A Few More Details about Honda’s Upcoming Plug-in Hybrid

By · June 08, 2011

Honda announced at last year’s L.A. auto show that it make and sell an all-electric Honda Fit, as well as a full-size sedan using plug-in hybrid technology. The Fit should make a fantastic platform for a pure EV, but we haven’t had many details about what the plug-in hybrid will look like, or its features. This week’s Automotive News fills in a few of those blanks, while leaving lots of questions unanswered.

For all the promise of plug-in hybrid technology—offering a lot of electric driving capabilities, but still providing driving range on par with an ICE car—there are only two competing designs: the Chevy Volt with a relatively large battery pack, and a Prius Plug-in Hybrid with a smaller pack and a blended approach to using electric and gas. The Honda system bears more resemblance to Toyota’s approach.

Here are a few snippets about Honda’s entry into the plug-in hybrid market.

Platform – Honda is currently using an Accord as a test platform. The Accord was modified with an aluminum hood as well as other unspecified weight reductions. The plug-in hybrid still weighs 330 pounds more than the gas version of the Accord.

Battery & Range – Its 6 kWh lithium ion battery pack is placed behind the back seat, and encroaches upon the truck space. It’s about the size of a “suitcase,” and currently configured to run up to 62 mph in all-electric mode for about 15 miles, which Honda believes will “satisfy about 70 percent of its users.”

System – The large sedan plug-in hybrid will use a two motor system (unlike Honda’s current single motor hybrid system). The traction motor is 120 kilowatts (compared to Volt’s 111 kW). It’s combined with a 2-liter four-cylinder engine and a CVT transmission.

Sales Target - According to Automotive News, Honda’s new larger two-motor hybrid system—which comes out first as a plug-in hybrid but will also be used on conventional hybrids as well—will help the company expand hybrid sales from its current 5 percent take rate, to around 10 percent of global sales by 2015.

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