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2014 Honda Accord PHEV EPA-certified at 115 MPGe, on sale 15 Jan with MSRP of $39,780; LEV3/SULEV20 compliance

2014_Honda_Accord_PHEV_190_
2014 Accord PHEV. Click to enlarge.

Although Honda’s presence at the Los Angeles Auto Show was dominated by the debut of the 2013 Civic, the company also announced that the 2014 Accord Plug-In Hybrid, featuring Honda’s new two-motor system (earlier post) earned an EPA-certified 115 MPGe rating and will go on sale in New York and California on 15 January with an MSRP of $39,780.

Separately, the Accord Hybrid, also featuring Honda’s new two-motor hybrid system, will launch nationwide next summer with anticipated fuel economy ratings of 49/45/47 city/hwy/combined (4.8/5.2/5.0 l/100km respectively). The revised 2013 Honda Crosstour and 2013 Honda CR-Z also made their auto-show debuts.

With its EPA rating of 115 MPGe, the Accord Plug-In Hybrid surpasses plug-in-class competitors including the Ford C-Max Energi (100 MPGe), Chevy Volt (98 MPGe), and Prius Plug-in (95 MPGe). The 2014 Accord Plug-in has been rated by the EPA with a maximum all-electric EV mode range of 13 miles (21 km) (Honda had earlier projected 10 to 15 miles), and a fuel-economy rating of 47/46/46 mpg city/hwy/combined (5.0/5.1/5.1 l/100km respectively).

The 2014 Accord Plug-in Hybrid is powered by Honda’s first two-motor hybrid system, and uses a new Earth Dreams i-VTEC 2.0-liter 4-cylinder Atkinson-cycle gasoline engine producing 137 hp (102 kW) at 6200 rpm, teamed with a 124 kW electric motor. Electric driving is supported by a 6.7 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, and total system output is 196 hp (146 kW).

The Accord Plug-in is also the first production car in America to meet the more stringent new LEV3/SULEV20 emissions standard (earlier post), and it will also qualify for single-occupant carpool-lane access in California.

The new California LEV III standards are designed to force the reduction of fleet average emissions of new passenger cars (PCs), light-duty trucks (LDTs) and medium-duty passenger vehicles (MDPVs) to super ultra-low-emission vehicle (SULEV) levels by 2025. (This corresponds to US EPA Tier 2 Bin 2.)

The California Air Resources Board proposed proposed three additional light-duty vehicle emission standards (ULEV70, ULEV50, and SULEV20) to which manufacturers may certify their vehicles when meeting the fleet average emission requirement. The numerical part of the standard category, such as 20 in SULEV20, refers to the emission standard, in thousandths of a gram per mile. I.e., SULEV20 represents NMOG+NOx emission standards of 0.020 g/mi.

Unlike the unique styling of the Accord Plug-In, the Accord Hybrid will share styling much closer the conventional Accord Sedan. More details on the Accord Hybrid will be released closer to launch.

Comments

Engineer-Poet

Rats, not available in all 50 states.

HarveyD

Very interesting low fuel consumption mid-size PHEV. It will be very popular in Singapore with their aggressive malus-bonus program.

The current high price will drop with the USA 5-5-5 battery program.

Dave R

If this had 20+ EV mile range and was priced $5k lower MSRP, it'd be a lot more appealing.

At least the recharge time on L2 is quick - less than an hour - that also means that Honda is only using about 1/2-2/3 the 6.7 kWh battery. They must really be worried about longevity of the battery pack to use that little of the pack.

When will it hit the market?

SJC

The Volt, Fusion Energi and this are all $40,000. This will test the market to see if tree huggers have deep pockets.

Roger Pham


@SJC,
Not necessarily deep pocket, but simply having a calculator in the pocket!
$40,000 - $3700 tax credit = $36,300, then minus fuel saving of ~$7,000 every 5 years means that for the first 5 yrs, owning a PHEV is the equivalent of paying for a ~$29,000 gasoline car. Then, in the next 5 years, owning a PHEV is the equivalent of paying for a $22,000 gasoline car. I have not touched the savings in brake, engine, and transmission maintenance and repair, but, the battery pack will have to be replaced eventually, every 5-10 yrs. If battery will keep going down in cost, then, owning a PHEV will be more and more of a financial winner!

At $400/kWh of current price of LiFePO4 battery, a 6.7 kWh pack will cost $2700. This is well under the maintenance costs of brakes, engine, and transmission for the life of the battery pack!

Kit P

“This is well under the maintenance costs of brakes, engine, and transmission for the life of the battery pack! ”

Really! I think Roger is just making things up. Again!

Roger still does not understand PHEV runs on an ICE with the same maintenance schedule as the same car with only a battery to start it.

HarveyD

Good points Roger. This type of PHEVs is a good compromise, at least till about 2020 or until affordable long range EVs with improved batteries become available. An initial price of $40K is high but becomes competitive with grants and fuel savings over 5+ years, specially with fuel above $5/gal.

Kit P may break down and buy a $5 calculator soon.

Under manufacturers (Toyota, GM, Ford, Hyundai etc) will have to improve their PHEVs to compete with this one. They will certainly do.

SJC

"If battery will keep going down in cost,.."

That is an assumption that could be made with EVs as well. After 5 years and 100,000 miles of commuting the owner saves $10,000 in fuel costs but the battery pack costs that much.

Kit P

@Harvey
“Kit P may break down and buy a $5 calculator soon. ”

I started out doing engineering calculations with a slide rule but was one of the first to have a an HP-35. Unless you are over 60 and an engineer you do not know what I mean. Today my PC at work and home both have a scientific calculator.

A funny thing happened at work the other day. Dr. J asked me where a number came from in my write up to answer some questions for the regulators. I said I subtracted this number from that number. He looked at me in disbelief that I could do an engineering calculation in my head.

So how much money can I save if my short trips use electricity? I only use my old beater for short local trips like going to work. For longer trips we use my wife's Corolla. For short trips, I use $ 600 of gas of $3000 in five hears.

That is the logic trap of BEV. It is basically a second car. You do not need to spend $40k on a car for short trips. It is a free country and expensive cars goes with the territory. It is transparent that claiming a car is 'green' is justification for self-indulgence.

Roger Pham

The cost of maintenance and repair of an ICEV may vary greatly, depending on makes and what type of garage or whether repaired at home.

However, the take-home message is that short trips with many cold starts and frequent idling can significantly shorten the life of an engine. An engine operated under "severe" condition like short trips with cold starts, and prolonged idling may last well under 100,000 miles, while the same engine when used for longer trips and no idling can last ~200,000 miles. Most engine wear happens at cold starts and idling.
A PHEV can eliminate short trips and idling, thus, can double the engine's mileage for all the miles driven under engine power. Now, if a PHEV would use the engine for only 1/2 to 1/4 of the time mainly with longer trips, then the engine would practically need no service except oil change every 10,000 miles of actual engine power using synthetic oil. A PHEV that uses engine power for only 1/4th of the mileage would only need an oil change every 40,000 miles. Designs like Ford and Toyota HEV's have no transmission and hence need no transmission service nor repair.

A PHEV is good for both short and long trips, with very long ranges of 500-600 miles between fillups. Resale value for a PHEV will be much higher than a typical ICEV because the engine will be like-new, and there is no expensive transmission repair nor brakes repair to worry about in the future. A worn-out battery pack may reduce its range in all-electric mode, but will still work fine in the HEV charge-sustaining mode for the rest of the car's life. Battery will get cheaper and cheaper...may be not as dramatic as the 5/5/5 projection, but 2/2/5 is very likely. A 2/2/5 will quadruple the cost-effectiveness of current batteries within 5 years!

Engineer-Poet

Actually, the Ford and Toyota HEVs do have transmissions.  What they don't have are clutches or shifting.

Kit P

@Roger

“short trips with many cold starts and frequent idling can significantly shorten the life of an engine ”

You still do not understand. It is a simple concept if you think about it. I start my car twice a day to commute 10 miles to work. If you drive 40 miles to work, the same engine wear occurs. The difference is that after 10 years I have 50k miles on the engine and you have 200k miles.

What I do for the around town beater car is buy one that already has 200k for a low cost. If needs a costly repair, the car goes to the Goodwill for a tax deduction. In other words, I am not too worried about engine life.

You can not have it both ways. Short trips and high miles. That is what Roger does not understand. BEV need to sit idle while the batteries are being changed.

“frequent idling can significantly shorten the life of an engine ”

What does that do to batteries?

“using synthetic oil ”

You still need to change the the oil once a year. I looked it up on wiki. The definition of insanity is spending $40k on a car then trying to save money on oil changes. Roger you are truly stupid.

What I do not have to worry about is expensive batteries. I do not have to worry about resale because I keep cars forever. The resale on my beater is the same as I bought it. It stopped deprecating 15 years ago. The resale on my Corolla is very good too. That is why we bought a new one. Since we did a good job buying a reliable car, we do not care about resale. We will just keep it.

Now if anyone can show me a five year old car $40k new selling for $35K, that would be an example of good resale. The reality is that $40k new rapidly approach the value of a Civic or Corolla. People are looking for reliability not overpriced gadgets or sunroofs that leak and no longer retract.

The lesson is that PHEV are a poor compromise between an around town beater and a car that can make long trips in reasonable comfort.

SJC

A PHEV/EREV like a Fusion Energi/Volt might save $1000 per year on fuel then $200 on tune ups and brake jobs, but taking the car in for a day to be serviced has an intangible cost.

If people only have to take their car in once a year instead of 2-3 times per year, that makes a difference. Make a PHEV/EREV cordless charging in your garage and you might have a winner.

Roger Pham

Kit P stated:
>>>"You still need to change the the oil once a year. I looked it up on wiki. The definition of insanity is spending $40k on a car then trying to save money on oil changes. Roger you are truly stupid."

Have you heard of an oil-life monitoring system? Consider the following quote from Edmund.com:

"Until recently, the question of when to change your oil was usually answered by your local garage, which had a vested interest in servicing your car every 3,000 miles. Your alternative was to crack the owner's manual to see whether your driving habits fell into the "severe" or "normal" category. And then you'd let the listed interval be your frequency guide.

But increasingly, the change-interval question is being answered by a vehicle's oil life monitoring system, which signals the driver through the instrument panel. This alert usually arrives anywhere between 5,000 and 8,000 miles.

So how does the system know when it's time for a change? Electronic sensors throughout the drivetrain send information about engine revolutions, temperature and driving time to the car's computer. The data is run through a mathematical algorithm that predicts when the oil will begin to degrade. The light comes on well in advance, giving the owner time to get the car serviced.

Oil life monitoring systems have been around for several decades. They were introduced in General Motors vehicles in the late 1980s and have been phased in slowly, said Matt Snider, project engineer in GM's Fuels and Lubricants Group. "We are very confident in the accuracy of the system," he said. The average recommendation from the system for GM vehicles is 8,500 miles, Snider said. He said that the longest oil change interval he was personally aware of was 17,000 miles in a colleague's car. For 2010 vehicles, 14 of 35 manufacturers use oil life monitoring systems.

Real-World Evidence
The oil life monitoring system in a 2007 Honda Fit Sport owned by an Edmunds.com editor signaled for an oil change at 5,500 miles, due to a lot of around-town driving. Later, under highway conditions, the system (which Honda calls a "maintenance minder") came on at 7,600 miles. Clearly, the system had detected different driving conditions and adjusted accordingly.

When we had the oil changed, we captured a sample and sent it to Blackstone Laboratories. Showing the conservative nature of the oil life sensors, the analysis showed the oil had at least 2,000 miles of life left in it.

A long-term 2008 Pontiac G8 GT driven by Edmunds went 13,000 miles before the monitoring system indicated the need for an oil change. We also sent a sample of that oil to a lab for analysis. The result: The oil could actually have safely delivered at least another 2,000 miles of service. "With an oil life system, we can use the software to tailor an oil drain interval to the behavior of a certain customer," Snider said.

Freed From the Schedules
Perhaps the best thing about oil life monitoring systems is that they free car owners from the confusing exercise of slotting themselves in the normal or severe driving schedules listed in the owner's manual. Severe conditions are described differently by various carmakers, but some "severe" conditions that they frequently cite are driving in stop-and-go traffic, towing, excessive idling and driving in the mountains."

See the following link for further details:
http://www.edmunds.com/car-care/oil-life-monitoring-systems.html

Notice that the oil-life monitoring system uses the actual time the engine is used plus the condition that the engine was run to determine the oil life, NOT how long the oil has been sitting without use. Synthetic oil is much more resistant to degradation, plus the modern use of ultra-low sulfur fuel and very low NOx combustion system and the ultra-tight piston-ring seal of modern cars eliminating blow-by gases, and the lack of cold starts in a PHEV, means that there is nothing that can get to the oil pan to cause oil degradation.

A PHEV can use warmed coolant that soaked up heat from the battery and the motor to warm up the engine prior to an engine start before exhaustion of the battery's energy, thus, can avoid cold engine start.

First GM, the Toyota, then Ford, and now Honda have worked hard to offer us consumers the wonderful PHEV's that offer so much more reliability, freedom from petroleum dependency, and cost-effectiveness when putting all the expenses together...We all should be very excited to see a new chapter being opened in automotive technology!

You do realize that people pay extra hefty premiums to obtain more reliable cars that will save them from down time and the inconvenience of having to take the car to the shop. A PHEV offers just that kind of increase in reliability, in having two propulsion means in one vehicle, plus much more cool factors such as V2G, and ECOlogical status etc for FREE...WITH significant savings in automotobile-related expenses. Should be a great bargain for everyone!

Kit P

@Roger

All very interesting but I have never found getting the oil changed a particular hardship.

“You do realize that people pay extra hefty premiums to obtain more reliable cars that will save them from down time and the inconvenience of having to take the car to the shop. ”

I understand people make poor choices. In point of fact, it would be impossible to beat the reliability of our 89 Ranger or 07 Corolla. It is the KISS principle. I suspect that there is a $2 premium for a Corolla compared to the cheapest 5 passenger car.

At $15k premium, I see no reason to think a PHEV will be more reliable.

“ECOlogical status etc for FREE ”

No, it cost you $15k. We bought a passenger car not a status symbol.

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