Automatic Engine Start - 2018 Honda Clarity Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-15-2020, 02:23 PM Thread Starter
JCZ
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Automatic Engine Start

I do not own a Clarity but I am researching some details of hybrid vehicles. In the Owner's Manual for the Clarity PHEV, under "Driver Information and information Messages", I find the following display:"Appears when the engine starts automatically when the engine has not started for a long time."


What exactly does this mean? Will the car start its engine by itself, e.g. to prevent the battery from become totally deleted, or will the engine be set in motion under certain momentary conditions during driving the car?
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-15-2020, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by JCZ View Post
I do not own a Clarity but I am researching some details of hybrid vehicles. In the Owner's Manual for the Clarity PHEV, under "Driver Information and information Messages", I find the following display:"Appears when the engine starts automatically when the engine has not started for a long time."


What exactly does this mean? Will the car start its engine by itself, e.g. to prevent the battery from become totally deleted, or will the engine be set in motion under certain momentary conditions during driving the car?
To answer the first of your questions yes the engine will start by itself. We would be glad to answer the other questions but to better tailor the answers it would help to know what the research is about. Are you shopping for a new vehicle, never owned a hybrid and are looking at different types of hybrids including PHEV's?
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-15-2020, 05:19 PM Thread Starter
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Living in Europe buying a Clarity would be out of question. I am however considering to buy the CR-V Hybrid that is offered here.
My question was the result of a horror story an employee of a Honda dealer tried to impress me with. According to him the normal loss of capacity of the Lithium-Ion battery would totally deplete it when the car were left unused for something like a few weeks only, and then starting the combustion engine would be impossible.

I have no access to an Owner's Manual for the CR-V but when I found the mention of "Automatic engine restart" in the Clarity's manual I began to wonder what this is about.

So to precise my question: When and under what operation conditions does the display I am talking about come on?

Thanks in advance for any information,

Kind regards,

JCZ
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-15-2020, 07:23 PM
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Thank's for clarifying the question. I think the employee isn't fully aware of how hybrids work. To first state the well known, regular cars (i.e. non-hybrid) use a 12V battery and a starter motor to start the engine. If the 12V battery is dead then you need to get a jump start from another car, or use a portable jump start battery. Hybrids also have a 12V battery but it is only used to power up the electrical system, after which the actual starting of the engine is done by the HV battery. It would almost never happen that a healthy HV battery would not have enough power to start the engine after sitting for several weeks. Even if the battery is near 0 it actually has a large reserve that the system maintains. In theory an older HV battery (many years old) or one that is defective might fully deplete after many weeks or months of sitting idle, but that situation normally happens only at dealerships where unsold cars can sit for up to a year, and not all dealers properly maintain the HV battery during that time by keeping it charged.

However just like a regular car, if the 12V battery goes dead then a hybrid won't start either. Most hybrids use a standard 12V battery, and the lifespan and propensity for failure is the same. If that happens the solution is the same, you get a jump start. And I mentioned using a portable battery, those don't always work on a regular car because portable batteries come in different ranges of cranking amps (normally related to the price and size of the portable battery) and depending on the situation, i.e cold weather, large engine, etc. it may not have enough power to start the engine. However since with a hybrid the 12V system is only used to activate the electrical system, even a small relatively low powered portable battery will almost always be able to activate the 12V system and allow the HV battery to then start the engine.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-16-2020, 06:06 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks 2002 for your very concise reply. I am sure you hit the nail on its head with your remarks about the Honda dealer's employee lacking knowledge of his own product. What he explained to me, or rather thought he was explaining, was the CR-V Hybrid model. What he did not know however when we were talking is the fact I had done a comprehensive research of its system and so I was able to immediately recognize he was talking nonsense.

Your remark about unsold cars sitting in dealers' lots for endless time without proper maintenance could perhaps give clue to the origins of the good man's belief. And you are totally right mentioning that on any hybrid car the system automatically prevents the high-voltage battery from becoming totally depleted.

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-16-2020, 08:16 PM
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Thanks 2002 for your very concise reply. I am sure you hit the nail on its head with your remarks about the Honda dealer's employee lacking knowledge of his own product. What he explained to me, or rather thought he was explaining, was the CR-V Hybrid model. What he did not know however when we were talking is the fact I had done a comprehensive research of its system and so I was able to immediately recognize he was talking nonsense.

Your remark about unsold cars sitting in dealers' lots for endless time without proper maintenance could perhaps give clue to the origins of the good man's belief. And you are totally right mentioning that on any hybrid car the system automatically prevents the high-voltage battery from becoming totally depleted.

Kind regards,

JCZ
Oh, okay, so it sounds like you already knew the answer to your question but wanted confirmation. Or else you knew what the employee told you was not true for the CR-V but you were curious if maybe what the employee said was true for other hybrids that you are not interested in (or able to purchase) like Clarity. So I'm not sure how my answer helped you but anyway good luck with your CR-V purchase. By the way Clarity is not widely available in the U.S. either, Honda allocates most of the inventory to California and only a few are sent to the other forty-nine states. It is also sold in Canada and Japan but as far as I know that's it.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-17-2020, 11:01 AM
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I don't think the CR-V hybrid is a PHEV, which means any electric power it uses comes from burning gasoline.

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-17-2020, 04:16 PM
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I don't think the CR-V hybrid is a PHEV, which means any electric power it uses comes from burning gasoline.
Correct the CR-V is not a PHEV. But the Clarity is a hybrid, and that's what the OP's question was about, hybrids. The CR-V, Clarity and Insight all use the same Honda i-MMD hybrid system. Clarity is different only in that it has a larger HV battery and a larger electric motor, providing higher speeds and longer range in EV mode than the non-PHEV hybrids, which can only operate in EV mode at lower speeds and for much shorter distance.

Also the OP's question was about a situation where the car will sit for several weeks. Someone told them that in that situation the HV battery will likely deplete and the car won't start, which is not correct. At worst the 12V battery might run down if it was weak to begin with, but that can happen with any car. Of course with a PHEV the HV battery is even less of an issue when sitting for several weeks, as it can start out with higher capacity, and even if it did start to deplete it can be charged by plugging in. If charging is not available, like if the car is being stored in a parking garage, you could start up ICE every once in a while and charge the HV battery, but that's really unlikely to be necessary. However you would probably want to turn on the car in READY mode at least once a week so that the HV battery can charge the 12V. In a worst case scenario, several weeks with no charging and no access to the car, you might wind up with a dead 12V battery. But that's easily solved with a portable jump start battery to get the car started.
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