing most of it in EV.
    Your long trips in HV will be fine too if you make sure you have some charge when you go over the mountain passes. You should try it one time starting in EV with depletion to auto HV and see if you get the angry bees in the mountains. If you do, then just manually select HV before hand to keep some charge “in the bank” (as previously mentioned) or just start the trip in HV and select EV after mountain passes when you’re in range of your destination. I’ve gone up some steep hills (under 1,00 ft elevation) at 65 mph with a nearly full charge and the ICE only increased to a medium speed, moderate hum. I’ve never heard the angry bees ever.
    I don’t have to “baby” the Clarity at all and drive it like a regular gasmobile but with the only caveat that I make sure I have some charge before going over mountains. On rolling hills of the interstate in KY, I don’t have to do anything unless I want to save some charge for city driving at my destination in order to never be in HV in low speed city driving.

    EV doesn’t reduce your power, it just remaps the pedal position making you push further to get the same power before you hit the click that adds the ICE power to the battery power. This helps you accelerate more moderately and avoid turning in the ICE. It also may moderate the ac, but in 90 F weather, I haven’t noticed any effect on cooling the cabin.

    Buy the Clarity, you won’t be sorry and it’s head and shoulders above the current PHEV offerings in comfort, passenger and trunk room, and quietness. And if you don’t drive it like a bat out of you know where, it will easily beat the EPA milage ratings.
    PHEV Newbie likes this.
  21. neal adkins

    neal adkins Active Member

    Most of my 3500 miles are from longer commutes and I am still averaging over 70 mpg. The ride in the Clarity is above the Prius I test drove. Plugging in will save you about 7 gallons of fuel per 5 day work week, About 100$ per month. That's enough to pay your car insurance. The angry bees have only happened to me when climbing a long grade, but now I have learned how to manage my battery better. The audio system is a 9 out of ten overall in my opinion. Well balanced pretty sound. It just doesn't have the high output bass some people like. Probably because this car is designed for efficiency and a high out put amp would use more electricity. The car handles better than any car close to it's class according to many owners. The few problems I have experienced with the collision mitigation and angry bees are diminished now that I better understand this car. This is a high tech vehicle that takes time to learn but it has been a fun challenge for me. Most of the Clarity owners are fanatics.lol
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2018
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  22. ernda

    ernda New Member

    I understand the fanaticism. I used to own the 2005 and 2006 Prius (now driven by my daughters) and hung around Priuschat, doing little "hacks" to both cars I learned about on that forum.
  23. neal adkins

    neal adkins Active Member

    I owned a 2010 Camry hybrid and loved it. This car handles and drives better and gets much better mpg. In Japan the clarity is over 50k. Main difference is level 3 charging. With the rebates I got my touring model for about 30k on a lease. I was really sold on Toyota before. But Honda is the boss on this one.

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