How I got here:
- From: Central Maryland
- Car: Certified Pre-owned 2018 Clarity PHEV base model picked up last week
- Driving habits: Highly variable...
- My typical work commute is 23 miles each way.
- My current assignment allows me to work from home 3-4 days a week. So on a very "normal" week, I might only commute to work once or twice.
- Sometimes (about once every 2-3 months, but occasionally more often than that) I have to drive to a further away office -- 65 miles each way with a lot of stop-and-go traffic.
- Sometimes (a few times a year) I find myself needing to commute to my local office (the one that's 23 miles away) 4 or 5 days a week.
- I usually run errands and shop (typical grocery shopping, etc.) once a week, or twice at most -- and the round trip distance of an average errand run is about 8 to 25 miles.
I've been new car shopping for about 3-4 months. My previous car was a 2015 Prius C purchased new in winter 2015; I loved it because of its (1) excellent reliability -- never had any problems; (2) gas sipping efficiency; (3) very frugal price for a new car; (4) small turning radius and ease of slipping into tight parking spaces.
The downsides of the Prius C were: (1) We had to be very conscious of the quantity and volume of items purchased in stores since the car would fill up very easily when shopping; (2) Whenever I had to put passengers in the back seats, they hated how cramped it was; (3) after a few narrowly-avoided collisions, I wanted more driver assistance tech to intervene in emergencies and prevent collisions and road departures; (4) I envied some of the convenience features of recent cars that were lacking on the Prius C, even things that have been available since 2015, because I bought a car that lacked most high-end features at the time it was sold, and I bought a very barebones trim level.
For most of my car shopping period, my candidates for a new car were, in decreasing order of interest: the 2019 Volt; the 2020 Prius Prime; the Honda Clarity; the BMW i3 REx; and the Tesla Model 3.
I was most interested in the Volt because it provided the best PHEV range, while the price tag was just at the top end of what I can comfortably pay. I was going to get a Touring for all the gee-whiz features, but figured I might be able to negotiate the price down a bit.
The Prius Prime was high on my list because I loved the reliability of the Prius C, and it would be a known quantity -- the only differences would be picking up the driver assistance features and a little bit of PHEV range. It'd just about get me to work one way on EV. It's also cheaper than most of the other cars on the list, and price was definitely a factor for me.
The Clarity was definitely interesting, but I wasn't sure if the total package of features (the driver assistance, EV range, etc.) were worth the asking price for a new one.
The BMW i3 REx and the Tesla Model 3 are cars I definitely salivated after and would buy if I had the money to spare, but realistically, I can spend that money better elsewhere. It's not that I couldn't make the payments -- I could -- but it would leave me with very little margin for other things in life.
Once I found the '18 Clarity sitting on a used car dealer's lot for 10 days, saw the price and the low mileage, I fell for it. The price would leave me plenty of headroom for things other than a car payment, and I'd be getting 80% of what I really wanted and 100% of what I needed.
At first I was skeptical of buying a used car, as I've never done it before. But it turned out to be a very easy process, and the car is genuinely in great shape -- other than a few very small surface-level scrapes on the paint, and the car having gone through an oil change, it's practically a new car. I signed some papers, deleted the previous owners' phones out of the entertainment unit, and I was off to the races.
My new owner experience:
Over two days, I read the entire
Owners' Manual for the 2018 Clarity PHEV. Fascinating stuff! I learned something new about the car almost on every page. I skimmed a few things that don't apply to me, like stuff about child seats, and I already knew all the stuff about airbags, but I constantly learned when reading about the entertainment unit features, HondaLink, the power train, the driver assistance features, etc.
I'm still figuring out a few things and actively troubleshooting HondaLink; I'm also planning to get an estimate for a new circuit and socket install for my EVSE, a ChargePoint, that I ordered online. So things aren't perfect yet, but I'm working through it.
For now, I'm just using a 120V circuit in my garage that, luckily, isn't used for anything else, to charge the car. I drive infrequently enough that it can almost always fill up the battery by the time I'm ready to drive again.
I also learned that BOTH of my work offices have EVSEs! They're the kind that offers free electricity if you're a tenant in the building, but you have to pay $1/hour for parking if your car is sitting in the charging space without actually charging.
It would be REALLY useful to get a notification from HondaLink when the car is charged, since at least some commercial EVSEs don't offer a way to notify you from the EVSE side, but I'm still troubleshooting why HondaLink won't work.
The nice thing about having a PHEV is, I'm not strictly reliant on the EV charging spots. If they're taken by other cars, "oh well" -- I can just drive home in HV mode and be a little less efficient. If I had something like a Leaf, I could see myself nervously watching for the EVSE to become available, then plug in and have to stay late to wait for a charge so I can get home. Yeah, I'm glad I got a PHEV.
Nice to meet you all... This forum honestly looks a little dead in a lot of places, but I'm going to try to find some places to contribute and hope to see it more lively in here!