Honda dishonest about EV Range (in cold climates)

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by Yonno, Jan 18, 2019.

  1. Yonno

    Yonno New Member

    I live in MA and leased my Clarity in May 2018. At that time I was routinely seeing EV range in the ‘advertised’ range of 47 miles. As the weather warmed in the summer months, I got higher EV ranges - as high as low 60’s. That was then, now in January I don’t recall seeing anything above 35 miles for several months - most days are 30-31 with a full charge. (FWIW - I had all the available software updates done in Sept.) I think that Honda could have been more up-front about the effect of cold weather on EV range. I don’t recall reading that in any of their marketing or information material. Assume others that drive in colder climes see similar EV range?

    Sent from my iPad using Inside EVs
    Daniel M W likes this.
  2. laptop

    laptop Member

    I thought the same about the Chevy Volt 2016 until I started reading the manual and found that the recommended driving speed is 50m/h.
    Current battery technology performs very badly in cold weather and remember it is a 4000lbs car. Tire pressure matters too apart from driving habit.
    I have done just over 600 miles and if I drive at 50m/h, I get 50 miles but your driving style could be different. I also turn off the heating, only keep seat warmers.

    Maybe you could shed some lights in your driving experience but your batteries could be not performing as expected. What did your dealer say?

    Sent from my iPhone using Inside EVs
  3. Sandroad

    Sandroad Well-Known Member Subscriber

    Every person on here who posts about range has had the same experience in cold weather with the range being lower and in hot weather with the range being higher. Some of the year the range will be lower and some of the year the range will be higher than the EPA estimated 47 miles per charge. In the 8 months I've owned my Clarity, it looks like it will work out to be extremely close to 47 miles per charge, for an annual average. My highs in the summer were close to 70 miles and my lows in the winter are close to 30 miles. Pretty amazing work on the part of Honda and EPA to get the average of 47 miles right, given the many variables that go into EV range. As I see it, the only real problem comes in with full electric vehicles where range estimates are crucial. In BEVs, I do think it would be wise for manufacturers and EPA to provide range estimates at something like 20-50-80 degrees F to manage expectations.
    MNSteve, neal adkins, Kailani and 2 others like this.
  4. ClarityDoc

    ClarityDoc Active Member

    We have had temps in the teens and twenties, EV range remains 47-51 miles. Key is minimizing cabin heater, use of preconditioning before morning drive while connected to L2 EVSE, use of seat heater makes be comfy. Oh, and I park & charge my Clarity outside.

    Sent using Inside EVs mobile app
    neal adkins, KentuckyKen and dnb like this.
  5. JCEV

    JCEV Active Member

    Wish Honda had this for estimates .Hopefully in the next refresh. It's the Model 3, the number by the battery is the EPA and the chart shows how far you will go based on your last 50km, 25 km or 10km (not sure what the miles are). As you can see it's rated at 218 and based on my last 50km I will only get 157km . Only 72% of its rating. This is the life of EVs in winter.

    Attached Files:

    ClarityDoc likes this.
  6. jdonalds

    jdonalds Well-Known Member

    It's the nature of all battery powered cars at this time due to the battery technology. I believe the 47 mile estimate is valid as an average. Many of us have enjoyed range well over 50 miles in warm weather.

    Perhaps battery technology will change the cold weather behavior in the future but for now whatever EV or PHEV you buy will have the same results.
  7. dnb

    dnb Active Member

    The Clarity mileage estimate is based on your last few drives. Would be nice to have it in a pretty graph format though
  8. Yonno

    Yonno New Member

    My daily commute is 43 miles. The first 20 are on I-95 and I routinely set the cruise control to 71 mph. The remaining part of the drive is on Route 1 - often stop and go for several miles - and then on I-93 where typical speeds vary between 30-50 in the AM commute time. I charge at work (L2) and typically reads 31-32 mile of EV range (just like the AM). Commute is reverse and same traffic patterns in reverse. I have been preconditioning in the morning for about 15 mins.. I use Auto climate setting for 70 degrees, use ECO setting which seems to automatically turn seat heater to 1 bar. I don’t keep detailed records of EV miles reported at full charge.

    Sent from my iPad using Inside EVs
  9. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member

    It's interesting that the new AWD Prius uses NiMH batteries instead of the Li-Ion batteries found in the rest of the line. Toyota claims NiMH batteries are better suited to the colder temperatures the company expects will be the norm for a typical AWD Prius customer. However, my gen-1 Insight can get 70-80 mpg in the summer vs only 45-50 mpg in the winter, so I don't see a big advantage for the NiMH battery in cold weather.

    Of course, my experience might indicate that the internal combustion process is also less efficient in the winter. I've always wondered if heating my Insight's intake air would produce better winter gas mileage.
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2019
  10. craze1cars

    craze1cars Well-Known Member

    Internal combustion process is usually MORE efficient in winter. Denser, dryer air, more oxygen per unit and less humidity. BUT oil is thicker, it takes longer for engine to warm up and get out of enrichened fuel mixture mode, etc...and hybrid cars that will start/stop the engine frequently will go thru more inefficient cold starts and warm-up processes. Also grease in wheel bearings and axles is thicker/stiffer, nothing turns as easily, tires don't flex as easily, people let cars idle/warm up longer for comfort, etc, etc, etc. All of these things usually far override the better combustion process of cold/dry air intake, and almost every vehicle gets lower fuel mileage in the winter vs summer, despite the engine making a bit more power out of each fuel charge.

    Batteries of all types are MUCH more cold sensitive than any internal combustion engine. This is a big hurdle for EV's that has not yet been overcome.

    So to address original poster's concerns? Yes the EV aspect of this vehicle becomes REALLY inefficient at colder temps...darn near cutting it by 40%. I will go on record as simply not recommending this vehicle to those who drive and live in colder climates. In particular if it's not going to be usually parked in a somewhat heated garage. But it's a good warm-weather car. I'm frankly stunned they sell this thing in Canada...regardless of the battery heater...but I guess it's all just part of being the canary-in-a-coal-mine when adopting technology such as this so early. Somebody's gotta test it. But I guess Honda has no legal obligation to inform the canaries of their duty. They'll just drop out when their time comes...
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2019
  11. ab13

    ab13 Active Member

    The advertised range is the US EPA rated range. That is based on the test conditions the government defines.

    However, lithium ion batteries can have a lot of change due to temperature, particularly cold temperature. Here is an old post, but it include charts showing the drop in range for some tested vehicles under different temperatures.

    It's also the reason why people in cold climates shouldn't get low range vehicles like PHEV with 30 miles or less.
    jdonalds and David Towle like this.
  12. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Well, it's certainly true that li-ion battery packs lose capacity (and thus EVs lose range) in temperatures below about 40° F. And it's true that the EPA's range ratings for EVs don't give any indication of that.

    Whether or not that indicates Honda is "dishonest" about advertising the EPA ratings... well, that's a judgement call. Is Honda being "dishonest" by following the industry standard?

    I've often said that the EPA should publish a chart for every EV showing the range at various speeds, given how much that impacts range. Low temperatures have a substantial impact, too.

    Bottom line: EV tech is still in the "early adopter" stage, and in this stage of development, buyers need to educate themselves thoroughly in the tech before making a buying decision. That's the reality with any and every tech that's still in the early adopter phase of development.

    My personal opinion is that this issue isn't all that important for the Clarity PHEV. That car can always switch to gas-powered mode when the battery runs out of "juice". The issue is much, much more important for BEV drivers. EV forums should make a much stronger effort to publicize the fact that in regions where it sometimes gets bitterly cold in winter, a BEV may lose 30-40% of its range on very cold days. In fact, I've recently seen claims on this forum of up to 50% loss, altho I think that is an outlier figure.

    So, BEV drivers in regions where it does get very cold on some winter days should buy a BEV with ~40% more range than they think they'll need. In fact, that should likely be ~50% additional range, to allow for some range loss over time.

    But for PHEVs? Honestly, how many days a year is your Honda Clarity going to suffer significant range loss due to very cold weather? I think for most drivers that would be only a small fraction of the days of the year. Now if you live in, say, the Yukon... then that's going to be a serious problem.

    NeilBlanchard likes this.
  13. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Hmmm? No, gasmobiles lose some MPG in the winter; on average about 15%, as I recall. For one thing, people often spend more time idling the car to warm it up, and the engine runs less efficiently until it does warm up.

    Perhaps in theory an ICEngine will operate more efficiently in colder weather, but practically, gasmobiles lose range in cold weather just like EVs do... altho not as badly.

    NeilBlanchard likes this.
  14. David Towle

    David Towle Active Member

    ICE cars do not operate more efficiently in winter. Non turbo ones can produce a bit more power due to the denser air, but they use more gas to do that.
    Vezz66 likes this.
  15. AaD

    AaD Member

    My wife and I drive in the same area. She has been getting around 40 miles using moderate heat (low 60s) and a mixed highway/city commute. When I have the car I have pushed it back into the 50s in below freezing temps when driving backroads and not using the heat after preconditioning. We've had it up over 70 real miles in milder temps, so our average is no doubt well over the EPA figure of 47. The effects of cold on battery performance are unavoidable, but running resistance electric to heat a large uninsulated cabin to 70 or more degrees is what seems to be the driver of all this consternation. I do wish Honda had made training at the dealership level more of a priority for these cars, but I certainly don't think they are being dishonest about the range by reporting the EPA figure.
  16. JCEV

    JCEV Active Member

    I think it's a bit overblown since the EV cars waste no heat energy in the first place. What needs to he done is to give more awareness about this or give an EPA rating in 0C(32F) heating the cabin range. The fact that ICE cars are constantly wasting heat energy in summer and Winter makes it look like they are better in Winter but they are not. Imagine running your heater in your EV all the time full power and you can't turn it off. Then in Winter you are amazed that it loses little range. :)
    Phunny likes this.
  17. David Towle

    David Towle Active Member

    No, most electric generation (fossil fuels and nuclear) wastes the same heat energy, its just at the power plant instead of the car.
  18. JCEV

    JCEV Active Member

    Not true, it's still far less and the divide grows every year as we move toward renewable energy sources.
  19. Dan Albrich

    Dan Albrich Active Member

    My Clarity recently has been getting 100% charge with 26 miles of range. I'm actually getting a little less than 20 miles before EV goes to zero.
    It's not that cold where I am, maybe 50 degrees F by day, and overnight's approaching freezing but not actually freezing. Car's in an unheated garage. Anyway, it's been rainy lately. My behavior that's bringing down mileage is turning the heat way up-- like 74 when I first get in the car after being out in rain (and sometimes blowing rain) -- so I feel wet and cold. BTW for Oregon winter, this is just normal.

    So anyway, it may explain (or partially explain) why my estimated range is lower than others in the winter. Perhaps oddly, even colder actual temps with no rain (dry) are much more tolerable to me--- and I'm less likely to goose the heater. When we were cold, and not getting rain/wet, I was keeping the car heater off a lot more.
  20. KentuckyKen

    KentuckyKen Well-Known Member

    Clarity plus solar PV system on my roof equals virtually no wasted heat energy in generation or usage.

    My carbon footprint is so small even Al Gore can’t find it!
    (And yes I know that there is some environmental and energy considerations in the sourcing of materials and the manufacturing of the car and solar PV system. But that is far, far less than burning fossil fuels.)

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