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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We bought our Clarity in mid-August and currently have about 7,000 miles on it. Really love the car, despite a few quirks. But an experience we had 10 days ago really shook our confidence. While driving on a 4-lane freeway -- thankfully in the middle of Iowa with little traffic -- shortly after the automatic shift to the ICE when the battery ran out, the engine revved up and we simultaneously lost all power to the wheels. It was as if the engine had been suddenly disconnected from the transmission. My wife was able to guide the car to the side of the road safely as it decelerated outside of our control. We turned it off, then back on, hoping maybe a computer just needed to be 'reset'. As we tried to get back on the freeway the engine/transmission were on again, off again, as if the transmission was engaging, then not. Gradually we got back up to speed and were able to complete our journey. After sitting for 5 hours or so a similar thing happened on our way back home on a 2-lane road, soon after we got out of the parking lot. No problems the remaining 1.5 hour drive. After comparing notes, my wife and I realized a similar thing had happened to each of us, but at very low speeds around town during the past 5 months, so not that noticeable. And it's happened once in the past week, also at low speed in town. Can't imagine how dangerous this would be if it happened on a full speed freeway in a city of any size or while in mountain territory. Immediately called our local dealer and the car is in the shop today...we'll see what happens. A great car, but not worth risking my family's safety.
 

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Yes this can be a scary event for sure but this is a new car for North America and being the first year - these issues can arise. I know - I got the first year Land Rover Discovery Sport in 2015 and had many issues including getting stranded. Needless to say, the Land Rover is going back to the dealer after the lease ends....

Please update us on what the dealer finds ?

Were there any warning messages on your instrument cluster ?

Did you lose any braking or steering control of the car when it disconnected ??
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I will update as more info comes back to me.

The answers to your other questions:
2. No.
3. No.
 

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That doesn't sound great. I've had quite a few switch overs from EV to HV mode at speed though I haven't had that happen, and I've got almost 7k on mine. I'll watch out for it.
 

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Lefty

This issue has been brought up by a couple other owners in another forum... http://insideevs.com under a thread called Clarity Issues.

One owner is so fed up he is trying for class action since apparently the dealership network says nothing is wrong and Honda USA is not cooperative... hopefully you will have better luck.

I cannot fault any Clarity owner who experiences power failure to file suit. It sounds extremely scary and dangerous to me.

If the dealership says they cannot find anything...the only thing I can suggest...get a OBDll scanner and put it on your car to gather rpm and other info which will support your issue.

That high reving/power loss issue is one reason I have been gathering data on my car...to set a baseline...and be able to demonstrate the difference in RPMs etc to Honda USA...if I ever develop this.

Hope this helps

Good luck.
 

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I will update as more info comes back to me.

The answers to your other questions:
2. No.
3. No.
Without a CEL or other notification on your dash, your dealer may have an issue trying to find the problem.
I would suggest you install a dash cam showing the display and instrument cluster while you drive to show the issue.

The video along with an OBD scanner may be the best choice to record the issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks to ClarityNewbie and 4sallypat for the advice. Had extensive conversations with the technician and service manager at the local dealer today:
1. As expected, they were unable to replicate the problem by driving it. Since it's happened 'only' 5 x in 5 months, we all expected that.
2. Unfortunately, there was no computer code or computer record of any irregularity when they ran a diagnostic. That's unfortunate.
3. When the technician called Honda Tech in California, they told him "we've never had a technician call with that type of problem before" -- which I find hard to believe. As I relayed to the Manager, you can go online for 5 minutes and see that it's a repeating problem.
The local guys really did make a good-faith effort to find and solve the problem, but as the Manager said, they really don't have the expertise to diagnose the complexity of a Clarity when something doesn't register on their diagnostic. And Honda Tech was no help. He also suggested videoing the dash to document what's happening -- altho I don't see how that will change anything: the engine revs, power declines.
Honda's approach of "sorry, there's nothing we can do about it" will not fly. It's not like it's a phantom squeak or something that's not fixable. They created the car and warranty it for 3 yrs or 36,000 miles -- they don't just get to say, sorry. And it's clearly an engine/transmission glitch -- it's not unidentifiable.
I was able to keep things real civil with the local guys, but I can tell this is going to take some time dealing with the national level folks. Thanks for the ideas -- I will check up on other sites and see what luck they're having. This really sucks and I feel bad for my family because I was the one who researched this car and I hadn't seen any major problems like this before we bought it in late August.
Thanks again for the ideas! Keep 'em coming if anybody has any more.
 

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Lefty

Go to

http://m.carcomplaints.com/Honda/Clarity_Plug-In_Hybrid/2018/

You can read other complaints under engine problems. You may wish to register a complaint as well.

Don't feel bad....its luck of the draw when it comes to buying vehicles. I just hate it for those who have this issue... amazing Honda USA doesn't give a darn given multiple people registering the same complaint.

Hope this helps.

Good luck.
 

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I had this happen to me too as well as some other issues and I got fed up and took it back and traded in for a 2019 Accord Hybrid. Even the service dept was sympathetic to my issues as they could not explain why my HV range was over 900 miles in addition to all the other issues. I took a bath trading it in, the dealer said they were doing me a favor with the trade in price and the sale of the Accord but I lost almost 8k With the safety and reliability issue I did not want to go through the hassle of Lemon Law. I leave for work at 4:15 in the morning. I told the dealer about other Clarity owners having strange issues with the car but of course they blew me off on that one. If there is any kind of class action suit I would like to join it so I can go back to the loan amount on the Clairty instead of having a $41,000 loan on a $33,000 Accord.....
 

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Had it happen to me, many times. Not as extreme, but scary when you can't climb a hill. Took to dealership - they keep saying that it's either normal or cant get it to recreate. It has made me regret buying a first year model.

QUOTE=lefty;2265]We bought our Clarity in mid-August and currently have about 7,000 miles on it. Really love the car, despite a few quirks. But an experience we had 10 days ago really shook our confidence. While driving on a 4-lane freeway -- thankfully in the middle of Iowa with little traffic -- shortly after the automatic shift to the ICE when the battery ran out, the engine revved up and we simultaneously lost all power to the wheels. It was as if the engine had been suddenly disconnected from the transmission. My wife was able to guide the car to the side of the road safely as it decelerated outside of our control. We turned it off, then back on, hoping maybe a computer just needed to be 'reset'. As we tried to get back on the freeway the engine/transmission were on again, off again, as if the transmission was engaging, then not. Gradually we got back up to speed and were able to complete our journey. After sitting for 5 hours or so a similar thing happened on our way back home on a 2-lane road, soon after we got out of the parking lot. No problems the remaining 1.5 hour drive. After comparing notes, my wife and I realized a similar thing had happened to each of us, but at very low speeds around town during the past 5 months, so not that noticeable. And it's happened once in the past week, also at low speed in town. Can't imagine how dangerous this would be if it happened on a full speed freeway in a city of any size or while in mountain territory. Immediately called our local dealer and the car is in the shop today...we'll see what happens. A great car, but not worth risking my family's safety.[/QUOTE]
 

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For the purposes of this thread, I am going with the commonly held belief Honda has built in a 20% buffer on the bottom end and a 5% buffer on the top end based on HV max cell voltage (MXV) data offered through SGll. Debatable..sure. Mo’ data needed...sure.

My goal remains to help find answers for the excessive high rev/power loss folks.

Using SGll data, Kiwi4 data and Hondalink...my thoughts on the State of Charge (SoC) issue are based on observations over a two month period...and offered up for discussion. It is based primarily on the performance of the Clarity I drive but also includes the data I have off another Clarity a friend drives...her data used primarily as a qualifier against my data.

The SoC gauge on the instrumentation panel has 20 bars. I theorize each bar has a value of 5. 15 bars are displayed...that equates to a ~75% SoC. 8 bars displayed equals ~40%. During my observations, I compared to Hondalink SoC numbers. Amazingly, the numbers correspond very well to this measure. If Hondalink is showing 27% SoC...6 bars are displayed. At ~25% SoC shown on Hondalink...5 bars are displayed. SGll reflects similar correlation...as it should since the source of the data is the same…(ie) instrumentation data.

Nothing new or surprising I guess but supplied for context.

When EV range goes to 0 there typically remains 2 bars on the SoC dash gauge. Correspondingly, Hondalink is displaying ~ 10% and SGll is showing ~10%

It is possible these last two bars represent the remaining ~10% SoC which translates to usable electrons...potentially...as programmed into the Clarity. Emergency back-up electrons?

I have allowed the Clarity to go to SoC ~10% multiple times for testing and have noticed the Clarity seems to throw as much energy back into the traction battery to maintain SoC at ~10% as it possibly can. To my naked eye...it seems to throw energy back to the battery more often when at two bars than say...at 4 bars. Can't quantify...but working on it.

If the above theory is correct...that may translate to the Clarity as engineered to maintain SoC at ~10% at almost any cost in order to operate as designed or as “normal”. If this is proven true...then those two remaining bars have a meaning.

Perhaps this translates to 4500 to 5500 RPM’s for whatever reason on some vehicles or “angry bees” as the noise is called.

If it is engineered that way...that begs the question:

To the Clarity owners who suffer from unexplained, excessive high revs...two bars, four bars whatever...data is needed to assess at what RPM's this occurred and whether SoC as represented on the dash gauge is ~10% or less. Example...If 2 bars...what does Hondalink show as SoC? OBDll? Possible display error if SoC actually less the 5%?

In my case...SGll SoC data has never dropped below 8.64% and 2 bars always remained. Hondalink never breached 8%. These minimum numbers stayed true regardless of speed/terrain etc.

As for power loss...one explanation may be the SoC is 0 or certainly less than 5 in order for this to occur. It is entirely possible the SoC is significantly lower than 10% which causes absolute max energy to flow to the battery as the Clarity is programmed to do...hence mph reduction...rather then supply power to drive a 4000lb vehicle

One unknown for me is if the SoC via dash gauge reflects 1 or 0 bars during these events.

If in fact the dash gauge reflects 2 bars...then can't rule out display error...or software/hardware translation issues at this point. Computer/hardware malfunction(s) are just as possible and “providing” the Clarity with erroneous data even if the SoC is ~10. The Clarity may "think" it needs to send max power to battery when in fact it doesn't.

Until more folks can provide data...I think it is a coin flip whether this unusual high revs/power loss is battery health related or a software/hardware issue. If it turns out to be proven it is not the SoC/battery health...that won’t bode well for many others if it is a software/hardware thing.

Mo’ data needed to help figure it out.

Food for thought.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks Newbie,

appreciate your thoughts and suspect you've accurately narrowed it down to the two most likely sources of the power loss problem. Amazingly, from what I can gather from local Honda techs and what they've found from national Honda techs, you've done more work and thought into this issue in your one post than Honda USA apparently has in total!
In our car's cases, power loss has occurred with battery level typically showing between 2-4 battery bars but with the ICE running.
 

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A Clarity owner in another group I'm following repeatedly drove his car until the battery meter read 0% and then charged it at a Level 2 EVSE that reported back data: Every refill came to 15.3 kW - or 90% of the Clarity's 17 kW traction battery.
 

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Wonder if the charger was L1 - how much more than 90% can it achieve ?

I know slow charging NiCd, NiMh, and Li-iON batteries is a lower temp way of getting a full charge - wonder if it applies to the EV battery chemistry ???
 

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Wonder if the charger was L1 - how much more than 90% can it achieve ?

I know slow charging NiCd, NiMh, and Li-iON batteries is a lower temp way of getting a full charge - wonder if it applies to the EV battery chemistry ???
240V L2 is slow charging and the temperature of the batteries is controlled during the charge session.

All EV batteries have an actual and usable capacity. The battery management system will not allow for a true 100% charge or 0% discharge - an upper and lower buffer is maintained.

Some manufacturers report only the actual capacity, others only the usable capacity, a few report both. Some, like Tesla, report neither.
 

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As a former mechanic at a dealership I can attest to the frustration for both you and the technician (if he/she is worth their salt). When you don't have codes or you cannot reproduce it consistently it can be a bear. Even if the technician experiences the problem there is no guarantee that they will be able to fix it unless it is really frequent. Now here is the deal there are enough complaints about this that Honda not the dealer should do something. They should attempt to replace something or try something to help. There are some of the weirdest causes to some of these things and I can tell you way back in the day it was usually some technician somewhere staying on this thing until it is fixed. Now having said all this if this puppy repeats itself I would seriously consider talking to a lawyer about the lemon law. You will need to document it somehow and the lawyer should be able to tell you how to do it well. If Honda is blowing you off then your ability to get it fixed is greatly reduced and it may be time to take the next step. If you do this, however, have your ducks in a row so that you win the first time. If you do this I would think Honda would likely get on the stick and at least give it a shot. If they don't burn them. Good luck
 

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I am just now seeing this post after browsing "angry bees" and really high revvs types of posts. For me, this happen even if I have plenty of EV range. If I flip the car to HV mode and drive, it will do the same thing.
 

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For anyone with this type of problem, please go to www.nhtsa.gov and click the report a problem button on the right side of the page. Until Honda USA gets told by the NHTSA to find and fix this issue they will ignore it. The Clarity PHEV is a money looser for Honda so they have no monetary incentive to fix issues like this.
 
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