Honda's Hybrid system - a great explanation! - 2018 Honda Clarity Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-03-2020, 05:56 PM Thread Starter
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Honda's Hybrid system - a great explanation!

The is, perhaps, the best explanation I've seen of Honda's "two motor" system.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-04-2020, 09:58 AM
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Great video !

Since the Clarity has 1 speed CVT transmission, does the CVT last as long as the traditional 5/6/7/8/10 speed tranny ?

I guess I wish the Clarity had a real tranny - from my ICE cars for decades....
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-04-2020, 10:46 AM Thread Starter
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Great video !

Since the Clarity has 1 speed CVT transmission
As Alex states, the Clarity doesn't really have ANY form of traditional transmission (gearbox) - the 2-motor system functions in a manner similar to a transmission so they CALL it an "e-CVT" for marketing purposes.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-07-2020, 10:15 AM
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Great information on the Honda drive train and how it differs from some of the other manufacturers. I have always loved the silky smooth and seamless feel of the Clarity when driving in hybrid mode -- now I know why!
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-11-2020, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by 4sallypat View Post
Great video !

Since the Clarity has 1 speed CVT transmission, does the CVT last as long as the traditional 5/6/7/8/10 speed tranny ?

I guess I wish the Clarity had a real tranny - from my ICE cars for decades....

It actually will last much longer than a traditional (manual or automatic) transmission. Honda and Toyota's sophisticated hybrid motor-generators are designed to last several times longer than you'll probably own the car. You could go through 2 or 3 battery packs, maybe more, before you could realistically expect components of the hybrid system to fail. That's why Honda and Toyota are so aggressively handing out these ridiculously long warranty windows for the hybrid drive train, and even buying third-party mechanical breakdown insurance for a hybrid drive train is dirt cheap. The system is over-engineered.


It has nothing to do with how many times the gears turn or anything like that. Both a hybrid drive train and a traditional drive train have some components that spin very fast, and others very slow. A lot of it is about friction, stress, and strain. When you completely control how much strain you're putting on the gear system because you can regulate the amount of voltage used to power the motors, there's almost no way for you to put undue stress on the motor-generators. Plus, the application of power is smooth and gradual, not herky-jerky like a combustion engine.


Even when the Clarity's ICE is running, most of the time it's just generating electricity, not directly powering the wheels. And when it's directly powering the wheels, it's doing so in a configuration where the motor-generators can handle the load at that particular speed (highway speed) without wear and tear.


Trust me, you don't want a traditional 4, 5, or 6 speed automatic transmission in a hybrid or PHEV. There is a lot of wear and tear inherent in the design of those systems that really limits the possible lifespan of a conventional transmission. Those limits don't exist in a hybrid system, so the parts last a lot longer as a result.


I would argue that anyone who wants a long and trouble-free lifespan for their car should actually buy a hybrid today and never look back on conventional technology. I know it's too early for us to tell how long Clarity will last -- it only debuted in 2018 -- but if you want to see how fail-proof a good hybrid powertrain is, just look at the Prius. The Prius has been operating in Japan since 1997 and worldwide since 2000, and there are still plenty of people who are running around in first-generation Priuses that have only had routine oil changes, filter changes, spark plug, tire and brake service in their life, with never any other problems or faults. Some of those cars have over 300,000 miles on them.


I think Honda is just as good as Toyota at making hybrid powertrains, so I don't doubt their competency and ability to make a long-lasting one. I worked with a guy who was running a 2000 Honda Insight using their first-generation Integrated Motor Assist technology; he bought it used for $1000 with 200k miles on it and put another 200k on it before finally retiring it. The only money he ever put into the car to keep it going was oil changes and a new battery pack. The battery pack WILL need replacing every 8-10 years, but the hybrid power train can probably run for a million miles on average before a failure is likely.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-12-2020, 11:44 AM
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Thank you for sharing this piece. Insofar as I knew my 2018 Clarity PHEV Touring had a traditional CVT transmission. This video continues to reinforce my feeling the Clarity PHEV is a well-engineered vehicle designed to be efficient and trouble free as possible for the average urban and suburban car owner. I have owned my vehicle for 18 months and can honestly say it is the best sedan I have ever owned. In Consumer Reports recent edition rating new cars they mentioned the Clarity PHEV and Toyota Prius Prime as two of the most reliable and trouble free vehicles as rated by Consumer Reports reader surveys of actual owners.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-12-2020, 03:53 PM
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The battery pack WILL need replacing every 8-10 years, but the hybrid power train can probably run for a million miles on average before a failure is likely.
I had a 2009 Camry hybrid. That was 11 years and the battery pack tested as in great condition, no sign of needing replacement.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-15-2020, 12:31 AM Thread Starter
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I had a 2009 Camry hybrid. That was 11 years and the battery pack tested as in great condition, no sign of needing replacement.
The battery in the Gen 1 Insight was made from standard NiMH D cells - with a total of about .9 kWh - the 2009 Camry Hybrid used a more sophisticated NiMH cell in its 1.6 kWh battery.

There was a significant aftermarket in replacement batteries so, perhaps, they did wear out prematurely...
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-15-2020, 11:28 AM
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I just watched this video. He has no clue about what he's talking about.

- The "Volt/Prius" description refers to the Gen 1 Volt. The Gen 2 Volt uses a two electric motor system in conjunction with an ICE engine that can drive the car by itself.

- I've had my wife's Clarity PHEV at 80 MPH with no power coming from the ICE, so long as I don't accelerate hard

- The Clarity, when you tromp on the throttle even at low speed turns on the ICE. I've had this happen multiple times with plenty of battery left when I needed to merge into traffic.

- I'm anal about tracking vehicle efficiency - the Clarity is just a hair more efficient than my 2017 Volt at all speeds once the battery is depleted. He says the Clarity isn't as efficient at low speed.

The first item could simply be that he's out of date. The rest of the items are specific instances where his explanation is demonstrably incorrect. I also noticed other, minor inaccuracies, but they are all related to the above four items. My take - don't trust this guy for accurate information about the Clarity (or any other hybrid) drivetrain as what he says directly contradicts reality.

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2017 Volt LT - Heather Gray; black bow ties, Charcoal VoltShelf
2012 Cruze ECO MT (hail totaled 5/8/17 103,600 miles @42.5 MPG)
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-17-2020, 01:06 AM Thread Starter
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I just watched this video. He has no clue about what he's talking about.
He's talking, primarily, about the system as used in the current generation INSIGHT and as it will be used in the CRV Hybrid - his mention of the Clarity is pretty much an afterthought.
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