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1,000 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell Vehicles recalled: Total loss of motor power possible

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Honda Clarity fuel cell at a Hydrogen refueling station

This will be the second official recall Honda issued for the Honda Clarity Fuel Cell Vehicle since its introduction.

Honda hasn’t officially announced it through their press release nor has it shown up on NHTSA’s official website but according to Cars.com in their report on Honda’s FCV earlier today (Dec. 27, 2018) it looks like Honda will inform one thousand leasees of its Clarities that an error in their Electronic control unit software can cause their Clarity to suddenly shut off without notice.

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According to the recall notice,

Electronic control unit software responsible for monitoring voltage in the fuel cell stack may misinterpret a minor voltage variance and erroneously shut down the stack in response, which could result in an unexpected loss of motive power, increasing the risk of a crash.

If you didn’t already know, unlike a standard electric car which uses a battery to store electricity, a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle uses compressed hydrogen which “runs through” a fuel cell, which in turn, defines how much power a vehicle can make. Electricity produced by the fuel cell in turn powers the car’s electric motor.

Honda did mention that this is similar to another recall from earlier in January which affected 471 Clarities.

Honda has been trying its hardest to make the Clarity Fuel Cell Vehicle experience for its leasees as smooth as possible despite a handful of localized hydrogen shortages that plagued the Southern California area earlier this summer, no fault of their own.

And monitoring an unofficial Clarity Fuel Cell Owners Facebook group, there have been a couple of notable issues with the Clarity that leasees have more or less dealt with including

  • An unofficial poll of from 79 respondents showed that 13 leasees or 16 percent of Clarity owners have had their hydrogen tanks replaced at least once for leaking. One owner had replaced his hydrogen tank twice.
  • Surprise costs like maintenance bills totaling several hundred dollars thanks to bespoke coolant a.k.a. insulating fluid and an ion exchange filter for the fuel cell stack.
  • A handful of owners oftentimes reporting reduced power when going about their daily driving duties.

It’s a surprise in and of itself that, as mentioned, this is just recall number two.

No word, at the moment, if Honda will release a substantial amount of changes if they even consider a mid-cycle refresh of sorts seeing 2019 marks two years since Clarities were leased to interested parties en masse.

Source: Cars.com

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