Buried among all of Honda's other announcements this week about fuel-cells, hybrids, flex-fuel and diesels were some announcements about motorcycle technology. Motorcycles have alway had good fuel economy and now Honda is trying to improve the numbers even more. Since General Motors' first disastrous attempt to create a production variable displacement engine in 1981, many other companies have picked up on the idea. When GM first tried it with the Cadillac V-8-6-4, the problem wasn't the concept. The electronic technology just wasn't ready to support the implementation. Since then modern electronics have allowed companies like GM, Mercedes-Benz and Chrysler to implement the technology quite successfully. Now Honda is bringing variable displacement to motorcycles. They have announced their Variable Cylinder management that allows the cylinders to be varied in three stages to operate on 2 to 4 cylinders. Honda also announced a twin-spark-plug ultra low friction bike engine. No additional details on timing or applications are available right now. See item 2 in the press release after the jump.

[Source: Honda Motor Co.]

Honda Unveils Next-Generation Power Plant Technologies

Torrance, Calif. 09/25/2006 -- Honda Motor Co., Ltd. unveiled a key element of its global initiative to reduce
CO2 emissions: next-generation power plant technologies.


1. Automobiles

(Next-Generation Diesel Engine)
Honda has developed a next-generation diesel engine that reduces exhaust gas emissions to a level equal to a gasoline engine. The new diesel engine employs a revolutionary NOx catalytic converter that enables a reduction in NOx emissions sufficient to meet stringent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Tier II Bin 5 emissions requirements (based on Honda calculations). Honda plans to introduce its next-generation diesel engine in the U.S. within three years.

(Fuel Cell-Powered Vehicle)
Honda has held a demonstration drive of the next-generation FCX Concept fuel cell vehicle, an earlier version of which was shown at the 2005 Tokyo Motor Show. The FCX Concept now features a newly developed compact, high-efficiency Honda FC Stack. Limited marketing of a totally new fuel cell vehicle based on this concept model is to begin in 2008 in Japan and the U.S. (Flexible Fuel Vehicle (FFV)) Honda has developed a new flexible fuel vehicle (FFV) system that enables gasoline engine-based power plants to operate on either 100% ethanol or a wide range of ethanol-gasoline fuel mixtures. In late 2006, Honda plans to begin sales of FFVs in Brazil, where bio-ethanol has gained popularity.

(Advanced Gasoline Engine)
Honda has further improved its VTEC (Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control System) technology with the development of the Advanced VTEC engine, which provides high performance along with outstanding fuel economy and lower emissions. The new engine combines continuously variable valve lift and timing control with the continuously variable phase control of VTC (Variable Timing Control) to achieve a world-leading level of performance and a 13%* improvement in fuel efficiency. Honda plans to release a production vehicle equipped with the new engine within three years.
* Engine only, as compared to production 2.4-liter i-VTEC engine (Honda calculations)

2. Motorcycles

(Variable Cylinder Management (VCM))
In a new application of Hyper VTEC technology, Honda has developed a variable cylinder management system (VCM) for motorcycles. This new VCM allows control of the number of active cylinders in three stages from 2 cylinders to all 4 cylinders, for both superior performance and low fuel consumption.

(Ultra-Low Friction Engine)
Honda has displayed a new motorcycle engine with dramatically reduced internal mechanical friction and twin-spark-plug ignition for increased combustion efficiency, achieving a world-leading ultra-low level of friction.

3. Power Products

(Advanced Engine Management)
Honda has announced that it plans to expand its line-up of products featuring the electronic STR Governor technology first developed for the i-GX engine. All medium-to-large power product engines (GX160 and larger), generators, and snow blowers are to feature this technology by the end of 2010.

(High-Expansion-Ratio Engine)
Honda has revealed the prototype of a revolutionary high-expansion-ratio engine featuring intake and expansion strokes of variable lengths. In May 2006, Honda became first in the industry worldwide to announce voluntary global CO2 reduction targets for its products and production activities. Today's announcement of new power plant technologies indicates the direction the company is taking in efforts to reduce CO2 through efficiency improvements. In addition to new advances in power plant technologies, Honda is engaged in CO2 reduction initiatives relating to fuel production, including research on the production of ethanol using new biotechnology, as well as solar cells and the Home Energy Station (HES), a comprehensive system designed to meet home energy needs by supplying electricity and heat in addition to hydrogen fuel for vehicles.


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