• Dec 20, 2010
Honda Accord plug-in hybrid demonstrator – Click above for high-res image gallery

Late last week, Honda wheeled out the electric Fit for a brief publicity drive in Torrance, CA. Parked beside the battery-powered Fit was a Honda Accord dressed in graphics that read "Plug-In Hybrid." The Accord plug-in hybrid (PHV) that made its debut is nothing more than an early-stage prototype, but Honda did drop some specs for its PHV, which we've highlighted below:
  • This new hybrid system is designed for mid-size to larger vehicles and will be introduced in a future Honda model in 2012.
  • The plug-in hybrid allows for short, frequent trips in all-electric mode.
  • The Honda two-motor system continuously moves through three different modes to maximize driving efficiency: all-electric, gasoline-electric and a unique, engine direct-drive mode.
  • In all-electric mode, the vehicle uses a 6kWh lithium-ion battery and a powerful 120 kW electric motor.
  • The all-electric mode achieves a range of approximately 10-15 miles in city driving and a top speed of 62 mph.
  • Fully recharging the battery will take 3 to 4 hours using a 120-volt outlet and 1 to 1.5 hours using a 240-volt outlet.
Honda intends to launch a production PHV in 2013, so there's still ample time for the automaker to modify its powertrain before the vehicle debuts, but these preliminary specs suggest that a plug-in Prius fighter is in the works.



[Source: Honda]

PRESS RELEASE

Honda Launches Electric Vehicle Demonstration Program

City of Torrance conducts first test drive of Honda battery electric vehicle and plug-in hybrid


Honda launched an Electric Vehicle Demonstration Program today with Torrance Mayor Frank Scotto and American Honda Motor Co., Inc. President and CEO, Tetsuo Iwamura, conducting the first public test drive of a Fit EV prototype and an Accord Sedan test vehicle outfitted with a new two-motor plug-in hybrid system.

The city of Torrance along with Stanford University and Google Inc., will each receive a Fit EV for testing starting in 2011. In addition, the city of Torrance will test a plug-in hybrid as a part of the program in 2012. Each of the three demonstration program participants will conduct general testing as well as evaluating specific and distinct issues related to the introduction of electric vehicles.

"The goal of the Honda Electric Vehicle Demonstration Program is to more fully understand the challenges and opportunities associated with such a fundamental shift in technology," said Tetsuo Iwamura, American Honda Motor Co, Inc., President and CEO. "The city of Torrance and the other participants will play a key role, by providing real-world feedback on their experience. They will help us tackle the important issues surrounding customer adoption of electric vehicles."

When the city of Torrance receives their Fit EV and plug-in hybrid, they will be evaluating the technologies with a focus on charging infrastructure development, promotion of sustainable community initiatives and to building public awareness about electric vehicles.

The Fit EV and plug-in hybrid will be used by several Torrance city departments, including the Community Development department and Public Works office, along with the Economic Development office.

The Fit EV Concept made its world debut on November 17, 2010 at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The production Fit EV will be introduced to customers in the U.S. and Japan in 2012. The Fit EV is designed to meet the daily driving needs of the average metropolitan commuter and utilizes the same 5-passenger layout found in the popular Fit hatchback.

The Fit EV will be powered by a lithium-ion battery and coaxial electric motor. The high-density motor, derived from the FCX Clarity fuel cell electric vehicle, delivers excellent efficiency and power while remaining quiet at high speeds. The Fit EV will have a top speed of 90 mph. Recharging the Fit EV can be accomplished in less than 12 hours when using a conventional 120-volt outlet, and less than six hours when using a 240-volt outlet.

The Fit EV will achieve an estimated 100-mile driving range per charge using the US EPA LA41 city cycle (70 miles when applying EPA's adjustment factor). Driving range can be maximized by use of an innovative 3-mode electric drive system, adapted from the 2011 Honda CR-Z sport hybrid. The system allows the driver to select between Econ, Normal, and Sport to instantly and seamlessly change the driving experience to maximize efficiency or improve acceleration.

Honda also unveiled a plug-in hybrid platform at the Los Angeles Auto Show, which showcased Honda's next-generation two-motor hybrid system. This new hybrid system is designed for mid-size to larger vehicles and will be introduced in a future Honda model in 2012. The plug-in hybrid is intended to be compatible with daily driving habits, allowing for short, frequent trips in all-electric mode, while providing long-distance driving capability when needed. The Honda two-motor system continuously moves through three different modes to maximize driving efficiency: all-electric, gasoline-electric and a unique, engine direct-drive mode. The plug-in hybrid also uses regenerative braking to charge the battery.

In all-electric mode, the vehicle uses a 6kWh lithium-ion battery and a powerful 120 kW electric motor. The all-electric mode achieves a range of approximately 10-15 miles in city driving and a top speed of 62 mph. Fully recharging the battery will take 3 to 4 hours using a 120-volt outlet and 1 to 1.5 hours using a 240-volt outlet.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 26 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      It will be interesting to find out more, but this still could be a clutched ISG (IMA in Honda-speak) with a second, larger motor in line in addition to the ISG?

      The competitor to watch out for is not Honda, but Ford. Their Gen3 HEV and PHEV with lithium batteries will be in production in 2012. Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant will have the capability to produce gasoline, HEV, PHEV, and BEV's on the same flexible line in whatever mix the customers are demanding. Ford hasn't released a lot of details yet, but they have been in a mode of "underpromise and overdeliver" lately, and it seems to be working.

      Hopefully we'll know more as the manufacturers roll out the products they will be showing at the North American International Auto Show. If the Honda PHEV is there, they should have more technical details available.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Well, it sounds like it could be alright. It really depends on the price. I still think it's going to be very difficult to sell PHEVs that aren't EREVs (don't have any useful zero-emissions range). The argument that you can do without gas doesn't apply and so you only have the gas savings to sell it by and if people do the math on the gas savings, they'll find they probably are better off just buying a non-PHEV Prius.

      I'm not saying the vehicle doesn't have a use, it just doesn't really have a hook and I think that'll make it difficult to sell to a customer.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The Focus gets 40mpg highway with a 2 litre DI engine, this has the same with atkinson cycle and hybrid so should be hitting 45 mpg combined minimum, along with 4,000 electric miles a year (340 charges) and should be putting out something like 250hp

        This would be a single vehicle which you could commute without using any oil during the week, then use a few gallons on weekend trips and should mean the owner uses about 250 gallons a year

        • 4 Years Ago
        It has 10-15 miles of electric range on level ground and at less than highway speeds.

        Unless you baby this thing, the gas engine will turn on before 10 miles, even if it shuts right back off after.

        A 6kW pack is terribly small for this thing, unless they have a special pack with higher power density, they're going to have low performance on electricity only. Kind of like a Prius, but not as bad.
        • 4 Years Ago
        What about Brake Regen while in electric mode, this may extend the electric miles as well.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It makes more sense to use electricity to displace 'city' miles as they tend to be closer to more people and generally vehicles get much lower city mpg than highway.

        I assume Honda are smart enough to have a battery that can power the motor enough to make it useful.

        The 1.4 kWh battery of current hybrids can put out ~30kW, so 120kW for a 6kWh battery should be no problem.
        • 4 Years Ago
        10-13 miles of electric range, and then MPG that is mediocre in the shadow of what the Prius can achieve makes for a pretty unappealing package.

        If the MPG was good ( as in the case with the Prius ), well, that's sort of forgiveable. But i doubt it.

        They can only win on price and brand image alone ( which has been eroding ... ), unless Honda has some vastly improved hybrid technology they haven't been telling us about.

        ( yeah right...! )
        • 4 Years Ago
        It's got 10-15 miles of electric range, which is fine for Europe and the Far East.
        Even for the US the marginal utility of that range is very high, as the cost is lower than a 40-mile range car, and you would use all of it every day, whereas you might not go 40 miles minimum each and every day and so not get the most use out of your expensive battery pack.
        As an insurance policy it also works, as an awful lot of people would be able to do at least their essential mileage oil-free, and so in the event of oil supply disruption would be secure.
        That security is worth good money, if it means potentially making sure you can keep your job.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "The Fit EV will be powered by a lithium-ion battery and coaxial electric motor. The high-density motor, **derived from the FCX Clarity fuel cell electric vehicle**, delivers excellent efficiency and power while remaining quiet at high speeds."

      LOL! At least they got something useful out of that big Honda fuel cell program!
      • 4 Years Ago
      If internet converters are correct, this 120 kW electric motor is the equivalent to 160 HP. That's a Big Improvement from the 15 hp Insight.

      What are the dimensions of that battery? Can it be dropped into an Insight?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Oh and i'll be nice. People also associate GM cars with being good until 1970.
        • 4 Years Ago
        That is, unless you are okay topping out at < 10mph up a hill. lol
        • 4 Years Ago
        Thanks, I guess.
        That mean's I'll have to wait for an after market solution.
        If that ever happens...
        • 4 Years Ago
        haha, dimensions be damned, if it's gonna power a 120kw motor, the pack is gonna run at a massively higher voltage than the insight's, so that's a problem right off the top.

        The other problem would be programming the Insight IMA to make use of all that battery power.

        I didn't know the Insight only had 15hp.. if that's true, that's pretty sad and it looks like the car really has no potential as a plug-in version until the motor + controller + etc is upgraded.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "The Honda two-motor system continuously moves through three different modes to maximize driving efficiency: all-electric, gasoline-electric and a unique, engine direct-drive mode."

      Interesting.

      To take it even further and with the right programming the car's computer can take in a lot of information and adjust accordingly for maximum efficiency: Some of the inputs could be:
      -- driver's habits (i.e. aggressive, conservative)
      -- driver's typical routes
      -- forecast temperature and winds for the day
      -- traffic
      -- the day's planned routing


      The words "continuously moves through" hints that this may be a more advanced system than what we've seen in the plug in Prius (although I don't actually expect the Honda system will go as far as to "learn" the inputs I listed above)


        • 4 Years Ago
        In my view the one to watch in the US will be the plug-in version of the Hyundai hybrid, and in Europe that and the Peugeot 3008 plug-in.
        By 2014 there should be some awesome choices out there.
        I am wondering if Nissan will do a plug-in too, which would be 'interesting!'
      • 4 Years Ago
      It'll be interesting to learn more details. It does sound like they've ditched the IMA, but if they have what will it be that will compete with Toyota's system?
      I like the idea of a PHEV with a 10-20 mile range. The battery pack size and cost should be reasonable. The only problem I see is the inconvenience of plugging in, so hopefully that can be automated.
      Here in Arizona our nighttime electricity rate is only around 6 cents per kwh, so it makes sense to make use of it. And from a green perspective, they've gotta keep those power plants stoked up at night anyway.
      Learning the driver's routes makes sense, the battery pack could be depleted upon arriving home. Or, you could have a switch that would allow the driver to signal when to start letting the battery run down.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Hm, this should be interesting.

      Nice to see that there will be a competitor for the plug-in Prius. Maybe it'll be lower priced, a la Honda Insight?

      I hope they improved their IMA this time around. Look - i might talk a lot of trash about Honda, but if they came out with some great powertrains again, i'd probably be first in line to buy one.
        • 4 Years Ago
        If it can operate in all electric mode, that means they've ditched IMA. Huzzah!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Honda said (and I believe continues to say) that both Insights can operate in "all electric mode", in which case the electric motor is the only thing that is being used to propel the vehicle, but the ICE is hanging on its back like a monkey, robbing it of what little horsepower it has in the first place.

        Just sayin'.
        • 4 Years Ago
        That would be nice, but i think it's reasonable to be a little skeptical here.

        It needs to run in some sort of hybrid mode when the electric juice has ran out.
        My guess is that they will have the same ol IMA, maybe a little improved ( but not up to the Prius' level ).

        But the car may win some people on price alone. Look at what they're doing with the Insight, they priced it below the Prius; and now they have an even cheaper stripped down model. I have a feeling they will do the same with the Accord plug-in; undercut the plug-in Prius somewhat.

        Who knows how the car will perform right now, but what's important is that different companies are finally starting to compete for a car like this. It means that the price can only go down down down :)
        • 4 Years Ago
        nottoosmart: orly!! that sounds good. Maybe there is hope!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Rather than being a competitor to the Prius, this motorcar is aimed directly at Chevrolet Volt buyers... and if it is sold for less than a Volt, but is imbued with typical Honda quality, then GM will be in trouble.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Jeff - I dunno if it's exactly aimed at the Volt, but you are right.

        I think people are MUCH more willing to take a risk on a cutting edge Honda product than a GM one.

        I mean Honda, to this day, is still known for stellar reliability. GM? people associate that more with rental cars and lawn ornaments..
        • 4 Years Ago
        An Atkinson cycle engine with an ECVT. Sounds like Toyota hybrid technology.

        http://www.greencarcongress.com/2010/12/honda-20101220.html#more
        • 4 Years Ago
        Stubborn Honda finally has abandoned the impotent IMA. All Honda hybrids with IMA have sold poorly than Toyota's Synergy system, despite the Insight available on sale earlier than Prius. Having lost the hybrid momentum to Toyota for over 10 years, Honda is finally acknowledging its mistake using the IMA.

        Better late than never. This whole episode shows Honda's stupidity, stubborness, and stonewalling can waste too much time and money.
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