Test Drive Results Honda Clarity Plugin Hybrid Electric Car

Honda Clarity Plugin Hybrid

The all-new 2018 Clarity Plug-in Hybrid completes Honda’s first-ever vehicle series that offers customers an array of electrified powertrain choices in one advanced, spacious and comprehensively equipped 5-passenger sedan.

The Clarity series, led by the Clarity Plug-In, is at the forefront of Honda’s initiative to bring electrified vehicle technology into the mainstream as the company aims for electrified vehicles to make up two-thirds of its global automobile sales by 2030. The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid manufacturing in Honda’s Saitama factory in the Sayama prefecture, Japan.

A No-Compromise Electric Vehicle

The Clarity Plug-in Hybrid sedan delivers a highly refined, advanced-technology driving experience with no compromise to driving range, performance or comfort, making it well suited for a range of consumers and driving needs.

Its 52 mile all-electric EPA range rating in our tests shows as few things.

1) most people don’t yet clearly know how to Efficiency test plugins. I’ll give you a heads up. Charge the battery pack every night and drain the battery. Do that more than once. Watch what happens when you start waking up in the morning.

The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid enables comparatively inexpensive zero-emissions all-electric driving for most daily driving situations. Occasional, or even frequent long-distance travel is also possible with the hybrid powertrain, which helped the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid receive a 340-mile joined gas-electric EPA range rating1. This flexibility to drive wherever and when a customer wants frees them of the “range anxiety” or recharging concerns that can go with even long-range electric-only vehicles.

Elegantly Efficient Powertrain

Furthermore, the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid uses Honda’s innovative two-motor hybrid technology. That’s which consists of (1) an ultra-efficient 1.5-liter DOHC i-VTEC® Atkinson-cycle in-line 4-cylinder engine coupled to a starter/generator motor; (2) an ultra-quiet 181-horsepower AC synchronous traction motor; and (3) a 17-kilowatt hour (kWh), 168-cell lithium-ion battery pack.

The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid runs primarily on its electric motor, using its Atkinson-cycle engine and starter/generator motor to generate electricity that is either supplied directly to the traction motor or used to recharge the 17 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. An electric-servo brake system for regenerative braking, further improving efficiency by using the energy from deceleration and braking to generate more electricity. It all adds up to an all-electric 110 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent) total though of 72 (city & highway) EPA rating.

Let’s be clear here that Honda’s Clarity Plug-In operates in three different driving modes. That’s depending on the driving situation. Also it is able to shift instantly, automatically and seamlessly. So can you say “From one mode to another” for optimized overall efficiency.

EV Drive

In EV Drive mode, the Clarity operates like an all-electric vehicle – the engine is off and decoupling from the drivetrain to cut friction. Motive power comes from the 181-horsepower traction motor, which draws electricity from the lithium-ion battery pack.

Hybrid Drive

In Hybrid Drive mode, the Clarity functions as a series hybrid. Like EV Drive mode, power comes from the electric traction motor.

To charge the car while driving, pop the car into sport and stay in eco range on the Tacometer. To ensure you’re charging tap the PHEV or battery view while driving. You’ll Find the sweet spot.

Clarity also features three driver-selectable operating modes. They are Normal, Econ and Sport – allowing users to customize their driving experience, maximizing efficiency or driving performance. A fourth mode – HV mode – is provided to keep the battery’s state of charge and can be selected with Normal, Econ and Sport driving modes (see POWERTRAIN for more detail).

Yet, the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid’s all-electric 110 MPGe joint (city & highway) EPA fuel economy rating1 is among the top of its class. Yet while we tested it we got a combined MPG of 72 MPG. That’s again while driving first all EV and then the Hybrid modes too. Also, while its gasoline-only 44/40/42 mpg (city/highway/combined)1 EPA fuel economy rating indicates the engine the engine alone is efficient, too. Yet we were getting around 52 MPG driving out of the all-electric range.

Distinctive Design
Unique exterior design elements that set the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid apart from other Clarity models include a model-exclusive Forest Blue Pearl exterior color, a distinctive chrome bar above the front grille, a chrome deck lid garnish and a unique color-coordinated 18-inch alloy wheel design.

• Full charge in just 2.5 hours at 240 volts

• Roomy 5-passenger cabin

• 8-inch Display Audio with Android Auto™ and Apple CarPlay™ integration

• Highly efficient aerodynamics

• Standard Honda Sensing®


So Clarity uses the second generation of Honda’s Intelligent Multi-Mode Drive (i-MMD) two-motor hybrid system. This highly efficient powertrain selects the ideal drive operation under a range of driving conditions to combine fun-to-drive performance with outstanding efficiency.

Power comes from a 181-horsepower electric motor producing 232 lb.-ft. of torque and drawing power from both the gasoline engine and a 17-kilowatt hour (kWh) battery pack. A recharge time of just 2.5 hours using a Level 2, 240 volt (32 amp) charger allows for easy charging.

• Emission warranty: Eight-year/100,000-mile or ten-year/150,000-mile Li-Ion battery limited warranty, depending on the state of purchase

Powertrain Layout

The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid’s key powertrain components for most packaging efficiency, affording the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid a roomy and accommodating 5-passenger interior. The lithium-Ion batteries beneath the passenger compartment to keep the center of gravity low for best handling without intruding on passenger or cargo space.

Since the gasoline engine can be decoupled from the rest of the hybrid powertrain, it only operates as needed. That’s Depending on the battery’s state of charge and other parameters. So the engine will automatically shut off during deceleration, or when the vehicle is at a stop. When needed, the gasoline engine restarts automatically, without action from the driver.

However, when the driver desires extra power in situations such as highway passing, even higher performance can be invoked by depressing the throttle pedal through a resistance point, or “click point,” toward the end of the pedal travel, bringing the full power of the engine and electric motor together for most acceleration, regardless of driving mode.

Intelligent Power Unit (IPU)

A high-capacity 17 kWh lithium-ion (Li-Ion) battery pack in the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid offers long life expectancy. As well as high power and engineered for superior safety performance. Cause these batteries packaging under the passenger compartment floor.

Further the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid adopts a water-cooled IPU (Honda/Acura-first). Water cooling offers significant improvement over air cooling in overall cooling performance. This in turn allows for much higher battery performance under heavy-load/high temperatures.

Power Control Unit (PCU)/ Voltage Control Unit (VCU)

The Voltage Control Unit (VCU) built into the Power Control Unit (PCU) adopts an interleaved circuit configuration for high performance while a two-phase coupled inductor contributes to high density.

Powertrain Drive Modes

The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid allows the driver to select between Sport, Normal and Econ driving modes to instantly change the driving experience. In Sport mode, more responsive acceleration feel adds to the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid’s fun-to-drive nature. In Econ mode, changes made to the map governing system output promote full-electric driving. Once battery energy gets drained, changes made to the throttle map encourage drivers to use less of the available performance, thereby potentially extending the practical driving range compared to Normal mode. A fourth mode – HV mode – is provided to help keep up the battery’s state of charge and can be selected with Normal, Econ and Sport driving modes.  Typically used during a long drive at highway speeds, a short press on the HV button sustains the battery’s state of charge in the most efficient way. A long press on the HV button will cause the battery to be recharged to about 58 percent before returning the ‘short press’ mode.  In this long press mode, all-electric operation is not available.

Regenerative Brake System

In the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid, kinetic energy from deceleration is turned into electrical energy via a regenerative braking system, and this captured energy is then stored in the Li-Ion batteries. The traction motor acts as a generator that can recharge the batteries during braking, gentle deceleration or coasting. The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid’s regenerative braking system intelligently apportions braking power between the hydraulic brakes and the electric motor to optimize efficiency and braking performance.

Driver-Selectable Regenerative Braking

Steering wheel-mounted Deceleration Selectors, similar to transmission shift paddles, allow the driver to select between four levels of regenerative braking performance. The right selector adds regenerative braking and the left selector reduces regenerative braking (displayed on the instrument panel). After a short time, the powertrain will automatically revert to the standard amount of regenerative braking. This can be beneficial during downhill driving by reducing stress on the brake system while simultaneously increasing battery charging via regeneration.

When the drive mode setting to Sport, the selectors run the same way, but the system will keep up the selected level of regeneration until the drive mode is changed or the START/STOP switch is cycled


The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid offers new value in the plug-in hybrid vehicle universe with its spacious and premium 5-passenger sedan configuration. Bright, modern and sophisticated, the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid interior offers a premium feel coupled with exceptional comfort and refinement. It features an open, advanced feel with a sleek instrument panel, ivory white or black bio-fiber fabric (or leather-trimmed power seating in Touring trim) and accent panels with a natural-looking woodgrain finish. The interior is also outfitted with premium environmentally responsible materials and features advanced technologies including Display Audio with Android Auto™ and Apple CarPlay™ integration.

Key Interior Convenience and Connectivity Features

• 8-inch Display Audio touchscreen

• Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration

• Rearview camera with dynamic guidelines

• 7-inch TFT intelligent Multi-Information Display (i-MID) within the instrument cluster

• 180-watt 8-speaker audio system

• HD Radio™ and SiriusXM® Radio

• Pandora® interface

• SMS Text Message function

• 2 USB audio interface ports

• Push button start/stop

• Smart Entry

• Auto-dimming rearview mirror

• Dual-zone climate control

• Rear heat/air conditioning vents

• Walk Away Door Lock system

• Electric Parking Brake with Brake Hold

• 60/40 Split Fold Down Rear Seat

• Standard HondaLink®

• Available HondaLink Assist (when paired with compatible phone)

• Siri Eyes Free (when paired with compatible phone)

• Available Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System™ with Voice Recognition and Honda HD Digital Traffic


A range of convenience features helps streamline daily commutes, including a roomy center console with a large storage compartment located under a padded center armrest. Also on the center console is a large dual cupholder and an open lower storage area large enough to accommodate a smartphone or tablet. The rear seating area features convenient fold-down center armrest, likewise with two cupholders, and cell phone pockets in the front seat backs. Storage bins with bottle holders in all four doors provide added utility.


A graphical LCD meter panel offers a clean display. Talking power consumption, regenerative braking and battery charge level, along with the hybrid drive system energy flow.


The 8-inch high-definition Display Audio touchscreen interface is a system including standard Honda Satellite-Linked navigation and supports Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™.

Environmentally Responsible Materials

Like other Clarity models, the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid interior was developed to reduce carbon emissions by adopting plant-derived green materials and recycled materials. All plant-based materials are made of oils extracted from non-edible parts of plants, so as not to affect the food supply.


The Clarity has a trunk capacity of 15.5 cubic feet, among the largest in the competitive class and made possible by locating the IPU (with battery pack), under the floor. Spacious enough to easily accommodate four large golf bags, the trunk area is easy to access and use. All models feature a 60/40-split and folding rear seatback. The trunk is carpeted and lined, and a tire repair kit is located in a well within the trunk’s right side panel.


Futuristic and functional, distinctive and efficient, the new 2018 Clarity Plug-In Hybrid is dimensionally similar to the all-new 2018 Accord sedan. Exterior features include advanced aerodynamic treatments, full LED lighting, high-efficiency Smart Clear Wipers (windshield wipers), and six available exterior colors including the new and exclusive Moonlit Forest Pearl.

Expressive, aerodynamic and advanced, the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid exterior design establishes a new standard for plug-in hybrid vehicles. The presentation begins with distinctive front-end styling, encompassing LED DRLs and LED headlamps, a blend of decisive angular shapes and flowing curves, and high-tech aerodynamic features, all wrapped around an unmistakable Honda grille. The body sides visually sculpt the airflow, enabling the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid to slip through the wind with minimal aerodynamic disturbance. Front air curtains, rear tire covers and rear air curtains – along with chrome garnishes and a unique exterior color palette – are signature elements of the Honda Clarity series.

Key Exterior and Body Features

• LED headlights (hi-lo beam and DRL) and tail lamps

• Smart Clear Wipers (windshield wipers)

• Approximately 40 percent ultra-high-strength (980-1500 MPa) steel body structure

• Glass fiber reinforced plastic (GFRP) rear bumper beam

• Aluminum hood, front fenders, doors trunk lid, and rear parcel shelf

• Composite plastic steel and aluminum front bulkhead

• Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body with crash stroke design

• Acoustic glass, flush-mounted windshield

• Acoustic front door glass

• Triple door sealing


Measuring 192.7 inches long, 73.9 inches wide and 58.2 inches high, and riding on a 108.3-inch wheelbase, the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid is within an inch of the 2018 Honda Accord sedan in key dimensions. This generous sizing gives the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid a significant advantage in its segment compared to other comparably priced plug-in hybrid vehicles.


A comprehensive aerodynamics package helps the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid fulfill its mission as a tech-savvy, energy-efficient and image-leading vehicle. With its sleek design, the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid adopts a low-drag basic form, together with numerous wind-tunnel tested details that further boost energy efficiency while simultaneously reducing wind noise.

Matching the size of the inlet openings on the front fascia to precisely suit engine cooling requirements reduces airflow under the hood, while special radiator ducting and a full underfloor cover further reduce aero disturbances. Special “air curtains” built into the front fenders and rear doors help air pass over the wheels with minimal disturbance, rather than tumble across the wheel openings; and partial tire covers integrated into the rear fenders further assist in moving airflow smoothly rearward. At the rear of the cabin, the C-pillars mimic the front A-pillars in shape and size, reducing energy-wasting vortexes coming off the rear of the body. Even the taillight lenses are optimized with a “washboard” surface that lets air flow smoothly across them.

Noise Reduction

Acoustic laminated windshield and front door glass plus extensive use of noise insulators under the hood, instrument panel and floor, and within the wheelhouses, help reduce noise to endow the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid with a serene, high quality driving experience. Liquid-filled rear suspension bushings also help to reduce unwanted noise and vibration.


The Clarity platform utilizes advanced material applications to reduce body-in-white weight by approximately 15 percent compared to a conventional mid-size sedan. 55 percent of the body is constructed with advanced lightweight materials including ultra-high strength steel, aluminum and plastic. Approximately 40 percent of the body is constructed using ultra-high-strength (980-1500 MPa) steel. Aluminum is used extensively in the body as well, for the hood, front fenders, front bumper beam, front and rear doors, trunk lid and rear parcel shelf. A new glass fiber reinforced plastic (GFRP) is utilized for the rear bumper beam, and the front bulkhead is made with plastic, instead of steel, with an aluminum upper section, where the bulkhead is bolted to the body. Aluminum is also applied extensively to the front and rear suspension and subframes (see CHASSIS for more detail).

LED Lighting

This Plug-In Hybrid is equipped with a comprehensive range of LED exterior lighting. In front are large, bright LED DRLs, and high-low beams with nine LEDs per side. At the body corners are LED side marker lights, LED front turn signals and LED edge lights. Out back, LED taillights, turn signals and wing-shaped brake combination lights provide high illumination.

Smart Clear Wipers

The New windshield wiper technology to deliver advances to improve the view from the driver’s seat. The Clarity’s Smart Clear Wipers deliver an 80-percent improvement in outward visibility during washing solution spraying, as well as a 50-percent reduction in washing solution usage for each operation, compared to traditional windshield wipers.

To improve driver visibility during washing solution spraying, the nozzle jets are located on the wiper blades themselves. The spraying pattern is thus reduced from a large surface to a line along the wiper blade and the time between spraying and wiping is also significantly reduced. For even greater efficiency, the jets adjust the amount of cleaning solution corresponding to the outside air temperature and vehicle speed.


Furthermore, the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid combines Honda’s “fun to drive” DNA. That is with a smooth, quiet and highly refined driving experience. As well, aided by special engineering features including a low center of gravity and liquid-filled suspension bushings.

Low Center of Gravity
In addition to its low body weight, the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid features a lower center of gravity than a typical internal-combustion engine sedan, resulting in a reduction in pitching motion while accelerating or braking, as well as a reduction in body roll when cornering.  The resulting flat ride quality, combined with the seamless and immediate power of its electric motor elevates the Clarity Plug-In driving experience to near-luxury levels of refinement and response.


Let’s not forget the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid’s high-rigidity body structure provides a robust foundation for the suspension, which comprises lightweight front and rear subframes, a MacPherson front strut suspension and a five-link rear suspension. Special Frequency Response Dampers automatically tailor the damping force required to achieve smooth and nimble handling.

The lightweight front suspension utilizes forged aluminum lower arms and hollow cast iron steering knuckles that are 10 percent lighter than conventional solid cast iron knuckles and the lower arms use liquid-filled bushings to minimize unwanted noise, vibration and harshness. All of the rear suspension arms are made of forged aluminum, achieving a 40 percent


Complementing the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid’s sophisticated hybrid powertrain, the chassis is designed to provide a quiet and refined driving experience. The suspension and bushings deliver low harshness and a high level of smoothness compared to competitors, with the front suspension lower arms particularly engineered for high longitudinal and lateral rigidity, while liquid-filled bushings in the rear suspension provide a high degree of longitudinal compliance and help block high-frequency noise, vibration and harshness.

Dual-Pinion Electric Power Steering

Dual-pinion Electric Power Steering (EPS) provides quick, agile and smooth cornering response. Excellent steering linearity makes it easy for drivers to trace precise lines through corners, and the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid’s low center of gravity and suspension geometry help keep body roll to a minimum.

Wheels and Tires

In conclusion, Honda places special outer aerodynamic covers that reduce drag and improve brake cooling for 18 inch wheels. The lightweight wheels are painted silver and the aero covers are painted metallic gray for a dynamic and technologically advanced appearance. Specially designed 235/45R18 Michelin Energy Saver A/S tires provide an ideal combination of traction, low rolling resistance, and quiet and smooth driving characteristics.


Finally, The new Clarity Plug-in Hybrid shares its Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure and its suite of Honda Sensing® safety and driver-assistive

Written by greenlivingguy

The Green Living Guy, Seth Leitman is a green living expert, celebrity and Editor of the McGraw-Hill, TAB Green Guru Guides. Seth is also an Author, Radio Host, Reporter, Writer and a Environmental Consultant on green living. The Green Living Guy writes about green living, green lighting, the green guru guides and more. Seth's books range from: # Build Your Own Electric Vehicle by Bob Brant and Seth Leitman (2nd and 3rd editions) # Build Your Own Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle by Seth Leitman # Build Your Own Electric Motorcycle by Carl Vogel # Green Lighting by Seth Leitman, Brian Clark Howard and Bill Brinsky # Solar Power For Your Home by David Findley # Renewable Energies For Your Home by Russel Gehrke # Do-it-Yourself Home Energy Audits by David Findley # Build Your Own Small Wind Power System by Brian Clark Howard and Kevin Shea # and more green living books to follow.