Honda Clarity Plug-In MPGe in Upstate NY Winter

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by Mike Triassi, Jun 11, 2019.

  1. Mike Triassi

    Mike Triassi New Member

    Honda rates the Clarity at 110 MPGe in electric mode....finally got close after 7 months!

    Most information you find about plug in hybrids is on electric range. During our upstate NY winter there were many days that the range was close to 30 miles but now that it is warmer it is getting the rated range of about 47 miles. Range is good information but I am more interested in efficiency and cost to operate so I have been tracking odometer, gas usage, and electricity usage closely and have now superimposed weather info. Below is a graph of how it did.

    Scales on MPGe, Farenheit temps, and percentages are aligned for easier reading.
    October 2018 is before a smart charger was installed so it is just a guess.

    MPGe calculation
    Some notes on how these calculations were done. A home JuiceNet charger and the ChargePoint network provide detailed charging records of electricity usage. Gas usage is based on logs of gas fill ups. Since February 2019, I am filling up at the end of the month whether it is needed or not. I had to interpolate monthly usage prior to that. This should be fairly accurate though since they were all within a few days of the month end and I only use 2 to 4 gallons per month. MPGe calculation is based on a conversion of 33.6 KWHr per gal of gas in summer (June-Sept) and 33 KWHr per gal in winter. The MPGe combined number should be very accurate.

    Hybrid and % Electric Distance estimates
    Determining Electric MPGe and % Electric Distance is estimated by deducting the estimated gas miles using Honda's rating of 42 MPG and a winter de-rating of 32 MPG in winter assuming that the starting and stopping in cold weather will be detrimental to performance. I wish Honda would provide a computer odometer reading of Hybrid vs Electric miles. Even using less aggressive de-rating of 36 MPG does not change the graphs all that much.

    It was surprising that the winter performance took such a big hit. Tracking an SUV performance for four years it would go from 25 MPG in summer to 21 MPG in winter (16% drop). It is not obvious how much temperature impacts performance versus snowfall on the ground. Next winter maybe there will be some all electric months to get a better sample. There was only one month so far that was all electric and it was in April 2019.

    As far as cost of operation, costs for a hybrid vehicle in these colder 7 months of operation would have been about $499 at 36 mpg (mostly winter) assuming $2.80 per gallon for regular gas. It actually cost approximately $317 using ethanol free gas at about $3.00 per gallon and electricity at $0.10 per KWHr (and some free electricity on ChargePoint network).

    Things should get much better in the summer. In May, 984 miles traveled in a hybrid vehicle getting 42 MPG would have cost $65.60 assuming $2.80 for regular gas. It cost $36.25 for 3.97 gallons at $3.35 for ethanol free gas and 229.54 KWHr at $0.10 plus 20.79 free KWHhr on ChargePoint.

    On a final note. I really like the car. It is fun to drive and has a roomy truck. It was a great price after $7500 federal and $1800 state rebates. The techy side of me just wants to better understand how it performs. It would be great to hear what everyone thinks about this approach to estimate MPGe numbers and cost of operation. All ears for better ideas.

    If anyone knows a way to get electric miles on Clarity using OBD port or any way else it would be much appreciated.

    1) Snow tires were used from Nov 2018 to Apr 2019
    2) Most of my miles were city but I do not have a good breakdown of highway vs city.
    3) I drove 6420 miles in 8 months (802.5 miles per month) using 2398 KWHr of electricity and 27.79 gallons of gas. 56.27 KWHr were free on the ChargePoint network.
    4) Weather data and number of days with snow on ground came from this site...
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2019
    HagerHedgie likes this.
  2. Yep, I live in Syracuse and during the coldest days, I was getting 25-30 miles on a charge. Now, I am getting 47 to 52 miles on a charge and rarely have to use Hybrid mode unless I am going on a trip. The cold saps the current battery tech. That is why I keep harping that auto makes need to produce a 100 mile PHEV. I think more people would jump on them. My wife likes Ford Escapes but the PHEV version coming out next year will only have a 30 mile range. Why bother?

    When I go full EV, I would like to get 250 to 300 mile 3 season range.

    BTW, I am getting 117 MPGe now that I do not use heat and defrosting daily. :D
  3. BeMurda

    BeMurda Active Member

    I wonder how things differ for the Canadian version with the battery heater.
  4. Chris Messer

    Chris Messer Member

    Not much. I get 82-85km in the summer, 40km in the winter...a bit less when it gets REALLY cold (-30)
  5. BeMurda

    BeMurda Active Member

    Good to know, thanks. Do you store the vehicle in a garage and preheat it prior to commuting? That's my plan. Attached but unheated garage with level 2 charger (stays above 0C inside generally though).
  6. The Gadgeteer

    The Gadgeteer Active Member

    I would like more range too but I am willing to jump ship to a CUV/small SUV PHEV like the Escape with less range because it is a CUV/small SUV. I will have to see what the Escape PHEV will be like in 2022 when I decide what to do with my Clarity at the end of its lease.
  7. fotomoto

    fotomoto Active Member

    Interesting stuff!

    I've never looked into it so I'm not sure how the EPA calculations handle charger efficiency. If I'm understanding correctly, I believe your data includes that. Also, did you do any pre-conditioning; especially in the winter? If so, how do you handle those numbers?
  8. I am hoping we will have a lot more choices by 2021-2022. Waiting for Ford's Mustang influenced CUV performance EV reveal later this year. The current SUV EVs are VERY expensive. The Kia Niro EV looks good though.
    The Gadgeteer likes this.
  9. Mike Triassi

    Mike Triassi New Member

    I wondered about charger efficiency but just thought it should be lumped into overall losses. Preconditioning is something I do and it does count against electricity usage but it would have been used while driving to heat the car so not sure it is a special case either.
  10. 4sallypat

    4sallypat Active Member

    @Mike Triassi
    Very cool graph data!

    What about including data on the use of cabin heating during the winter which saps the battery big time and reduces EV range ??
    I am sure that if you included the amount of cabin heating used, you will also see a direct correlation on EV range.

    Also use of accessories such as climate control, defrosters, defogger (AC), seat heaters, headlights (longer nights); as well as snow tires have a dramatic impact on mileage.
  11. Mike Triassi

    Mike Triassi New Member

    I agree that these things are all true but in the interest of comparing to a gas vehicle both technologies are penalized.
  12. GV Ottawa

    GV Ottawa Member

    I've got an unheated, attached garage with level 2 charger at my house in Ottawa and I preheat the car in the mornings before I head out. Last summer I was typically seeing 80-85 km. This winter I was typically between 34-40 km. This past week I'm back up to 81 km.
  13. JohnT

    JohnT Member

    Just a note - I averaged about 65 km (40 miles) all winter.. .by almost never turning the heat on... used the seat heaters' preheated; and 'suffered' :).. The mileage cost of turning on the 2 baseboard heaters is extreme! AC has almost no effect -getting 98 km (59 miles) with AC on. As far as comparing mileage with the ICE - that is actually not fair - as the waste heat from the engine provides cabin heat. JMHO YMMV
  14. Mike Triassi

    Mike Triassi New Member

    So....I filtered the JuiceNet charges to determine those that started at 7:30 which is when I precondition.


    Electric MPGe2 takes out precondition charging. I am not sure if it really makes sense to do that as all technologies spend energy on climate control and I paid for that energy. I do like knowing that my range got extended so I didn't have to use as much gas on days that I ran out of battery.
  15. 4sallypat

    4sallypat Active Member

    ^^^ Yes - this is correct.

    The Clarity battery pack is seriously affected by use of the cabin heater - that fact makes everyone think their battery pack is not working to spec...
    I never used the cabin heater during Jan - April due to the fact that So Cal is so warm and got over 50 miles per charge even in the middle of winter.
    If anything, the windows rolled down may have affected mileage....
  16. Mike Triassi

    Mike Triassi New Member

    Very true!...that is a big advantage of an ICE for the winter! The waste heat is very nice for heating.
  17. jray19

    jray19 New Member

    From mid-October until now, I kept detailed records of my EV range and outside temperatures during my daily commute (AM and PM Temp average) on as many days as I could. My commute is 49.2 miles and though traffic will vary from day to day, it is rather consistent drive of about 5 miles of city and the remainder on highway. I used precondition heat on cold days and set heat to Auto 62 degrees + seat warmer. On warm days when air conditioning was used Auto 72 degrees. On extreme cold day's the car engine would start without EV depletion so no reading would be taken on those days. On days where range exceeded my 49.2 mile commute I added in the EV range available from the car to the actuals. Here is the chart showing the data points. upload_2019-6-16_22-10-59.png
    In future winter's I'd probably run more ICE on the return commute and not run the EV all the way down to 0 range. The reason for this is on the very cold day's when the ICE start at 0 EV range it takes some time to warm up and then run's pretty hard to catch up. Therefore, using the ICE a bit earlier (HV mode) would probably be a little less taxing on the battery and engine. As expected heating takes a lot of energy and saps range but, easily exceeding the 47mile rating on days above 50 degrees F has exceeded my expectations. I've used only 70 gallons of gas over 13800 miles so about 77% of my total miles have EV. I'm very happy with this balance.
    KentuckyKen and MPower like this.
  18. Mike Triassi

    Mike Triassi New Member

    I never recorded my range but this looks very consistent to my winter experience. Fully agree with precondition advantage and that having zero range left on cold days being a bit of an issue.
  19. 2002

    2002 Well-Known Member

    If the goal is to end with 0 EV range, I realize it may not be but let's say that it is. Could you do something like a staggered start. What I mean by that is when you have about say 5 miles of EV range left, and while driving a steady speed, turn on HV. After ICE comes on you can then turn off HV. ICE will continue to run until it reaches operating temperature, then it will shut off. Let's say by the time ICE shuts off the EV range has dropped to about 2-3 miles. So then you drive out the remaining EV miles, then ICE comes back on but ICE is already warm so it would hopefully make a smooth transition. Of course depending on temperature you would have to experiment to find out when is the best time do the first switch to HV.
    jray19 likes this.
  20. jray19

    jray19 New Member

    That's quite a good idea. I'll use that next winter. Thanks.

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