Published September 29, 2012
By Philippe Crowe
Honda has big plans on the hybrid and fuel cell front.
First, Honda has updated the sporty CR-Z hybrid with a range of improvements focusing on style and performance.
The car features a lithium-ion battery for the first time and a Plus Sport (S+) boost system to help the driver make the best use of the vehicle’s sporty performance.
The CR-Z’s 1.5-liter gas engine has been updated with changes to the variable valve timing system and Engine Control Unit (ECU). An anti-vibration knock sensor has been introduced and the material of the crankshaft has been upgraded. The peak power output has been increased from 112 horsepower to 119.4 horsepower.
The electric motor system has also been improved. The change from a Nickel-metal hybrid (Ni-MH) to a Lithium Ion battery has been accompanied by an increase in power from 10 kw to 15 kw.
Working in unison, the Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid system now delivers a combined output of 135 horsepower at 6,600 rpm and 140 pound-feet of torque. The 0-62 mph sprint time falls from 9.7 seconds to 9.0 and top speed is 124 mph. The combined consumption is 56.5 UK mpg (47 U.S. mpg).
To help the driver make the best use of this sporty performance, Honda has introduced a Plus Sport (S+) boost system. If the battery is more than 50 percent charged, the driver can activate this system using the S+ button on the steering wheel. When the accelerator is pressed the electric boost begins, delivering increased acceleration for up to ten seconds. A flashing gauge on the dashboard indicates when the system is active. S+ can be used in ECON, Normal or Sport modes.
New range of hybrid technologies
Honda firmly believes hybrid technology will play a critical role in the reduction of CO2 emissions. Honda intends to build on its hybrid expertise to introduce three new hybrid systems.
Each system will possess unique characteristics and their deployment will reflect varying customer needs. Firstly, Honda will further develop its lightweight and compact one-motor hybrid system with the aim of achieving No. 1 fuel economy among all hybrid vehicles. Improvements in motor output and battery performance and a newly developed transmission will help to extend the zero emission electric driving range.
Honda is also developing a new more powerful two-motor hybrid system for mid-size vehicles.
Finally, a highly efficient and high output 3-motor hybrid system, the Sport Hybrid SH-AWD (Super Handling All Wheel Drive) will focus on driving performance. This technology will be applied to the new NSX.
Honda believes this range of new hybrid technologies will deliver unrivaled driving performance and fuel economy.
Next generation Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle
Honda is also considering fuel cell electric vehicles as an option. It sees them as the ultimate environmentally-responsible technology and as such, has attempted to lead the industry in R&D and sales activity.
The introduction of the FCX Clarity in 2008, demonstrated Honda’s progress in this field.
Starting in 2015, Honda will launch an all-new fuel cell electric model which will showcase the significant technological advancements and cost reductions that Honda has accomplished since the launch of the FCX Clarity in 2008. This model will be introduced to Japan, U.S. and Europe.