The Honda Civic Hybrid has increased in popularity in recent years due to the improved fuel efficiency and of course, the eco-friendly aspect. Being a hybrid vehicle, it runs on two batteries; an electric battery, which is the primary battery, and a conventional one.
For drivers new to hybrid vehicles this can be confusing and leads to questions about the charging of the batteries. With that in mind, this guide is an explainer to all things relating to how to charge the Honda Civic Hybrid battery, problems you might have with it, and how to tell if it’s bad.
How to charge a Honda Civic Hybrid battery? Standard Honda Civic Hybrid batteries are self-charging and will charge using the energy generated when applying the brakes. Plug-in Hybrid batteries (PHEVs) charge differently by being plugged into an electricity source.
So, there’s no one correct answer here as it depends on the type of Honda Civic Hybrid you drive. To expand, the standard Honda Civic Hybrid batteries will charge during normal driving meaning you don’t need to worry about any battery problems. This process of the Civic Hybrid battery charging is known as “regenerative braking”.
However, if you drive a Plug-in Hybrid, the battery is charged by using the portable charging cord that can connect to a typical household 120-volt outlet. For faster charging, Honda recommend you install a 240-volt rapid charging station on your driveway.
There are also now an increasing number of public charging points where you can charge your Honda Civic Hybrid battery.
Back to the standard Hybrid battery which uses regenerative braking though…
How your Honda Civic Hybrid charges
The internal combustion engine in your Honda Civic Hybrid powers a generator that recharges the battery while driving. The battery is also charged using regenerative braking.
“The combustion engine drives a generator which recharges the traction battery, which is also topped up using regenerative braking (which captures waste energy as the car slows down). This is why these cars are sometimes called self-charging hybrids.”
Regenerative braking systems work by converting the friction during braking into energy. The energy generated from or lost when braking charges the Honda Civic Hybrid battery.
Like most hybrid cars, your Civic Hybrid battery serves as the energy storage device for the electric motor. The electric motor acts as both a generator and a motor. It functions as a motor by drawing energy from the batteries to accelerate the car, and as a generator, it decelerates the car and redistributes energy to the batteries.
Hybrid vehicles that do not require recharges from external outlets are often referred to as self-charging hybrids. They are called self-charging batteries because they do not need extra effort to get charged since it gets charged simply by driving around. The standard Honda Civic Hybrid falls into this category.
Depending on the year of production, your Honda Civic Hybrid battery will either be a Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) or Lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery. The earlier generations of Civic Hybrids used NiMH batteries but switched to Li-ion batteries in 2012.
The major distinction between Li-ion and NiMH batteries is the material used in storing energy. Li-ion batteries are made of carbon and highly reactive lithium, which has a larger storage capacity for energy. On the other hand, NiMH batteries use hydrogen to store energy.
With Honda ditching the NiMH batteries in the Civic hybrids, its newer Hybrid models equipped with the Li-ion batteries are thirty-five per cent more efficient than their predecessors. The Li-ion batteries also offer better performance in high temperatures and can be recharged faster.
With the Li-ion batteries, the newer Hybrids can achieve an estimated 44mpg on city and highway.
According to the manufacturer, the Honda Civic Hybrid battery life is between six to ten years or up to 100,000 miles. However, there are records of Civic Hybrids reaching over the 150,000-mile mark.
Several factors affect the Honda Civic Hybrid battery life. Some of those factors include:
The age of your Civic Hybrid is a vital factor that determines the longevity of your car’s battery. A Civic Hybrid driven for five years will likely need a replacement compared to one driven for a shorter time.
The year of production also plays a role as new hybrid and electric technology advances each year.
Bad driving habits such as driving short distances, excessive idling, overloading, and parking for a long time will shorten your Honda Civic Hybrid battery life.
Your Honda Civic Hybrid battery life is not only affected by its age but also the number of miles you put on it. For instance, a Honda Civic Hybrid with 50,000 miles will have a significantly better battery than one with 150,000 miles.
The performance of your Hybrid’s batteries will be affected by extreme weather conditions including snow.
Hybrid cars are less efficient in freezing temperatures, so it is crucial to properly warm up your Civic Hybrid before you drive off to improve efficiency, safety, and handling in snow.
Honda also advise running your car for at least 15 to 20 minutes in extremely cold climates.
Extending the Honda Civic Hybrid battery life
A Honda Civic Hybrid battery has an eight-year or 100,000-mile warranty. After the warranty period, it is not uncommon for drivers to seek ways to prolong their battery life. The tips below will help extend your car’s battery life:
- Keep up with routine maintenance.
- Brake and accelerate slowly.
- Avoid overcharging or undercharging your hybrid batteries.
- Keep your hybrid battery at a level temperature.
- Recondition your battery.
How do I know if my Civic Hybrid battery is bad?
With usage, it is not uncommon for your car’s battery life to deplete and need a replacement.
The signs that your Honda Civic Hybrid battery is bad include:
- Decrease in fuel economy and frequent trips to the gas station.
- Erratic charges.
- The internal combustion system runs more than usual.
- The hybrid battery is unable to hold a charge.
- Strange engine sounds (like this).
It is crucial to look out for these signs as your Civic Hybrid will become inoperable if the hybrid battery dies completely.
Handy Hint: Here’s a list of how fast Honda Civics can go.
Can you drive a Civic Hybrid without a battery?
No, you can’t drive a Honda Civic Hybrid without a battery. When the battery is dead and not charged, the car will not drive.
What happens when your Civic Hybrid runs out of battery charge?
Your Civic Hybrid automatically transitions to the ICE drive and uses fuel to continue running when the battery runs out.
At the same time, the recharging process of the battery starts either by the engine or using regenerative braking. This means that with a fueled vehicle, the car will continue to run, and you won’t have to worry about recharging the battery.
On the other hand, your Civic Hybrid will come to a stop if it runs out of fuel because they are not designed to function without it.
What happens when Honda Civic Hybrid battery dies completely?
When your Honda Civic Hybrid car battery starts to die, you will notice a decrease in fuel economy, or if it’s really starting to go bad, you won’t be able to charge it properly. Once the battery is completely dead, you can’t drive the Hybrid.
How much does it cost to replace the battery in a Honda Civic Hybrid
Just like the Honda Civic, the Honda Civic hybrid is a reliable car. They are fuel-efficient vehicles because of their ability to switch between their gas and electric motors.
With the Civic hybrid often running on its electric motor, the engine has less wear and tear, making it last longer.
The CVT gearbox in a Honda Civic hybrid never disengages, making it more resistant to wear. They also do not have to work as hard since the regenerative braking helps with acceleration (and charging), and this increases the longevity of the brakes.
Hopefully you won’t encounter too many Honda Civic Hybrid battery problems. From what I have discovered, most problems will relate to undercharging. So, providing you know how to charge your Honda Civic Hybrid battery, it should give you very good service.