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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello All,

This will not be a positive post so if you are emotional about your hydrogen and/or cheerleading the hydrogen experience you should stop reading. I'll try and keep my personal opinion out of this post and only provide facts about my personal experience for the past 2 years and 8 months.

First, I just received the 1279 service message. This is the reason for my post, to warn others about this vehicle and it's costs. Plus I'm aggravated. Car has 34k miles.
1 - $24.95 rotate tires
2 - $286.83 Hydrogen Filter Service
7 - $139.95 Brake Fluid Exchange
9 - $449.95 Hydrogen Inspection

4 months remaining on the lease and I've been handed a $900+ bill. Half of that is for an 'inspection". Nothing is wrong or broken. It just needs to be inspected. Mind you, this is after the fuel cell was replaced only 4500 miles ago to the tune of $35k in warranty work. Yes, that is 35 with a thousand. I drove the car for over a year trying to get the dealer to fix the fuel cell issue before they did the work. Every time I started the car I had to clear the message about the faulty fuel cell. They would not fix it until the car would randomly drop to 35 mph while on the freeway and it became a major safety issue. The car was at the dealer for almost 2 weeks before I was given a loaner car.

Second, tires cost $250+. Good luck using the 'repair kit' to fix your tire. There is no spare. When you get towed to the nearest tire shop they will not have your tire because it is special. Obvious issues follow.

Third, only authorized Honda service centers can work on your car. If your home or business is outside of their courtesy car range it is on you to get a ride. You will not be getting a loaner car. There are very few authorized repair centers so most likely you are out of their courtesy range.

Fourth, they only have a couple of service techs to service your car. Whatever you can imagine this means is probably what it means including you car being at the shop for much longer than estimated.

Fifth, Honda dealers and Honda Motors of America are different. When there is a question about warranty work (especially $35k worth) you can expect a lot of finger pointing. Also, read your lease carefully. Ask ahead about the scheduled maintenance. They will tell you they don't know. Feel free to read the lease while you are at the dealer. Most of us do :p

Sixth, Insurance. This car is not only the most expensive car out of our 5 cars to insure by a country mile, it is the most expensive car we've ever insured.

Seventh, Oil changes. Kind of joke as the car doesn't have oil. But, fear not, it it does have 'special' insulating fluid which gets changed about every 10k-12 to the tune of $265+.

Eighth, hydrogen. Good luck here. Brand new station with 4 pumps near me. Opened in August. I've been 15 times and only twice did I get a full tank. 13 times either partial fill or it didn't work at all. I stopped going. Pumps break down. Lack of fuel. The list goes on and on here and I think this part is pretty well documented. Free hydrogen yes, but you pay in time wasted chasing it.

Ninth, the pumps are not easy to use. There is a learning curve and many are different from one another.

Tenth, don't be surprised when you wait in line 20-30 min waiting for 4 cars in front of you to fill up. Also don't be surprised when you have to help the person in front of you because they can't do it.


Summary, I could go on and on here. There is plenty more. I'm posting this because I don't see this information anywhere. Perhaps it's on The Facebook but I don't have it. Feel free to copy/paste my post to FB.
For anyone about to get into a hydrogen vehicle you have been warned. If you are willing to put up with the high costs and issues because you want to see hydrogen succeed then by all means jump in. When it all works its honestly not a bad experience. But, it's very expensive and it rarely 'all works'.
 

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Now we know why Honda and Toyota are pushing FCEVs - they're money makers for their service departments.

The tire rotation is cheap. The brake fluid is total BS as DOT 3 brake fluid is good for 5 years before changing. I don't know about the hydrogen maintenance.

There are a grand total of 42 Hydrogen stations in the US - 39 in California and one each in Connecticut, South Carolina, and Hawaii. FCEVs are simply not viable in the US outside a very limited range in California.

The bottom line is that 20-30 years ago Hydrogen as a fuel looked really good - in fact better than battery electric. However, in the intervening years BEVs have improved and batteries have come down in price so much that Hydrogen as a ground transportation power source will never be economical, despite what the oil industry wants you to believe.

One thing that all Clarity owners (myself included) need to understand is that Honda uses the Clarity nameplate for experimental vehicles. The current Clarity is not the first time Honda has use this nameplate - all previous versions were also experimental vehicles.
 

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Understand about the tires, battery, wipers, and other normal wear items you are responsible for.

At the time of lease inception, the OP should have opted for the extra warranty that the F&I offers.

I took the tire and maintenance optional warranty for the 3 years and it has paid for itself (4 oil changes and 1 $225 new tire).....

FWIW: There's nothing that says you have to take your tire replacement to a dealer - you can have the tire ordered for half price from Tire Rack or Discount Tires nationwide and have it shipped to your indy....
 

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That was an amazing and thorough write up, very interesting. I think it has always been clear that it would make no sense to actually own a fuel cell vehicle outright (I realize that's not possible for the Clarity FCEV even if you wanted to). But my understanding has been that the Clarity FCEV lease rate is pretty reasonable and combined with the free fuel makes it possible for the average person to drive such an extremely exotic vehicle. Well exotic as far as the propulsion anyway. And as PHEV Clarity owners can attest the car is actually a pretty comfortable car to drive especially in EV mode, which for us is for limited miles but for a FCEV car it's basically driving in EV all the time and with a much higher range than the Clarity BEV.

The only drawback that I was aware of was the fueling stations, and looking at where they are scattered in northern and southern California it's clear that where you live and/or work will really determine if it's feasible for a particular person to drive one. I mean who wants to drive ten miles out of your way just to go fill up your car, but if there was a station closer to home or work then it wouldn't be so bad. And of course a limitation on range for long trips as you have to be able to make the entire round trip on a single fill up, unless I suppose you are driving between southern and northern California and can fill up at each end. But I suspect similar to a lot of EV owners people have another car available for long trips like you do, or else rent a car.

Your post however reveals that it can be more expensive than it seems, so that is really good information to help people keep from getting caught off guard. Although I'm sure some people will still be interested even with the added expenses. Also the high insurance rates and astronomical repair costs seems to confirm what I have suspected that the lease rate in no way reflects the actual cost of the vehicle and that Honda most likely loses money on each lease, but probably considers that as part of R&D. Too bad it sounds like you wound up helping contribute a bit to that as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
OP should have never boarded the Hindenburg. He was stupid to think it could end up a positive experience.

4SallyPat, The tire replacement was a field failure due to random nail and was not fixed at the dealer. Agree about normal wear and tear parts.

Obermd, The bill is over $600 in labor. WTF? Most of the parts are a $160 filter and another $70 filter. I've never heard of such a filter.

I'm supposed to back there today so they can show me what they replaced. I'm still pissed. Honda North America is no help.

2002, good summary. The overall cost is way more than the lease and some normal wear and tear. We've had Porsches, Jags, Cadillacs and none of them had a $900 maintenance bill in the first 3 years.

$450 to look at the hydrogen system. 3 hours of labor, to look, not fix anything. I've never heard of such a thing. They couldn't tell me what they do other than inspect the exhaust. The mechanic was gone before I picked up vehicle. They also couldn't find the $160 filter. I can't find it either. I see no evidence of parts being moved, grease, new shinyness, nothing.

I was smart enough to know not to buy a hydrogen vehicle but the lease seemed like a good deal and free fuel was a cool option. None of it was worth it and it was a giant mistake on my part. Live and learn as always. Just hope I help someone else if they are thinking about hydrogen.

Dont' even get me started about the constant whining pump from the fuel stack area. It will absolutely drive you batty and never quits.

One more thing while I'm whining, the dealer never answers the phone and never calls back. Infuriating because they are over 30 min from me. Do I dare drive in and see if the mechanic is there? The service manager gave me her direct line as she has in the past but never returns a call. Ugh. Thanks for listening Internets.
 

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Just to make sure that I understand the numbers, at least going from the Honda website the current price is $2878 due at signing and then $379 per month. Then assuming similar miles as you, during the three year lease someone can expect there would be a 1279 service for $900, and about three insulating fluid changes at $265 each, for a total of $1695 in scheduled maintenance. Agree that is pretty mind boggling, but I guess for someone who is pretty determined to get one they probably figure that works out to essentially a $426 per month lease, which some people still might be willing to do. Although based on your experience they should also contact their insurance company ahead of time to find out how expensive it will be and factor that in.

Are you able to reset the maintenance messages on the infotainment screen like we can do with the PHEV? We have an ongoing conundrum that we get the infamous A01 code at around 7,000 miles which is for tire rotation, oil change, and inspection. For most of us probably less than 1/3 of that 7,000 miles is using the gas engine, so many people just get the tires rotated (or do it themselves) and then clear the other two maintenance messages (they can be cleared individually). Then change the oil once a year since that is specified in the manual as the maximum regardless of whether you get a message or not. I have yet to hear of anyone having warranty denied or had a lease penalty because Honda was able to prove that someone received a maintenance message for oil change but cleared it, even if the owner can prove that they changed the oil once a year. Maybe it's possible in theory but just seems somewhat unlikely. If the FCEV maintenance messages can be cleared then it seems like you could at least clear the inspection message, and maybe also the brake fluid change message (is that what that really means?) although I suppose it would be more of a risk to clear the filter messages. Does the owners manual have any specific maximums listed for any items like the PHEV does for oil changes? Realize this is too late for you even if possible but maybe it's something other owners could do to avoid some of the highway robbery.
 

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OP should have never boarded the Hindenburg. He was stupid to think it could end up a positive experience.

4SallyPat, The tire replacement was a field failure due to random nail and was not fixed at the dealer. Agree about normal wear and tear parts.

Obermd, The bill is over $600 in labor. WTF? Most of the parts are a $160 filter and another $70 filter. I've never heard of such a filter.

I'm supposed to back there today so they can show me what they replaced. I'm still pissed. Honda North America is no help.

2002, good summary. The overall cost is way more than the lease and some normal wear and tear. We've had Porsches, Jags, Cadillacs and none of them had a $900 maintenance bill in the first 3 years.

$450 to look at the hydrogen system. 3 hours of labor, to look, not fix anything. I've never heard of such a thing. They couldn't tell me what they do other than inspect the exhaust. The mechanic was gone before I picked up vehicle. They also couldn't find the $160 filter. I can't find it either. I see no evidence of parts being moved, grease, new shinyness, nothing.

I was smart enough to know not to buy a hydrogen vehicle but the lease seemed like a good deal and free fuel was a cool option. None of it was worth it and it was a giant mistake on my part. Live and learn as always. Just hope I help someone else if they are thinking about hydrogen.

Dont' even get me started about the constant whining pump from the fuel stack area. It will absolutely drive you batty and never quits.

One more thing while I'm whining, the dealer never answers the phone and never calls back. Infuriating because they are over 30 min from me. Do I dare drive in and see if the mechanic is there? The service manager gave me her direct line as she has in the past but never returns a call. Ugh. Thanks for listening Internets.
Given your experience, I'd write a review of this car, including that the dealership never returns calls, and post it somewhere where a lot of people will see it - like on Google Maps. Since the only real complaint about the dealership is a lack of responsiveness (they're using Honda's labor rates most likely) they can't really do anything about it.

Then I'd look for another brand of vehicle to replace your FCEV. The reality is that Honda doesn't care.
 

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So if this is a lease, won't you owe excessive miles at the end of the lease return ?

When I lease a car, I make sure I don't go over miles because not only does the warranty expire before lease end, but the cost per mile over the contracted miles would be expensive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
2002, you are pretty close to the numbers. There were a few more items including more tire rotations. In order to be absolutely sure I follow the lease agreement for maintenance I have allowed the dealer to do all of the work with the exception of the tire. My monthly is $396 with taxes and I believe I put 3800ish down ( all in taxes, title, etc) and got 5k back from the state for a net gain of 1200 of course all but washed out by the last bill. I don't know if I can reset the messages. Honestly the car is not like a regular car so I'm much more timid in doing anything to it myself. If any lights come on I let the dealer handle it.

Obermd, I've tried really hard to give the dealer the benefit of the doubt but this last time I finally reached end of my rope. Everything is done via text including reviewing a $900 4 page invoice and even the $35k warranty work. Bizarro. Do the dealers really think i will review and pay a $900 invoice with my phone and then just come in a pick up the car and go home? I'm trying to figure out what to do. Honda America really does not care. I never received a single communication from them when there was no fuel. Nothing from them when my car was not drivable for 3 weeks and I was without a car. I've opened a case with Honda, haha, regarding the dealer experience with this car. Part of it is Honda's fault, part dealer fault. And then there's my fault for not understanding how it all works. I really thought there would be more interaction with Honda and the dealer regarding the hydrogen experience. The dealer doesn't even know there was a fuel shortage. They didn't know the tires cost so much either. They don't know what makes the whining noise. Honda reps who answer the phone don't know what a Clarity Fuel Cell model is. Sigh. This will be a failed experiment in California. Hope I'm wrong.

4Sally, mileage allowances are 20k per year. That was also a very attractive part of the lease. But, if you want free fuel then the approximate allowance is more like 16k miles/year. After that you will run out of $15k fuel money. The reality though is that it's hard to drive that many miles because you can't really go anywhere. Especially when fuel is scarce and/or hot summer months when the stations all break down. I no longer leave my area without a enough fuel to get home meaning I only fill up at the local stations. I would never trust a remote fuel station. A couple of close calls where I barely made it home and once I drove 20 miles past the 0 mark on miles remaining before empty.

I saw the $160 filter yesterday. Very small 3 pieces. Top part looks like a standard filter with the other parts looking like sponge type you would see in a fish aquarium filter. Anyway, I could not see why it costs $160 but that's Honda, not the dealer. With basic parts costing so much $280 'oil changes' and a $450 inspection requirement every so often even when still very new I just don't see how this car would be a good fit for most people. It's just too expensive and special. Hope this helps someone out there. I'm waiting out my final few months and hoping no more random expensive lights turn on.
 

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The main argument usually presented for hygrogen is the ability to fill at least nearly as fast as an ICE vehicle. This doesn't seem to be your experience.

Other than that, hydrogen is much more expensive and inefficient compared to plug-in vehicles. If CARB did not give such huge credits for hydrogen vehicles, Honda would either have a compelling BEV or need to buy credits from someone like Tesla. Part of the beauty of BEVs is the nearly complete elimination of scheduled maintenance items (nothing in the first 3 years besides cabin air filters and tire rotations - and the usual visual inspections).

And it looks like your dealer is maybe taking advantage of you.
What codes came up on the maintenance minder?
Per your list above, "2" is actually the code for the cabin air filter - "A" would be the ion exchange filter (and the cartridge is ~$30)
https://www.hondapartsnow.com/parts-list/2018-honda-clarity_fuel_cell--4dr_d_clarity_nmc-ka_1at/engine/ion_exchanger.html
"1" & "7" pop for all Clarity models at 3 years (BEV, FCX & PHEV). There is no real reason to change the brake fluid specifically at 3 years.

"9" is the big $ inspection - not sure how much disassembly is required to get to what they need to see.



The insulating fluid is not changed every 10-12K miles, but every 12 years. It is topped up at maintenance intervals.

If they are charging you "book rate" for those items, I think you deserve to see the book. A reputable dealer would be happy to do so. And there is no requirement that they be done by a Honda dealer to maintain your warranty. It wouldn't be the first case of the highest profit area of a dealership taking advantage of a customer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
1279

They replaced the cabin filter ($70) and the air filter in the motor bay (Air cleaner element part of #7, $160). Plus labor = $287. I'd call that highway robbery and completely ridiculous.

For '9' They had to remove some covers on the underside. Not sure how that equates to 3 hours labor. I think they are taking advantage here but what do I do?

I agree about the brake fluid. Silly and also way too expensive. Nobody will want to work on this model Clarity and I don't have anyone I trust as this is my first Honda. I'm not even at 3 years and my mileage is pretty reasonable.

The insulating fluid has already been done multiple times with the first time being around 10k. Forget the code for that one. So, it's way sooner than 12 years. I called it an oil change but maybe they are just topping it up. If so, the $265 price tag for a top off is even stupider.

Appreciate your feedback! I do believe they are taking advantage of the codes to reap huge labor rewards at my expense.
 

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One other number to toss in would be the free fuel. Driving 34,000 in a similarly sized gasoline powered car (I'll use the Accord which gets 30 mpg combined) and let's say an average gas price of $2.00 during those three years, that would be about $2,200 in fuel savings for the 34,000 miles that you have driven so far, even if you stopped driving it for the final four months. And assuming hydrogen pumps were working etc. and someone drives the full 48,000 miles then that would bump it up to $3,200 in fuel savings.

Of course aggravation and wasted time have a value also, but again this is just related to the monetary part of the equation.
 

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For what it's worth, the Honda Clarity PHEV does not feel like an "experimental" car at all.


My insurance rate is reasonable. Higher than my last car, but this is also a major "tier" upgrade for me to a more expensive MSRP than my previous car. It doesn't strike me as anything especially higher than could be expected for a bog standard hybrid vehicle that costs $35-40k MSRP before rebates.


I've had it serviced a few times, and the dealer has never done anything or told me I needed anything that was unusual or more expensive than I'm used to seeing for my previous cars, which have been a Civic (conventional) and a Prius.



There are a LOT more Clarity PHEVs on the road (nationwide, too) than Clarity BEVs or especially FCEVs. It's fairly likely that most Honda dealerships in the country have worked on a Clarity PHEV before yours, so this isn't their first rodeo. In areas with a lot of "green-conscious" consumers, they might even stock parts! Mine had OEM tires in stock this year!



The operating regime of the Clarity PHEV is the most similar to conventional vehicles, extremely similar to the Volt, and appreciably similar (although the design is a bit different) to most standard hybrids like the Prius. This means a lot more mechanics are willing to / are certified to / can figure out how to work on this car without breaking it.


Charging your battery at a Level 2 charging station is probably the most common / widely available way to fill up your Clarity PHEV, ignoring gasoline for the moment. RV parks, long extension cords from the building (with permission), and even in my area on the east coast, there's still plenty of commercial Level 2 EV chargers available. It's fairly fool-proof and only requires a smartphone (any smartphone will do) to pay. The charging infrastructure is rugged and rarely broken or out of service unless vandalized.


And of course, in the worst of circumstances, there's a gas station selling regular unleaded just about everywhere. You may sneer at this for the pollution, but it's an extremely realistic take on the green movement: as nice as it would be to be perfect and never have emissions, unless you live in certain parts of California (which I don't), you need to be able to fallback on gasoline. This may change someday as the BEV charging infrastructure fills out even more than it is now and charging gets faster, but for the moment, this is the way to go.


I think your expectations were probably a little off when you signed the lease. You said you were smart enough to know not to buy a FCEV, yet you did, and expected something more than an experiment? It's not the Clarity brand particularly that's experimental. The FCEV is experimental -- very much so. The PHEV really isn't.


I charge my PHEV at home with a Level 2 charger and have solar to reduce the amount of my charging that comes off of the grid. In a year and a month, I've only filled up the gas tank 3 times, and one of those times was just a top-off to keep some fresh gas in the tank.


Arguably, unless you're frequently traveling far in excess of 50 miles between places with no BEV charging infrastructure, the PHEV is actually a "greener" vehicle than the FCEV, too -- energy is not being spent producing hydrogen. The occasional firing of the ICE puts you in Honda Civic fuel efficiency range, or a little better in stop and go traffic due to the hybrid system.



If they come out with a PHEV with a 100 to 150 mile battery, the game's over; PHEVs will have won. The only one I know of that has this is the BMW i3 with range extender, but that thing is overpriced, has many technical problems, and a tiny gas tank. We need a PHEV with the same sort of full-fat ICE system as the Clarity has, including the significantly large gas tank (at least 9-10 gal), and another doubling of the EV range. Given the decrease in cost and improving energy density of batteries, it won't be long. Probably by 2025 such a vehicle will exist, sell for $30-40k, and there will be no more need for FCEV, traditional hybrids or even BEVs for most people.



Meanwhile, hydrogen would take 20-30 years to build out the needed infrastructure to be viable, with a concentrated effort on doing so.


The FCEV is an experimental vehicle, and it is unfortunate for you that you purchased it thinking otherwise. If you want a good experience with huge fuel savings, zero worries about range or serviceability, and no weird $900 bills for no reason, go get a PHEV. You'll love it. Just drive it like a car, charge it when you get home and save tons of money and carbon emissions. That's how a green vehicle SHOULD work, and it's how the PHEV does work.
 

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For what it's worth, the Honda Clarity PHEV does not feel like an "experimental" car at all.
Actually the OP never said that the Clarity PHEV was an experimental car, someone else said that.

Also you seem to be making some assumptions about why the OP got the car, which they specifically said they were not going to mention because that wasn't the point of their post. People buy cars for a variety of reasons. When I bought my first Prius in 2002 when hybrids were very rare, people kept telling me that I made a mistake because it won't save money. I told them that wasn't why I bought it. I knew the gas savings would not fully offset the higher cost, and I didn't buy it to save the planet, I was just fascinated by the technology and found it a very interesting car to own. The OP just said whatever someone's reasons for being interested in getting one, here are some things you should know which Honda won't tell you ahead of time, and it's also information that is not readily available online. That's why I really appreciated their post because I have come across very few first hand accounts by someone who has actually owned one. And none of those accounts went into this much detail about what it is really like owning one.

The OP clearly has no intention of getting another FCEV so no need to convince them. And I don't see the point in beating it into them that it was not the best choice, as they already said that. It was clearly stated that the purpose of the post was to provide information about lessons learned the hard way in the hope of helping others who might be making the same decision.
 

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The entire Clarity line is experimental. This is based on Honda's historical usage of this nameplate - the current Clarities aren't the first time Honda has used this nameplate for extended on-road data collection.

Of the three current Clarity models, the PHEV is probably the most finished and capable but the reality is that it's way behind the Volt in driving dynamics. While the Clarity PHEV can drive anywhere in the country, unlike the FCEV and BEV variants, Honda reduced the PHEV's overall driving experience by using an electric motor that is too small for the vehicle. Both the Clarity Electric and FCEV have electric motors that can handle the vehicle under all conditions. The Clarity PHEV is at it's heart, a classic hybrid that gives priority to the electric drivetrain. The Volt was a BEV that used the ICE to extend the range. There's a fundamental difference in how these two approaches feel to the driver. Under heavy loads such as passing and short interstate on-ramps a classic hybrid will pull power from both the ICEV and EV power plants, resulting in slower and inconsistent response times to the throttle. The Volt always responds with the EV power plant, resulting in consistent response to the throttle. The Volt then uses the ICE refill the battery buffers.

Please note - I regularly drive both a 2017 Volt and a 2018 Clarity so I've experienced the above. The Clarity is definitely a more comfortable car to ride in, but the Volt is the better car from the driver's perspective, especially in high speed traffic.
 

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... unlike the FCEV and BEV variants, Honda reduced the PHEV's overall driving experience by using an electric motor that is too small for the vehicle. Both the Clarity Electric and FCEV have electric motors that can handle the vehicle under all conditions.
It's actually just the opposite, the PHEV electric motor is 135 kW - the BEV is 120 kW and FCX 130 kW (at least according to the docs Honda submitted to the EPA and certified to be accurate).

It's not the size of the motor, but how they designed the PHEV drivetrain - maximizing range/efficiency is at least partially at the expense of performance. At times the electric motor not only has to propel the car, but also maintain or even increase the battery SOC.

Curb weights are substantially the same (4,024 to 4,134). The FCX is the heaviest, the BEV the lightest.
 

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The entire Clarity line is experimental. This is based on Honda's historical usage of this nameplate - the current Clarities aren't the first time Honda has used this nameplate for extended on-road data collection.

Of the three current Clarity models, the PHEV is probably the most finished and capable but the reality is that it's way behind the Volt in driving dynamics. While the Clarity PHEV can drive anywhere in the country, unlike the FCEV and BEV variants, Honda reduced the PHEV's overall driving experience by using an electric motor that is too small for the vehicle. Both the Clarity Electric and FCEV have electric motors that can handle the vehicle under all conditions. The Clarity PHEV is at it's heart, a classic hybrid that gives priority to the electric drivetrain. The Volt was a BEV that used the ICE to extend the range. There's a fundamental difference in how these two approaches feel to the driver. Under heavy loads such as passing and short interstate on-ramps a classic hybrid will pull power from both the ICEV and EV power plants, resulting in slower and inconsistent response times to the throttle. The Volt always responds with the EV power plant, resulting in consistent response to the throttle. The Volt then uses the ICE refill the battery buffers.

Please note - I regularly drive both a 2017 Volt and a 2018 Clarity so I've experienced the above. The Clarity is definitely a more comfortable car to ride in, but the Volt is the better car from the driver's perspective, especially in high speed traffic.
I think calling any of the three versions experimental is a bit of a stretch, just as I don't refer to the 2000 Insight or 2001 Prius as being experimental (or even the 1998 Prius in Japan). Just as I don't think the first cars sold to the general public with automatic transmission, or electronic fuel injection, etc. were experimental. All of them had years of development before they were made part of the manufacturer's official lineup, even if initially it was a smaller fraction of the cars they sold. Sure the early versions will not be as developed as later models, but that is true with any new technology that shows up.

I think the electric power in the Clarity PHEV is quite good, it's just hard to get it to the maximum without accidentally kicking on the engine because of the decisions that they made in how it is implemented. I really think that Eco mode should have been a pure EV mode like Volt, i.e. don't turn on ICE even at full pedal. If a particular owner thinks that too paltry then they can use Normal or Sport mode which will kick on ICE when needed to provide more power. In that scenario they would probably make Normal as the default mode so that on test drives (and journalistic test tracks) it will have maximum power. Owners who hate it when ICE comes on can always drive in Eco mode, accepting that full pedal acceleration will be somewhat less. Sure there will always be some people who will not be satisfied with the acceleration but that's not a new phenomenon in the car world. I think Honda went with what they thought was the safest approach but they underestimated how many owners hate it that ICE comes on when they have plenty of EV range, and by not at least giving them a choice has created quite a bit of bad feelings. Oh yeah and on that note also implement full battery regen some other way instead of kicking on ICE which then is locked into going through a full warmup cycle.
 

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The ICE will come on in the Clarity PHEV even in ECO mode. This is also documented in the owners manual. It is impossible in the Clarity PHEV to go full throttle and not trigger the ICE engine. The Volt is the opposite - it always uses the BEV system when at full throttle, which is why it's a more predictable response.

One thing I think the Clarity does better is handle ensuring the ICE gets to temperature when it's needed. The Volt will shut it off as soon as it's no longer needed, which very slightly raises the risk of water related exhaust system issues because the exhaust never gets to operating temperature.

After driving two PHEVs, I've decided my next car will be a full BEV. I have absolutely come to hate it when the cars switch to gas for any reason.

Don't get me wrong, the Clarity is a great car - I just think Honda made some decisions based on faulty assumptions. One of them is that people won't notice the difference in how it performs in hybrid mode vs. EV mode. Another item they missed is on HV Charge mode - the driver should be able to set this mode even with a full battery and the car should then run as an EV until you reach the HV Charge target. This allows you to set this when you start on a trip and ensure you have sufficient battery power to support the ICE in mountains.
 

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The ICE will come on in the Clarity PHEV even in ECO mode. This is also documented in the owners manual. It is impossible in the Clarity PHEV to go full throttle and not trigger the ICE engine.
Yes I know. I was suggesting that Eco mode should work differently than it currently does and never trigger ICE. I would even be okay with calling it Volt mode :)
 

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Yes I know. I was suggesting that Eco mode should work differently than it currently does and never trigger ICE. I would even be okay with calling it Volt mode :)
The ICE shouldn't come on at all until the driver specifically asks for HV mode or the battery is depleted.
 
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