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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, My name is Joe and I've recently been looking at the Honda Clarities. Apparently I am a year or two late to the game because there apparently were massive rebates because nobody was buying them and now Honda only sells them in CA from what I've been reading.

Honestly I'm more of a performance car kind of person but I'm now 30 years old, have a son, and have twin boys on the way in March :surprise:. I've come to the realization than any performance car is going to be too small, a 80K German SUV on premium fuel, or a V8 Charger that also recommends mid-grade or Premium if I go for the SRT. Have never really been a fan of the charger so a V6 although quick enough would make me regret the V8 and I would still only be getting maybe 26MPG at best around town.

I had always discounted hybrids but I never realized until recently that the Clarity is actually bigger than the Accord and I had always though the Volt was kind of cool and the Clarity is apparently a 5 passenger Volt. My roundtrip commute is 36 miles so the Clarity makes a lot of sense. My only concerns are as follows:

I've never owned a hybrid let alone a plug in, my garage literally has one plug that is already used by a freezer so I most definitely have to run dedicated power for the plug. I imagine electrician aren't cheap and my breaker box is literally as far as it could possibly be from the garage.

The whole battery degradation thing scares me. I hear they slowly lose capacity over time and Honda's warranty specifically says only "abnormal" degradation which is very vague and can mean pretty much whatever they want it to. Then again I believe they build in reverse capacity in the battery that is slowly released so degradation would take a lot of time.

Is it going to be big enough to fit 2 infant car seats and a booster? My wife has a Traverse so this wouldn't be the every day car but in an emergency I'd like to be able to fit everyone. I bought the slimmer car seats and booster for my current Mazda 6 but trying to fit them made me realize cars are not at all designed for this and it was sketchy at best and the extra 2 inches of a slightly larger car wouldn't help much because the indents in the seats put the carseats 3 in away from each door so you lose a lot of the space you need to fit 3 and the middle seat isn't really wide enough to fit the booster.

And of course the biggest issue is not being able to find them. The closest one is 70 miles away, next closest 150 which is a long way to go to find out it won't fit the car seats or is just 100% not for me. They are also all in the 25k+ range for 2018's and I feel like with the 7,500 tax credit and dealer negotiations / possible Honda rebates I could possibly get a new one for close to or less than that. Problem is I'd have to fly out and drive it back or pay someone to transport it and be SOL if it comes home with dings or scratches.
 

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If you have to install a new outlet in your garage you will probably want to install a 240V as that will charge much faster. 120V is fine also that's what I use but a full charge for the Clarity from empty takes about thirteen hours, whereas even the lowest priced 240V charger will fully charge in about four hours. But yes there is an expense of several hundred dollars but many states have rebates on that. You might also check if you can charge at work, many people seem to find they are allowed to and that makes a huge difference.

There are also lots of hybrids out there that you don't have to plug in. The Accord hybrid is MSRP $25,000 and gets 48 mpg. No tax incentives though, that's only for PHEV. Toyota has the PHEV RAV4 coming out in a few months, it is expected it will only go 39 miles EV so during winter you may not be able to make your roundtrip commute all electric. But I think that's a bit overemphasized anyway, yes it's nice to drive all electric but it's okay in gas mode also so it shouldn't be the be-all end-all decision maker. In HV mode the mpg in these type of cars is very good so even if a few of your daily miles use gas you won't be using very much of it and will rarely visit a gas station.

Don't want to expound too much on the RAV4 since this is a Clarity thread but there is a difference how factory rebates are handled, with Toyota with the Prius Prime they had some pretty good factory incentives in east coast ZEV states and the incentives were available even to non-residents of that state. They might do that with RAV4 also. With Honda the dealer incentive (which technically goes to the dealer unless they pass it on) is only available for California residents.

If you purchase a Clarity from California and have it shipped, my understanding is if there are any scratches or anything different than what you ordered you can refuse shipment. But that is just what I have heard you would want to confirm that if you go that route.
 

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Welcome aboard Joe!

Being from a similar car background, I can understand where you are coming from.

I too had performance German cars for 20 years and my current fun ride is a toned down BMW 5 series sedan.
As for the practical side, I saw the fuel savings when I heard about the Clarity PHEV.

Originally being in CA, I wanted the FCV (hydrogen powered) Clarity but the wait list was so long I decided to get the PHEV.

As for your concerns:
1. Clarity is a true 5 passenger sedan that is very similar to the Accord but heavier.
2. Power to charge the Clarity can range from a simple household 120V outlet that takes over night to charge or an upgraded 240V L2 which will charge in about 2-3 hours.
3. Fuel consumption is super low - my commute takes me to work and back without a drop of fuel. I get around 50MPG with HV mode.
4. Does your work have plug in access to charge the car before you drive back home ?
5. Battery degradation has not been a worry for me because the warranty is super long (longer than I normally keep the car). Battery degradation during winter is a concern that has been voiced here but there are ways to get around the decrease during the few months.
6. 2 child seats in the back is EASY - plenty of room.
7. If you are 70-150 miles away from a dealer that has one, it's worth the flight or a one way drive to the dealership to pick her up.

Which state are you in ?

BTW: Shipping is only for cross country type deliveries.

Let us know if you have more questions ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I live in KY so I'm not aware of any state EV incentives. Looks like the closest new ones are just outside Cleveland OH which would be within fly /drive distance or even long day trip.

Agree 240V outlet would be a no brainer if running a dedicated line.

I have no plug in at work that I'm aware of. I work in Cincinnati and the parking is all city owned, I've never seen a charger and if their was I'd imagine it would be expensive to use.

I really like the Rav 4 plug in but it is definitely too small to fit 3 in the back (the only vehicles that will work are "large" class cars, wider mid size SUV's [pretty much only the Ford Edge] and 3 row suvs). Believe me, I've looked at everything I could think of and the 2nd row "hip room" measurements and there is next to nothing wide enough for 3 row across [Ford Taurus, Charger, Impala, Edge, or 3 row are the only confirmed options. The Clarity is slightly smaller but only by about a in so I'm hoping it will work with my smaller carseats])

The reason I'm looking at the Clarity is the lower cost. The reason I'm looking at hybrids is because the larger vehicles seem to still do ok with Hwy MPG's but around town MPG is horrible (my wife's suv get 26 on the hwy allegedly but real world is realistically about 20 even which coming from small / midsize cars that are around 30mpg is a pretty big hit.

Here's what I'm looking at:

Clarity: Seems like a good choice except for limited availability, a bit smaller than what I need, and there are none locally to test fit my 3 seats.

Minivans: Sienna and Pacifica both to be redesigned next year so I really don't want to commit to this until I at least see what the changes are (Sienna on all new platform, Pacifica rumored to get more hybrid options [e-torque, e-awd rumored]) Pacifica plug in hybrid seems to be very limited and very expensive to justify the cost of it.

Acura MDX Sport hybrid: Honestly if it wasn't for how expensive these are this is exactly what I want. The hybrid to help with city mpg but not fuel econ focused with an underpowered 4-cyl that is going to struggle once the battery is empty. I think this one is overdue for a major redesign too which is another reason this one is off the list for now.

3 row BMW X5 / MB E450 Wagon - "The performance" options, they seem to get better MPG than the mainstream 3 row suvs while also being sportier but both were recently redesigned so looking at 60-80K plus running premium gas. Just not realistic as my main goal right now is paying down my mortgage early vs blowing my savings on a 50K+ car,

Accord: I would definitely go with the 2.0T here vs the hybrid. Honestly I would have owned one already (before the twins) had there been a limited slip front diff like the Type R has and VW offers on their GTI/GLI (GLI was my favorite car I've ever owned but alas is too small now). being slightly less wide than the clarity (although minutely so) I fear this is even less of an option.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
My biggest hang-up here is that any larger sedan is only going to be minimally bigger than what I have so I need some justification for resetting the depreciation cost like saving money on gas. Since my wife has the 3 row I really don't feel like we "need" to have 2 especially when one is going to be primarily used to commute.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Although on the plus side I just remembered that my Dryer plug is actually right next to my Garage so it may not be that difficult to figure out the plug situation. :smile:
 

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My two most recent cars are a 2017 Accord Hybrid with 94,000 miles that I traded in on a 2018 Clarity. Both cars are excellent and seem suited to your needs as you described them, though the Clarity is roomier. I also previously owned two Civic Hybrids and put over 100,000 miles on them with no issues. I studied the potential for battery degradation with the Clarity and concluded it was a nonissue despite the high number of miles we drive annually. Honda's engineers did a marvelous job designing the Clarity and the buffers built into the charging system protect the EV battery from conditions that lead to degradation (e.g., zero depletion and overcharging). I also had a nearby 240V outlet (unused pool heater) converted to a dryer plug outlet for $100 and got a Morec Level 2 EVSE cord on Amazon for $260, allowing me to do a full charge in 2 hours 15 minutes.
 

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Although on the plus side I just remembered that my Dryer plug is actually right next to my Garage so it may not be that difficult to figure out the plug situation. :smile:
You might not need a new 240 line, then: They make switches that will protect you from trying to run the dryer and charge the car at the same time on the same circuit.

If you need a larger vehicle have you considered the Chrysler Pacifica PHEV or the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV?

Also, battery degradation is a problem when EVs do not have active thermal management of the battery and use DC fast charging. The stress on EV batteries when charged on L1 (110-120V) or L2 (220V) is minimal. Some PHEV's have active thermal management (Clarity, for one) and some EVs do not (Nissan Leaf). It's not so big a worry in a PHEV because you'll always have the ICE to get you where you need to go.
 

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100,000 miles on my Chevy Volt, range?

Hey Joe, I own a 2014 Chevy Volt and 2018 Honda Clarity PHEV. My Volt and Clarity have been flawless. The Volt was suppose to have an EV range of 38 miles. After 100,000 miles on it it still gets 42 plus miles per charge with a lifetime mpg of 154 mpg. My Clarity consistently gets 55-62 miles per charge, even though it is rated at 47 miles per charge. I have 23,000 miles on the Clarity. My Clarity has gone 5,000 miles on 6 gallons of gas (tank holds 7 gallons) just to see if it could. I think that’s over 800 mpg, since I charge for free. I could have gone 6,000 miles on a single tank of gas, but it had been 3 months and I thought I better get some fresh gas. These EV’s are fun because there is just so many options on how you want to get to where you are going. My Volt seems a lot faster off the line and just kills most cars before they know they are blown away. The Clarity is not that way, because if I floor it the gas motor comes on....and I hate that. That said, I prefer the Clarity because of ride, size, and comfort. My EV range is so high because I live in a warm climate, California, and I always try to regen to a stop rather than use the brake.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
You might not need a new 240 line, then: They make switches that will protect you from trying to run the dryer and charge the car at the same time on the same circuit.

If you need a larger vehicle have you considered the Chrysler Pacifica PHEV or the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV?

Also, battery degradation is a problem when EVs do not have active thermal management of the battery and use DC fast charging. The stress on EV batteries when charged on L1 (110-120V) or L2 (220V) is minimal. Some PHEV's have active thermal management (Clarity, for one) and some EVs do not (Nissan Leaf). It's not so big a worry in a PHEV because you'll always have the ICE to get you where you need to go.
The Outlander is too small and Mitsu pretty much gave up on making even remotely competitive cars right around 2005ish (my first 3 cars were Mitsu's and had no issues other than crashing every single one of them :surprise:) Sad part is they have the tech (cool in wheel electric motors) to make amazing vehicles but flat out refuse to invest the money to do so. Maybe I'm discounting them prematurely but there is literally no dealer network here for them either so that's a huge factor too. Ev range is also a little short.

I think the main issue with the Pacifica is the extremely limited availability in my area in anything but 50K+ fully loaded spec. I could special order a different one I'd imagine but lose a lot of my ability to negotiate any discount. This might be a nice used option in a year or 2.

Lol, can you still get the EV Credit on a "new" 2017?
https://www.yochumcdjr.net/new/Chrysler/2017-Chrysler-Pacifica+Hybrid-06cca1c30a0e0ae7230e7abb7a1dfdc7.htm

Shocker that a hybrid doesn't sell in "middle of nowhere" IN but I'd be concerned about the tax credit and the state of that battery after sitting on a lot for 3 years.
 

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Joe, curious what your gas and electric prices are in your area ?

If the fuel cost is low then it might be a good idea to look at the more widely available Honda Accord Hybrid.
The Accord has about $10K less sticker price than the Clarity and you don't have to deal with the tax credit, incentives, etc...

We in CA choose the Clarity because of the high fuel costs compared to the rest of the nation.
With my Clarity, I rarely use fuel and drive primarily on EV.
Plus we get the option of getting a state HOV (carpool) sticker that exempts us and allows driving solo occupancy...
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
So perhaps some good news. It appears as though Honda might be allocating Clarities to the Midwest again as 2 dealers appear to have them (only touring trims though). Either way I'm hoping to stop by and take a look at one some time this week.

Bad news is I think the EV tax credit is still up in the air for 2020? I definitely wouldn't want to pull the trigger on one until I was sure it is still available. Definitely poor timing :-(

How does one calculate the electricity cost/mile on one of these? I would obviously need to find my rate from my electricity bill and multiply by 47mi / 17kWh ~ .36 kWh per mile. However I don't think chargers are 100% efficient so in reality it could take more than 17kWh to charge the battery fully, right? My commute is 36 Miles so in theory on a good day I wouldn't use the engine at all or hardly at all.
 

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Bad news is I think the EV tax credit is still up in the air for 2020? I definitely wouldn't want to pull the trigger on one until I was sure it is still available. Definitely poor timing :-(
Not sure where you heard that about the tax credit for 2020, unless you were reading some article written at the end of 2019. It tends to come into question each year when setting the budget for the following year, but that has already happened for 2020 and the federal tax credit is still in place. It is highly unlikely they would kill the credit for 2020 even if they wanted to, there would be a huge outcry since people have already purchased vehicles. Not saying it is impossible but since it's a lot easier to kill it for the upcoming year that is what they keep trying to do, and likely will keep trying.
 

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How does one calculate the electricity cost/mile on one of these? I would obviously need to find my rate from my electricity bill and multiply by 47mi / 17kWh ~ .36 kWh per mile. However I don't think chargers are 100% efficient so in reality it could take more than 17kWh to charge the battery fully, right? My commute is 36 Miles so in theory on a good day I wouldn't use the engine at all or hardly at all.
It is quite difficult to calculate the electric cost, depending on if you want accurate, in the ballpark, or just in the same city as the ballpark. First of all you need to calculate your actual electric rate including taxes and that isn't always easy. You can divide your total recent bill by total kWh, however that only works if you pay the same rate for all usage. Most people are on tiered rates which means you pay a higher rate for usage above a certain kWh per month. If you are already hitting the higher tier or getting close to it even without charging, then you should calculate all of your charging at the high tier, because realistically that is what you are adding to your bill is high tier usage. But to calculate the true high tier rate you literally need a spreadsheet to be accurate as some tariffs are based on rate and some are based on kWh. And they don't always list that detail on the bill, where I live I had to call and ask for an itemized copy of my recent bill which shows the detailed breakdown and shows the percentage used to calculate each line.

After that first hurdle you have to calculate cost per mile. Charging from empty to full takes just over 14kWh of electricity for most people. It's not 17kWh because not all of the battery is used. This is normal for EV's to extend battery life, they need a reserve on the top and bottom that doesn't get used. So you can divide the number of miles of EV you get on a full charge by 14 to get an approximation of miles per kWh. Of course your EV range varies depending on several factors especially time of year, so you can either just use 47 as an average, or use actual.

To calculate actual usage requires an EVSE that tracks charging amounts. Those type of EVSE usually cost a bit more than others. To me it's not worth it to track actual costs, as long as I know it's cheaper to use EV than gas that's all I really need to know.
 
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