2018 Honda Clarity Forum - View Single Post - Honda's Hybrid system - a great explanation!
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 03-11-2020, 09:15 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2019
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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.

Loving my new car!
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