2018 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid – Video
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 sophisticated, spacious and comprehensively equipped 5-passenger sedan. The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid joins the Clarity Fuel Cell and Clarity Electric as the volume leader in the Clarity series, sold in all 50 states.
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 is manufactured in Honda’s Saitama factory in the Sayama prefecture, Japan.
The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid utilizes Honda’s innovative two-motor hybrid technology, 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 is deployed for regenerative braking, further improving efficiency by using the energy from deceleration and braking to generate additional electricity. It all adds up to an all-electric 110 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent) combined (city & highway)1 EPA rating.
The Clarity Plug-In operates in three different driving modes, depending on the driving situation, and is able to shift instantly, automatically and seamlessly from one mode to another to optimize overall efficiency:
In EV Drive mode, the Clarity operates like an all-electric vehicle – the engine is off and is decoupled from the drivetrain to reduce friction. Motive power comes from the 181-horsepower traction motor, which draws electricity from the lithium-ion battery pack.
In Hybrid Drive mode, the Clarity functions as a series hybrid. Like EV Drive mode, motive power comes from the electric traction motor. The coupled gasoline engine and generator motor produce electricity, which is sent directly to the traction motor or to the battery pack, depending on the driving situation and the battery’s state of charge.
In Engine Drive mode, which is typically engaged when cruising at medium to high speeds, the Clarity funtions as a parallel hybrid. A lock-up clutch connects the engine (always linked to the generator motor) and the traction motor to send power directly from the engine to the front wheels. Unlike most competing hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles, the Clarity does not use a conventional transmission which saves weight and minimizes complexity while improving efficiency.
The Clarity Plug-in Hybrid also features three driver-selectable operating modes – Normal, Econ and Sport – allowing users to customize their driving experience, maximizing efficiency or driving performance. A fourth mode – HV mode – is provided to preserve the battery’s state of charge and can be selected in conjunction with Normal, Econ and Sport driving modes (see POWERTRAIN for more detail).
The Clarity Plug-in Hybrid’s all-electric 110 MPGe combined (city & highway) EPA fuel economy rating1 is among the top of its class, 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.
The 2018 Clarity Plug-In Hybrid’s utilizes the second generation of Honda’s Intelligent Multi-Mode Drive (i-MMD) two-motor hybrid system. This highly efficient powertrain selects the optimal drive operation under a wide 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.
The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid powertrain utilizes a 1.5-liter Atkinson-cycle engine that is paired with two electric motors – a traction motor and a generator/starter motor.
Detailed energy management for each component, controlled by the Power Control Unit (PCU), enables the system to make the best use of both the electric propulsion motor and the gasoline engine to provide seamlessly smooth and responsive performance while garnering exceptional EPA fuel economy ratings.