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I have 962 miles on my '21 Clarity, and I have one bar under a half tank of gas after leaving the dealer on August 20th with a full tank (the car had about 45 miles on it new). I think that every drop of gas I've used hasn't been necessary; I've only used the ICE toying around with Sport/HV/HV Charge modes. As a South County Rhode Islander (we're famous for our short drives!), I haven't NEEDED to utilize the ICE to keep the car running. The longest single drive I've taken has been within the EV range.

Given my short trips, I like to utilize the ICE at least a couple of times per week just to keep it from being totally dormant. I've seen some chatter on the forum about Engine Maintenance Mode, but didn't see anything about that in the owner's manual (maybe I just didn't look hard enough). If this is indeed a feature of the Clarity, should I worry about having to occasionally put it in HV or Sport mode to give the ICE some exercise, or will the car simply turn it on from time to time to keep it healthy?

A couple of my friends suggested I put in some fuel stabilizer, but another who works on cars for a living said I don't need to worry about it. Any thoughts?

Clearly, a PHEV adds some new dimensions to how a car needs to be maintained. It would be cool if the Clarity had a gauge for ICE hours, so one knew when maintenance was necessary. I guess if you regularly take long drives, it would be similar to a normal car, but with my driving habits, it's hard to know when oil changes and other such service will be necessary.

Sorry if this has already been discussed and clarified in the past. Any input is greatly appreciated!
 

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I have 962 miles on my '21 Clarity, and I have one bar under a half tank of gas after leaving the dealer on August 20th with a full tank (the car had about 45 miles on it new). I think that every drop of gas I've used hasn't been necessary; I've only used the ICE toying around with Sport/HV/HV Charge modes. As a South County Rhode Islander (we're famous for our short drives!), I haven't NEEDED to utilize the ICE to keep the car running. The longest single drive I've taken has been within the EV range.

Given my short trips, I like to utilize the ICE at least a couple of times per week just to keep it from being totally dormant. I've seen some chatter on the forum about Engine Maintenance Mode, but didn't see anything about that in the owner's manual (maybe I just didn't look hard enough). If this is indeed a feature of the Clarity, should I worry about having to occasionally put it in HV or Sport mode to give the ICE some exercise, or will the car simply turn it on from time to time to keep it healthy?

A couple of my friends suggested I put in some fuel stabilizer, but another who works on cars for a living said I don't need to worry about it. Any thoughts?

Clearly, a PHEV adds some new dimensions to how a car needs to be maintained. It would be cool if the Clarity had a gauge for ICE hours, so one knew when maintenance was necessary. I guess if you regularly take long drives, it would be similar to a normal car, but with my driving habits, it's hard to know when oil changes and other such service will be necessary.

Sorry if this has already been discussed and clarified in the past. Any input is greatly appreciated!
Well, I think one obvious observation would be that running an engine causes more wear and tear than not running the engine. So the question is what benefit is there to starting the engine every so often if it’s just causing wear and tear? Perhaps an argument could be made that the oil which is coating the parts in the engine will eventually “dry off” and those parts will start to rust. Another argument could be made that when gasoline sits in the tank for long periods of time it somehow becomes contaminated or loses some of its beneficial properties. But my opinion is that those issues are pretty minor and the engine shouldn’t need to run that often if it isn’t needed. I have two PHEVs and they sometimes go weeks and even months without the ICE running and I don’t know of any ill effects that has caused yet. And especially if you live in a dry moderate climate I would think you could go for many weeks without running the ICE. I haven’t put any gasoline in my Clarity since June 7th nor has the ICE run as far as I know. Meanwhile, it’s been driven over a thousand miles during that time (all EV miles).

One thing you probably should do is change the oil at least once a year even if you don’t think the ICE has run that much. The oil is the lifeblood of the car and acids can build up in it over time even if the engine hasn’t run much.
 

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Well, I think one obvious observation would be that running an engine causes more wear and tear than not running the engine. So the question is what benefit is there to starting the engine every so often if it’s just causing wear and tear?
Modern gasoline engines even when used daily can easily go 100,000 miles before you even begin to think of possibly needing maintenance, more likely they will go 200,000 miles. If MBossK4891 runs their engine for say five miles per week to help keep it maintained, in ten years they will have racked up about 2,500 miles of engine use. Hardly a concern for wear and tear. On the other hand not using an engine for extended periods can potentially cause some problems. That's why it's advised for cars that are being stored to run the engine regularly. The opinions on how often to run the engine on a stored car varies from anywhere between once a week to once a month.

I've seen some chatter on the forum about Engine Maintenance Mode, but didn't see anything about that in the owner's manual (maybe I just didn't look hard enough). If this is indeed a feature of the Clarity, should I worry about having to occasionally put it in HV or Sport mode to give the ICE some exercise, or will the car simply turn it on from time to time to keep it healthy?
Sport mode just maps the accelerator pedal so that it takes less movement of the pedal to get power, creating an illusion of having additional power. For that reason in Sport mode it takes less pedal movement to turn on ICE. Normal mode requires more pedal movement to start ICE, and Econ mode requires pressing the pedal nearly to the floor, past the detent (or "click" as some people call it) to start ICE. In all three modes if you press the pedal to the floor you get the same amount of power.

There is a maintenance mode that the car will go into if the engine has not been run for a while. It is not stated in the manual how often it does this, but I have heard a couple of people say that it seems to happen after just over a month of engine inactivity. The only thing about maintenance mode is that it only idles the engine, after the engine reaches operating temperature it shuts off. For cars in storage it is advised to rev the engine a bit after it has warmed up to help clear out contaminants.

Running HV for a few miles every week or two should take care of all of this, the engine will warm up and also rev up and produce power, and depending on how often you do it you will probably go through a tank of gas in less than a year so won't need to worry about fuel stabilizer.

Now if you did none of this and just drove electric and let it do its maintenance mode thing once a month, your engine will likely be fine. I'm just saying what the conventional wisdom is for stored vehicles. I don't see any difference between an engine that sits idle in somebody's garage, or an engine that sits idle while being driven around town on EV rides.
 

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One thing you probably should do is change the oil at least once a year even if you don’t think the ICE has run that much. The oil is the lifeblood of the car and acids can build up in it over time even if the engine hasn’t run much.
I agree. Also the owners manual says you should change the oil at least once a year even if you don't get a message from the maintenance minder. So for warranty purposes it's better if you can prove that you followed the owners manual.

I estimate that my engine runs for about 4,000 miles per year, so I just ignore the maintenance minder when it says I need to change the oil and I just change the oil and filter once a year. The maintenance minder seems to be based on total miles and seems to ignore what percentage of those miles are driven EV. Back to my earlier point, what's the difference been an engine sitting idle in the garage or sitting idle while driving in EV. Also our cars are using synthetic oil so changing the oil as often as the maintenance minder suggests seems unnecessary.
 

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On the other hand not using an engine for extended periods can potentially cause some problems. That's why it's advised for cars that are being stored to run the engine regularly. The opinions on how often to run the engine on a stored car varies from anywhere between once a week to once a month.
Just the action of starting a cold engine is more wear and tear than many miles/hours of operation after it is warmed up.
 

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I agree. Also the owners manual says you should change the oil at least once a year even if you don't get a message from the maintenance minder. So for warranty purposes it's better if you can prove that you followed the owners manual.

Back to my earlier point, what's the difference been an engine sitting idle in the garage or sitting idle while driving in EV.
Possibly not much difference. But if you live in an area with wider temperature/humidity extremes then presumably your garage has more moderated temperature/humidity and thus less problem for the engine. Dew forms on my lawn many times throughout the year but dew has never settled inside of my garage. If I park my car outdoors, I will inevitably get a light layer of rust on my rotors after so many days or weeks. In the garage that never happens.
 

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Just the action of starting a cold engine is more wear and tear than many miles/hours of operation after it is warmed up.
Most car owners start their cold engines at least twice a day and they routinely last 200,000 miles. Starting a cold engine once a week will have no negative impact on the life of the engine, rather a good chance of having a positive impact on its longevity.
 

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The topic is the
Possibly not much difference. But if you live in an area with wider temperature/humidity extremes then presumably your garage has more moderated temperature/humidity and thus less problem for the engine. Dew forms on my lawn many times throughout the year but dew has never settled inside of my garage. If I park my car outdoors, I will inevitably get a light layer of rust on my rotors after so many days or weeks. In the garage that never happens.
The topic is the inside mechanisms of an internal combustion engine and the effects on those mechanisms of running the engine verses it being idle. If you are suggesting that somehow the internal mechanisms of a non-running engine are affected by being driven around outside in EV mode as compared to sitting in a garage, enough to make a difference on frequency of oil changes, or how often an unused engine should be started, I will just say that I disagree.
 

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The Clarity starts the ICE engine periodically to perform system checks and lubricate the moving parts. It basically runs at idle for a few minutes and then shuts off. There's nothing that you as the owner need to do for this to occur.
 

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The Clarity starts the ICE engine periodically to perform system checks and lubricate the moving parts. It basically runs at idle for a few minutes and then shuts off. There's nothing that you as the owner need to do for this to occur.
Exactly. The engineers who designed the engine also know when the engine needs to run in order to extend its lifespan. Observing the way the Clarity operates during my almost daily usage of the vehicle, I have not witnessed frequent starts of the ICE. In fact, during periods of good weather, I have seen it go for many weeks without starting.
 

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Please expound upon this topic and relate the specifics of how running the engine lengthens its lifespan.
I didn't say it lengthens the lifespan, that would be a definitive statement, which I have been careful to avoid. I said it has "a good chance of having a positive impact on its longevity." A good chance. And I said "not using an engine for extended periods can potentially cause some problems". Potentially. I have been very careful to not make categorical statements on this topic, because I have not seen any actual long term studies providing conclusive data on this. But we do have quite a bit of collective wisdom that has existed for decades about stored cars, specifically related to running the engine on a regular basis, which you can find on pretty much any car site, which is presumably based on decades of experience of people who work on and restore cars. However collective wisdom is certainly not guaranteed to be correct or current, as things can change, which is why I have avoided definitive statements about it.

Another example of collective wisdom is what you referred to when you said, "Just the action of starting a cold engine is more wear and tear than many miles/hours of operation after it is warmed up." I have always believed that also, having heard this for many years. However I have also read more recently that modern engines are far less affected by cold starts, as they now have mechanisms to very quickly send pressurized oil into the engine at startup. This is especially true for hybrids which have engines that are designed for repeated start and stopping. Thus my opinion that any potential negative effects of cold starting an engine say once a week are far outweighed by the potential benefits of lubricating the engine and burning off moisture. My opinion on the (again potential) benefits is based on what seems to be a consensus of people who know a lot more about cars than I do.

Now maybe modern engines are no longer as affected by sitting idle for weeks at a time as they used to be, and the decades of collective wisdom is no longer valid. The problem is you don't find this information in owners manuals, at least that I have seen. Car makers assume that you are going to drive your car, not store it away for months at a time. I'm sure they know that people store cars, but they have apparently decided that advice on maintaining the engine on a stored car is outside the scope of information that they feel obligated to provide. Now I certainly have not read every owners manual out there so I can't say for sure that none of them mention it, if someone has an example of an owners manual saying something about car storage, especially related to the engine, that would be interesting to find out what they say.

And in fact we have no information about this from Honda regarding the Clarity and lack of engine use. There was one definitive statement that I made which I shouldn't have, when I said, "There is a maintenance mode that the car will go into if the engine has not been run for a while." Actually that is nowhere to be found in the owners manual, I was basing this solely on anecdotal stories from two forum members, obermd and another that I don't remember, who said their engine starts up after around one month if it's not used. I'm sure they experienced what that did, but it's not really conclusive about how System Check works, especially since others including myself have had System Check run even though ICE has been used recently. I use ICE twice a week, twenty miles each way, and I have seen System Check run a few days later. One complication is that it's difficult to distinguish System Check from normal engine warmup that can occur after hard acceleration or other triggers. The only definitive way to know that System Check is running is what the owners manual states which is that during System Check the blue bar does not appear even though the EV indicator is on. That is what I experienced, although only a couple of times that I remember, but I have heard of others who had seen the EV indicator without the blue bar even though their ICE was recently used. If that specific symptom does not occur, then it may not be System Check and the engine may have started for some other reason.

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Notice that the manual says nothing about when or why, only what. Possibly the "When" is about once a month, and possibly the "Why" is to avoid problems caused by lack of engine use. But I'm just pointing out that we are making some assumptions here in the absence of information from Honda.

Okay so I mentioned "good chance", "potentially", but what do I think is actually likely? Well I answered that in post #4 when I said "if you did none of this and just drove electric and let it do its maintenance mode thing once a month, your engine will likely be fine." Likely. However I am not going to tell someone with certainty that they will be fine, since we don't really know. It might be better to also briefly run HV every once in a while. And I do maintain my opinion that you won't wear out your engine by doing so. However everyone has to make their own decision about it.
 

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I didn't say it lengthens the lifespan, that would be a definitive statement, which I have been careful to avoid. I said it has "a good chance of having a positive impact on its longevity." A good chance. And I said "not using an engine for extended periods can potentially cause some problems". Potentially. I have been very careful to not make categorical statements on this topic, because I have not seen any actual long term studies providing conclusive data on this. But we do have quite a bit of collective wisdom that has existed for decades about stored cars, specifically related to running the engine on a regular basis, which you can find on pretty much any car site, which is presumably based on decades of experience of people who work on and restore cars. However collective wisdom is certainly not guaranteed to be correct or current, as things can change, which is why I have avoided definitive statements about it.

Another example of collective wisdom is what you referred to when you said, "Just the action of starting a cold engine is more wear and tear than many miles/hours of operation after it is warmed up." I have always believed that also, having heard this for many years. However I have also read more recently that modern engines are far less affected by cold starts, as they now have mechanisms to very quickly send pressurized oil into the engine at startup. This is especially true for hybrids which have engines that are designed for repeated start and stopping. Thus my opinion that any potential negative effects of cold starting an engine say once a week are far outweighed by the potential benefits of lubricating the engine and burning off moisture. My opinion on the (again potential) benefits is based on what seems to be a consensus of people who know a lot more about cars than I do.

Now maybe modern engines are no longer as affected by sitting idle for weeks at a time as they used to be, and the decades of collective wisdom is no longer valid. The problem is you don't find this information in owners manuals, at least that I have seen. Car makers assume that you are going to drive your car, not store it away for months at a time. I'm sure they know that people store cars, but they have apparently decided that advice on maintaining the engine on a stored car is outside the scope of information that they feel obligated to provide. Now I certainly have not read every owners manual out there so I can't say for sure that none of them mention it, if someone has an example of an owners manual saying something about car storage, especially related to the engine, that would be interesting to find out what they say.

And in fact we have no information about this from Honda regarding the Clarity and lack of engine use. There was one definitive statement that I made which I shouldn't have, when I said, "There is a maintenance mode that the car will go into if the engine has not been run for a while." Actually that is nowhere to be found in the owners manual, I was basing this solely on anecdotal stories from two forum members, obermd and another that I don't remember, who said their engine starts up after around one month if it's not used. I'm sure they experienced what that did, but it's not really conclusive about how System Check works, especially since others including myself have had System Check run even though ICE has been used recently. I use ICE twice a week, twenty miles each way, and I have seen System Check run a few days later. One complication is that it's difficult to distinguish System Check from normal engine warmup that can occur after hard acceleration or other triggers. The only definitive way to know that System Check is running is what the owners manual states which is that during System Check the blue bar does not appear even though the EV indicator is on. That is what I experienced, although only a couple of times that I remember, but I have heard of others who had seen the EV indicator without the blue bar even though their ICE was recently used. If that specific symptom does not occur, then it may not be System Check and the engine may have started for some other reason.

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Notice that the manual says nothing about when or why, only what. Possibly the "When" is about once a month, and possibly the "Why" is to avoid problems caused by lack of engine use. But I'm just pointing out that we are making some assumptions here in the absence of information from Honda.

Okay so I mentioned "good chance", "potentially", but what do I think is actually likely? Well I answered that in post #4 when I said "if you did none of this and just drove electric and let it do its maintenance mode thing once a month, your engine will likely be fine." Likely. However I am not going to tell someone with certainty that they will be fine, since we don't really know. It might be better to also briefly run HV every once in a while. And I do maintain my opinion that you won't wear out your engine by doing so. However everyone has to make their own decision about it.
Actually I don’t think we’re too far apart on our understanding of things. The biggest problem I see of an engine sitting idle for a long time is that the lubrication drains off and the internal parts can rust or corrode or wear prematurely. The engine is fairly much a closed system that may not be affected as much as an external part but there is some fairly strong anecdotal evidence that small aircraft engines (which are typically not run as frequently as automobile engines) faire better in warmer less humid climates and also faire better when stored inside of a hangar or building than when left outside.
In general, I believe that there is not a whole lot of difference between an engine that has been sitting idle for a week and one that has been sitting idle for a month. In both cases there will likely be extra wear cause by the cold startup event. So the question becomes, which is worse for an engine, four startup events during the period of a month (weekly startup) or a single startup event (monthly startup)?
I’ve got to believe that the design engineers know that there’s a strong possibility that a plug-in hybrid with 48 miles of range on a single charge may not have many valid reasons for the ICE to run especially when some people buy such a car with the objective of using as little gasoline as possible. The range of 48 miles is pretty near to the mileage that an ‘average’ car is driven in a day. And especially with a PHEV, the ‘brains’ of the car have just about any opportunity they would want to start the ICE if they thought it was necessary to prevent unnecessary damage to the engine. So my opinion is to let the engineers who designed the engine figure when and for how long to run it. Certainly the ‘brains’ of the car must have a wealth of data that has accumulated from all of the sensors (perhaps OAT, humidity, engine run time, daily hi/lo temps, fuel level, how many times the gas tank has been ‘opened’, etc, etc) available at any time with which to make a calculation as to when would be best time to start up the engine. My belief is that if you think you need to start up the engine of such a vehicle at some specific interval, you are in effect saying that you have more data and intelligence available to you than the ‘brains’ of the car. And as you say, modern engines are probably far less affected by cold starts and have the ability to send pressurized oil into the engine very quickly perhaps even targeting critical areas within the engine. For that same reason, I believe that they’re probably far less affected by sitting idle for longer periods of time also.
We also have a lot of evidence that tells us that modern engines using synthetic oil can go for much longer periods between oil changes. The synthetic nature of the oil molecules doesn’t allow them to be ripped apart as easily as natural mineral oil. Most experts would now tell you that in most cases changing oil at an interval of less than 10,000 miles or less than one year is probably unnecessary and wasteful. I drove a 2002 Honda Odyssey van for over 315,000 miles before retiring it and never changed the oil earlier than 10,000 miles. It probably would have easily gone for another 100,000 miles had it not been for a certain family member that decided to keep driving it when it sprung a coolant leak. I also have a 15kw gasoline backup generator in my garage that I only run once a year unless I have an outage. It has a carburetor and I shut it down each year by shutting the gas valve and starving the carb. I keep a battery minder on it and change the oil once a year but I’ve never added any fuel stabilizers to it and it has always started up immediately and run fine for the last sixteen years.
 

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One other thing people forget, one of the recommendations for gas engine longevity in an ICEV is to not run it hard until the engine starts to warm up, especially in the winter. When the Clarity does this engine check, it never revs above idle.
 

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One other thing people forget, one of the recommendations for gas engine longevity in an ICEV is to not run it hard until the engine starts to warm up, especially in the winter. When the Clarity does this engine check, it never revs above idle.
That is true for HV also. When you first switch to HV the engine just idles and continues to run primarily on EV until the engine is warmed up. What I have observed when I switch to HV is that the EV miles continue to go down at the same rate as they did before for the first couple of miles or so, and I don't even hear the engine unless I am stopped. Only after the engine warms up do you start to hear the engine and also see the EV range stop declining.

One exception to this is if you floor the gas pedal and kick on the engine, the engine will immediately start producing power. I have often wondered if it is good for the engine to do this, but again modern engines especially hybrid engines are apparently built to handle cold starts better than engines in the past. And for most people it doesn't happen that often.

Now if someone has a daily commute where they have to gun it to get onto a crowded highway every morning, I wonder if demanding power from a very cold engine every day is good for it, especially during winter. But then we are back to well I guess we just trust the Honda engineers that they know what they are doing. But at risk of starting yet another debate, if I was in that situation I might think about avoiding flooring the pedal on a cold morning, or if it's one of those commutes where someone feels there is no choice and they know they will probably have to floor it at some point, maybe switch on HV just prior to reaching that point to get the engine warmed up. But that's if someone was in that type of situation every day. For most people I don't think it's probably anything to be concerned about.
 

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That is true for HV also. When you first switch to HV the engine just idles and continues to run primarily on EV until the engine is warmed up. What I have observed when I switch to HV is that the EV miles continue to go down at the same rate as they did before for the first couple of miles or so, and I don't even hear the engine unless I am stopped. Only after the engine warms up do you start to hear the engine and also see the EV range stop declining.

One exception to this is if you floor the gas pedal and kick on the engine, the engine will immediately start producing power. I have often wondered if it is good for the engine to do this, but again modern engines especially hybrid engines are apparently built to handle cold starts better than engines in the past. And for most people it doesn't happen that often.

Now if someone has a daily commute where they have to gun it to get onto a crowded highway every morning, I wonder if demanding power from a very cold engine every day is good for it, especially during winter. But then we are back to well I guess we just trust the Honda engineers that they know what they are doing. But at risk of starting yet another debate, if I was in that situation I might think about avoiding flooring the pedal on a cold morning, or if it's one of those commutes where someone feels there is no choice and they know they will probably have to floor it at some point, maybe switch on HV just prior to reaching that point to get the engine warmed up. But that's if someone was in that type of situation every day. For most people I don't think it's probably anything to be concerned about.
I timed my Volt - 60 seconds from the time the battery is exhausted to the time the ICE is providing significant power. At 75 MPH going uphill (I-76 northeast out of Denver) that's a long minute. I've hit the throttle hard in my wife's Clarity and while the ICE comes on, it produces very little additional power over the electric motor for at least the first half minute or so - to the point that if I were in the situation of your final scenario I think I'd be looking for an alternate route to work or switch the car to Sport mode a couple of miles before that entrance ramp.
 

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Exactly. The engineers who designed the engine also know when the engine needs to run in order to extend its lifespan. Observing the way the Clarity operates during my almost daily usage of the vehicle, I have not witnessed frequent starts of the ICE. In fact, during periods of good weather, I have seen it go for many weeks without starting.
Just this last week the ICE in my Clarity has started up twice and run for a few minutes. Each time that it occurred the engine RPM did not vary but remained constant around maybe 1,000 RPM. Apparently the battery was charged a little bit as I saw the HV range go up a few tenths of a mile. After maybe five minutes of running the engine shut down as abruptly as it started and did not run again during my drive. This is apparently the first time the engine has run since June 7th. It’s possible it has run at other times during that period but I doubt it as it seems to catch my attention when it runs. This is the first cool weather since last spring. We had temps dipping down to around 30 at night. I keep it in the garage so it probably didn’t get quite that cold. I’m assuming that part of the reason the ICE ran was because of the colder temps and/or higher humidity. Possibly the time that had passed since last startup also played a role. I drive the car very gently in ECO mode and rarely get anywhere near the point where the ICE would be called upon to provide power for driving. The car obviously has the same gasoline in the tank that it did on June 7th when I filled it up and the engine ran very smoothly on 5-month-old fuel.
 

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I’m assuming that part of the reason the ICE ran was because of the colder temps and/or higher humidity.
It would be interesting to know if low temperature causes ICE to start. If it does I think it would just be for climate control, as the battery and electric motor will operate fine even in really cold weather. In fact the battery will function down to -22 F (battery temp not ambient temp).The only effect of cold is shorter EV range. But in a situation where the resistance heater isn't providing enough heat for the current setting, I can see where it might start up ICE to provide additional heat for the cabin. Don't know if it does or not but it's the only reason I can think of that ICE would start in cold weather EV driving.

My car also is garaged, but on occasion it might sit outside for a while in freezing weather. I have never had ICE turn on in those situations, but then again I am normally using the seat heater with a moderate climate setting. Next time I might try turning the heat up all the way and see if that causes ICE to start.

I tend to doubt that humidity is a factor since that is more of a summer thing. Clarity has an electric AC compressor so starting up ICE would not provide any additional power for AC.
 

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It would be interesting to know if low temperature causes ICE to start. If it does I think it would just be for climate control, as the battery and electric motor will operate fine even in really cold weather. In fact the battery will function down to -22 F (battery temp not ambient temp).The only effect of cold is shorter EV range. But in a situation where the resistance heater isn't providing enough heat for the current setting, I can see where it might start up ICE to provide additional heat for the cabin. Don't know if it does or not but it's the only reason I can think of that ICE would start in cold weather EV driving.

My car also is garaged, but on occasion it might sit outside for a while in freezing weather. I have never had ICE turn on in those situations, but then again I am normally using the seat heater with a moderate climate setting. Next time I might try turning the heat up all the way and see if that causes ICE to start.

I tend to doubt that humidity is a factor since that is more of a summer thing. Clarity has an electric AC compressor so starting up ICE would not provide any additional power for AC.
If I'm not mistaken, low temps can also affect an EVs ability to accept high charge rates. Lithiums don't like taking in energy quickly, when exceptionally cold. I'm betting it's only an issue on the Clarity PHEV (if at all) with L2 charging, and on the Clarity EV with DCFC.
 
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