scclarityev
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Jun 02, 2018 7:14 pm
Location: Santa Cruz CA

Clarity EV completely died at the charging station. Any ideas?

Sat Jun 02, 2018 8:10 pm

Hi All,

I have had my Clarity EV for 2 months. I drive the it to work on a daily basis. The commute is ~35 miles each way and I have easy access to level 2 chargers (via ChargePoint) at my office. With the chargers at work and standard level 1 at home at night I have not had any concerns with the range. In general, I have been impressed with the Clarity EV as a 'car' and I've also been impressed with the characteristics of the electric motor (instant torque, quiet, affordable, low maintenance, etc).

Until last night.

When i got to my car to go home after work, I unplugged the charge cable, closed the charge port access door, and got into the Clarity to find that _none_ of they electrical systems worked. No power, no dashboard, no interior/exterior lights, no door locks, no aux power, the charge port door wouldn't open and the HondaLink App could not get data form the car. Nothing. I opened the hood and checked the 12v aux battery and it appeared to have complete charge (there is a visual indicator on the battery, a nice touch). I also checked the Charge Point app which tracks the charging progress (in kw, $ and time) and found that I was plugged in for almost 10 hours while I was at work but that $0 and 0kw.

So, I called Honda Roadside assistance and after waiting 6 hours and talking with 9 different people (a whole different customer service nightmare for a different post) a tow truck driver that had seen similar things with Honda Clarities (I'm in Northern CA and there are quite a few around here) had the suggestion to 'jump start' the 12v aux battery. We tried that and it actually worked. The system turned on and the battery meter showed 50% capacity - what I had when I arrived at work in the morning. The audio/nav system didn't work, but otherwise, the car seemed ok. The tow truck driver thought that the battery may have overheated while charging but I don't think this is the case because 1) it wasn't a particularly hot day and this was pretty standard amount of time to be plugged in and 2) I don't think any charging happened at all as suggested by the cars battery meter and Charge Points report that I didn't draw any power.

What gives? Has anyone else had or heard about a similar problem and solution? I have searched different forums and sites and haven't found anything. I'm also extremely unimpressed with Honda's customer service so far as they barely seem to know what the Clarity is, much less know how to help.

I really like this car and want it to work out. Hopefully we can share some knowledge on this forum.

Thanks

darthpuppy
Posts: 100
Joined: Fri Feb 23, 2018 3:30 pm
Location: SoCal

Re: Clarity EV completely died at the charging station. Any ideas?

Sun Jun 03, 2018 2:49 am

Wow that is an awful experience.

I haven't seen or heard anything along these lines on the Clarity EV. But it sounds similar to some of what I've read on the Leaf discussion forum.

Apparently, EVs don't have an alternator that charges the 12v battery when the car is driven. The 12v battery gets charged from the big traction battery.

However, on the Leaf, the 12v battery won't charge while the car is plugged in - regardless of whether the charger is doing anything. And when the 12v battery gets low, nothing works. Perhaps the Clarity EV has a similar design?

I vaguely recall lots of complaints on the Leaf regarding the 12v battery causing lots of headaches.

If the car was sitting 10 hours and an interior light was on or it was left in accessory mode instead of off for instance, the 12v battery would discharge too much. And if the car was plugged in, the traction battery wouldn't recharge it.

Of course, the above scenario doesn't do anything for explaining why it didn't proceed to charge the traction battery at all, except that once the 12v battery is too low, the electronics probably shut down and won't communicate properly with the charging station and therefore there would be no charging happening.

Either way, Honda needs to diagnose and tell you what happened and either fix the issue or tell you how to avoid the problem. When you find out, please let us know.

DucRider
Moderator
Posts: 57
Joined: Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:28 pm

Re: Clarity EV completely died at the charging station. Any ideas?

Sun Jun 03, 2018 6:30 am

If it's any consolation, there are multiple posts on the Bolt EV forums detailing similar 12V battery problems. There were also a few on the Honda Fit EV postings. As mentioned above, the Leaf has had similar complaints. Even non plug-in hybrids like the Prius and C-Max have had issues. Put my luggage in our C-Max to head to the airport, closed the power hatch and it was done (hybrids also often charge the 12V from the traction battery). No power at all - can't open the liftgate - and the battery is under the floor in the rear hatch.

All the computers and "normal" car systems ru off of 12V, and a faulty battery will cause them to shut down. ICE vehicles give warning of a failing battery by slow cranking, hard starting, etc. Since EV's don't draw a starting load, it's "all or nothing". When the "nothing" happens it comes without warning.
Gary
Oregon Electric Vehicle Association Vice Chair
www.oeva.org
NDEW City Captain
www.driveelectricweek.org

darthpuppy
Posts: 100
Joined: Fri Feb 23, 2018 3:30 pm
Location: SoCal

Re: Clarity EV completely died at the charging station. Any ideas?

Sun Jun 03, 2018 1:33 pm

Also from the Leaf forums, a lot of people have left their car plugged in when they went on a two week trip and returned to find a dead car because the 12v battery can't go two weeks without recharging from the traction battery. Stuff like this that deviates from what the public is accustomed to should be explained by the dealer at time of delivery. The transition to EVs would go a lot smoother if the dealers would help their customers avoid this type of issue.

SFClarity
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon May 07, 2018 6:29 pm

Re: Clarity EV completely died at the charging station. Any ideas?

Mon Jun 04, 2018 12:28 am

I have neither an explanation nor solution - but a possible backup.
I first went "green" with a VW diesel...right, that one. Before VW bought it back as part of the class action settlement, I had constant problems with the battery dying. After exceeding my AAA road calls, I bought a Beatit portable jump starter D11. Compact and relatively inexpensive. It worked. Now I am glad that I held on to it. I have not needed to try it on my Clarity (and hopefully never will) so I can't swear it will it will work, but it may eliminate the problem of having to call and wait for road service. It also has plug ins for cell phones, so if your car is dead AND your cell phone almost dead, you can at least call! ;-)

scclarityev
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Jun 02, 2018 7:14 pm
Location: Santa Cruz CA

Re: Clarity EV completely died at the charging station. Any ideas?

Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:57 am

Thanks for all of the replies.

I think I will get a portable "jump starter' battery so I don't get stranded again. That said, it doesn't seem like the root problem was that the 12v battery had a problem. The battery has a visual indicator (blue outer ring, red inner circle for full charge) which shows if the 12v battery is having a problem. Mine looked good - blue outer circle, red inner circle. Maybe the indicator was wrong.

The car has been charging in my garage on the 120v level one charger all weekend. I'm going to drive to work tomorrow and see how it goes.

Thanks again for the replies. I'll give everyone an update if anything interesting happens.

scclarityev
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Jun 02, 2018 7:14 pm
Location: Santa Cruz CA

Re: Clarity EV completely died at the charging station. Any ideas?

Mon Jun 04, 2018 3:36 am

One additional note: I've called and left messages with the Honda dealer where I got the Clarity Ev. So far, no response. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt since it's the weekend but I'm a little concerned that the dealer network doesn't have the training or experience to deal with BEV issues.

TOMK777
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2018 5:17 am

Re: Clarity EV completely died at the charging station. Any ideas?

Sat Aug 25, 2018 9:03 pm

Perhaps a small solar panel trickle charger for your 12 volt battery is the solution.

https://www.amazon.com/uxcell-Portable- ... te+adapter

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