Winter vs warm weather driving

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by PHEV Newbie, May 3, 2019.

  1. PHEV Newbie

    PHEV Newbie Well-Known Member

    Second winter we've gone through with our Clarity and warm temps are finally here again. I'm an enthusiast so I've stayed in EV most of the winter and kept the heat way down. Of course, that's gotten old. Some have mentioned that driving in hybrid mode in the winter is actually less expensive than EV because of the dramatic reduction in range coupled with the huge drain on the battery by having the heat on. My suggestion is to just drive in hybrid mode when the temp is below freezing so your can benefit from the waste heat created by the ICE. You will save money in multiple ways. In addition to lower fuel costs is the extended life of the battery by not having to charge so much in the winter time. Winter is very hard on the battery because you'll have to charge it a lot more for the same unit miles compared to the other seasons so you'll be more likely to deplete the battery on a regular basis. Also, it's a good idea to run the ICE regularly. A long term idle engine coupled with old gas is a recipe for an expensive system failure.
    HagerHedgie likes this.
  2. LAF

    LAF Active Member

    I understand your rationale but the difference is so small that I don't think its worth giving up the environmental impact of using gas, not to mention its more enjoyable driving in EV.
    Mark W likes this.
  3. petteyg359

    petteyg359 Active Member

    1. My electricity for charging the car is effectively free. Gas is only cost-effective when I'm on long trips.
    2. I *want* to wear out the battery while it is still in warranty, rather than pay for a replacement myself later.
    3. The gas system is sealed and pressurized. It's not going to get "old".
    markc likes this.
  4. KentuckyKen

    KentuckyKen Well-Known Member

    I’m with @LAF and @petteyg359 on this for all their excellent reasons.
    I’m not so sure that even with winter range cut in half that HV is significantly cheaper than EV. I’m not doing the math since my 9.9 kW solar PV system lets me drive for free.

    Using seat heat and preconditioning let me hardly use cabin heat this winter so my range never went below 40 miles and was high 40s for most of the winter. But I was doing gloves and coat and trying to masochistically see how much winter range I could squeeze out of my new Clarity. Next winter will be comfort over range and we’ll see.

    I’m not worried about the battery since I very rarely deplete it down to 2 bars, 0 EV range so my depth of discharge is good, I don’t live in an extremely hot location, don’t drive aggressively or at high speeds in EV, and don’t let the battery sit very long at full charge. (I schedule charging to finish an hour before I leave so I’m not charging a hot battery or driving off on a hot battery.) And the car is garaged so battery temperature extremes are mostly avoided.

    In 10 years or so if the battery capacity degraded enough, then I expect battery tech and costs to make it feasible to replace the pack. By the time the second pack wears out there will be enough charging stations and we’ll have the 500+ mile, 80% charge in <30 min (without hurting battery life), affordable EV. Then I will go BEV. And yes, I think self driving cars are 20 years off because I don’t see it working until every car is a node that is communicating location info to every other car. Otherwise it’s going to bring new meaning to the old computer term “blue screen of death”.
    But by then I’ll be in a self rolling wheelchair!
  5. Mark W

    Mark W Active Member

    Be careful with that thinking. You would think that would be the case, but Nissan Leafs are a good case against it. The 2011 and 2012 model batteries are notorious for degrading very quickly. About a year ago, Nissan raised the price of battery replacement from around $6500 to $8500! For a small 24Kwh pack! Everyone thought that third party companies would have sprung up to provide an alternative. To date, no reliable company has, and there have been MANY more Leafs sold than Claritys!

    Don't get me wrong, I'm sure Honda's batteries will be better than Nissan's, and I don't expect to have a problem.
    KentuckyKen likes this.
  6. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member

    Preconditioning, down jacket, gloves, and maybe the seat heater. Avoid breathing on the windshield. Comfort is not an option.
  7. Tailwind

    Tailwind Active Member

    Or, do like me. Plug in car when in the garage, unplug to drive. Never touch any of the HV/HV charge/Sport buttons. If the distance to be driven is greater than the EV range, let the car change to HV on its own. Set HVAC at 66 winter and 74 summer. Don't precondition or use seat heaters (except seat heaters for the first 5 minutes on lowest setting on coldest mornings). Most important of all: Drive the speed limit! Your driving style will pay vastly greater dividends than any of the charge/don't charge or HVAC/no HVAC things you might do.

    Just my opinion, your mileage may (WILL!) vary.:D
  8. Sandroad

    Sandroad Well-Known Member Subscriber

    Excellent.......with the Clarity the acronym changes from YMMV to YMWV.
    4sallypat likes this.
  9. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member

    Are you avoiding preconditioning to send less money to the power company or to burn less coal? Or are you talking about unplugged preconditioning?
  10. David Towle

    David Towle Active Member

    We seem to have a lot of threads where different factions tell others how to drive their Clarity. Its getting a bit silly to me at this point, although it may still be helpful to the newest members..

    Owners have different priorities, different costs of gas and especially electricity, and different driving conditions. If cost is important to you, optimize cost based on your conditions and driving style. If quiet or local emissions is important to you, keep it in EV as much as possible.

    Everybody just drive your Clarity the way it makes sense to you and enjoy it! I just passed 6 months and 14,000 miles and I really love the car!
    Texas22Step and 4sallypat like this.
  11. Tailwind

    Tailwind Active Member

    I'm not saying avoid preconditioning, I'm saying don't bother.

    As David Towle said in his post, there are a lot of different ways to drive this car. To me, all of this "don't use the heater" and "use HV on the highway to save EV for the surface road at destination" are a huge bunch of silliness. Just drive your car! The single thing that will improve your energy usage the most is to slow down! The difference between going 55 MPH in a 55 speed zone and going 65-70 will improve your energy usage by 15% easily.

    This is how I drive. Everyone is free to drive as they please.
  12. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member

    I believe many people come to this forum to learn and debate the different ways to maximize the capabilities of the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid. I don't see how that's silly. The drivers of the two other Claritys and ordinary cars cannot choose among the many modes the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid offers to fine-tune its efficiency. I think everyone can agree that efficiency is what the Clarity is all about.

    Honda does not provide information about the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid beyond what is written in a couple of manuals, demonstrated in a few YouTube Videos, and described in a handful peer-reviewed papers. Only in a place such as this wonderful forum can people learn from the experience of so many other Clarity drivers.

    Of course, there is no need for drivers to worry about fine-tuning the Clarity PHEV's operation. It's not like the early days of automotive history when drivers not only had to shift gears for themselves, but they also needed to worry about setting the choke and even adjusting the spark advance while they were driving. Clarity drivers can simply get in and drive--the car will still reward them with outstanding efficiency.

    Some people may come to this forum once and leave happy in the knowledge they can ignore all the mode buttons without any dire consequences. After confirming this fact, they may return only to read about and discuss Clarity accessories or any problems that they're experiencing.

    I find it absolutely fascinating how much there is to learn about the Clarity PHEV. Is there another car on the market that gives the driver so much control over the way the car operates? I'm grateful for all the knowledge--hard-won thorough experience--the members of this forum have uncovered. I'm even grateful for the incorrect conclusions some members come up with because it provides fodder for debate. I've been corrected many times and take great satisfaction that there are people here who know so much more than me.

    As long as people promoting certain ways of driving their Clarity PHEV explain why they believe those techniques make sense, I say, Bring It On.
    Last edited: May 4, 2019
    Dan Albrich, MNSteve, MPower and 3 others like this.
  13. MNSteve

    MNSteve Well-Known Member

    One of the things that impresses me about the Clarity is the way that it satisfies the needs of two vastly different populations. There are the folks who want to get into a car and just drive it, and the Clarity works just fine in that mode. Then there are the folks like many of us here on this forum who enjoy the challenge of trying to reverse-engineer the inner workings of the car based on what we can observe ("looking through a glass darkly").
    Texas22Step, 4sallypat and insightman like this.
  14. PHEV Newbie

    PHEV Newbie Well-Known Member

    I actually like the fact that we can discuss all the different ways to drive a Clarity. At one extreme, you can drive it all the time as a hybrid vehicle (I don't recommend that though) and you'll still contribute far less pollution and carbon than most cars out there. You can also drive all EV, all the time, if you don't drive a lot of miles or charge often enough. And of course, anything in between. That's the great thing about the Clarity, it's a really efficient versatile car and I still can't understand why it doesn't sell like hotcakes! Maybe when gas prices go over $4 again...
  15. MNSteve

    MNSteve Well-Known Member

    I believe that is exactly what it will take.

    As an aside, my EV range reached 40 this morning for the first time since our early Winter onset last year. Another item to add to my list of signs of Spring.
  16. Bina12834

    Bina12834 Member

    I was seeing ranges in the mid to upper 30's when the temps were below freezing during the winter months (only used seat heater unless the windows needed to be defrosted). In the spring with no A/C use i was getting ranges in the high 50's and sometimes low 60's. To save some range I'm fine driving with the windows down in the 90 degree 100% humidity instead of using the A/C, but try telling that to my wife.
    insightman likes this.
  17. Mowcowbell

    Mowcowbell Active Member

    You shouldn't have to suffer. Heck, I blast my A/C when it's over 80 degrees and am seeing around 55-60 miles of EV range on the guess-o-meter in my Clarity.
    Texas22Step likes this.
  18. Bina12834

    Bina12834 Member

    How the heck! Are you just getting blasted with honks because you're driving so slow? Does the A/C not impact range like the heater does? I figured any HVAC usage impacted range equally.
  19. KentuckyKen

    KentuckyKen Well-Known Member

    After one year in all seasons and tracking every kW and mile, I can safely state that the AC set at Auto 72 to 74 F makes only a fraction of the range reduction that the resistance elements of the cabin heater and defroster make. Early on I tried not using the AC vs. using it and found only a 2 to 3 mile EV range reduction from mind 60s to low 60s.

    So I use the AC whenever I need to but am still parsimonious with the heat since I precondition in a garage and most of my trips are short.
  20. Bina12834

    Bina12834 Member

    My wife would kiss you for telling me this.
    Texas22Step and KentuckyKen like this.

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