|Honda CEO and President Takeo Fukui|
In his mid-year speech outlining Honda’s business plan for the next three years, President and CEO Takeo Fukui laid out the company’s major next-generation powertrain technology and fuel economy targets for automobiles, motorcycles, and power products.
Honda, said Fukui, is committed to addressing the three primary environmental needs facing society:
- Reducing regulated emissions to reduce air pollution and improve health.
- Reducing CO2 emissions via improved fuel efficiency to reduce the threat of global warming.
- Developing alternative energy sources, such as fuel cells, to address the future depletion of petroleum-based energy.
Until fuel cell technology, a next-generation power source, reaches the point of mass market use, internal combustion engines—including gasoline, gas-electric hybrid, natural gas and diesel—will remain the dominant power source of passenger vehicles for the next few decades. Honda believes that one of the most effective environmental protection efforts we can pursue at this moment is to improve the efficiency of internal combustion engines—which are the primary means to enable people to enjoy the freedom of mobility—in the effort to minimize CO2 emissions in the atmosphere.
|Automobile Fuel Economy Improvement Goals|
|Advanced VTEC||13% improvement vs. 2005 i-VTEC engine|
|Advanced VCM||11% improvement vs. 2005 Honda V6|
This year, Honda will complete the shift to its next-generation i-series engines for almost all models, representing approximately a 20% improvement in fuel economy over their predecessors.
During the next three years, Honda will further advance its VTEC technologies at the core of the i-series, introducing new technologies to control air intake with a continuously variable valve control system, and further advance existing VCM (Variable Cylinder Management) technology.
An advanced VTEC engine, scheduled to be introduced at the end of the period, will reduce pumping losses by controlling engine aspiration through continuously variable control over the amount of intake valve lift and phase of valve switchover timing. With innovative valve control and control of the length of the intake manifold, combustion efficiency will be increased by 13% compared to current i-VTEC engines.
Honda introduced VCM in 2003. By increasing flexibility in the number of cylinders that are cut off, further advancing variable valve systems and improving the performance of active control engine mounts, the advanced VCM technology should achieve an 11% improvement in fuel economy compared to a Honda V-6 engine.
Honda will apply these advanced VTEC and VCM technologies to mass-market products by the end of the three-year period and then expand them to other models as core automobile engine technologies to further improve fuel economy.
Hybrids. Honda will continue to enhance the efficiency of the its IMA hybrid drive to accompany improvements made on the internal combustion side. Aside from noting the recent announcement of the new hybrid powertrain for the upcoming refresh of the Civic hybrid (earlier post), however, Fukui set no quantitative goals for improvement, nor discussed the expansion of hybrid efforts to other platforms.
Natural Gas. Honda will continue to promote the sales of its CNG-fueled Civic GX. On a related application, Fukui noted that Honda has sold a total of 17,000 units of a household cogeneration unit that uses natural gas as well as LPG gas as a fuel to supply electricity and heat. Honda will begin pre-launch trial sales in the US this year, preparing for the official mass market introduction in the US next year.
Ethanol. Honda will introduce a FlexFuel car that accepts ethanol in any blend up to 100% before the end of 2006.
Fukui made no mention of new technology work on the diesel platform, although he did note the importance of diesel to the European market, and commented that the new Civic will offer a powertrain lineup that includes various fuel options including gasoline, diesel, hybrid, CNG and ethanol to meet the demands of regional markets.
|Honda Fit: Coming to N.A.|
He also noted that Honda will introduce the fuel-efficient Fit as an entry-level model in North America next spring, and added that Honda will further expand its product lineup to respond to increasing customer demands for vehicles with high fuel efficiency.
|Motorcycle Fuel Economy Improvement Goals|
|Super-low-friction engine||13% improvement vs. 2005|
|VCM for motorcycles||30% improvement vs. 2005|
Honda has been promoting the introduction of fuel injection systems and the replacement of 2-stroke engines with 4-stroke engines for all categories including scooters and small and large motorcycles, resulting in a 34% improvement in fuel economy compared to 1995 models.
The company is developing super-low-friction engines for the 100cc to 125cc class—the largest volume segment in the world. The low friction engine achieves improved combustion efficiency by introducing two spark plugs while friction is dramatically reduced. This new innovation improves the fuel economy by 13% compared to the level of 2005.
Honda has developed new VCM (Variable Cylinder Management) engines for large motorcycles. This VCM system achieves both excellent driving performance and fuel economy by freely controlling valves in four stages from 2-cylinder/2-valve to 4-cylinder/4-valve. With this new technology, Honda aims to improve the fuel economy of large motorcycle engines by 30% compared to the level of 2005.
Fuel cell motorcycle. Using the Honda FC stack technology developed for automobiles, the company plans to launch a fuel cell motorcycle model for lease by 2009.
|Power Products Fuel Economy Improvement Goals|
|Further STR Applications||15% improvement vs. 2005|
|High-expansion ratio engine||20% improvement vs. 2005|
Honda will continue to expand application of STR (Self-Tuning Regulator) technology through a series of engines, while continuing development of further engine advances.
The company is also developing a next-generation general-propose engine. This high expansion ratio engine has a mechanism to vary the intake/compression stroke, and expansion/emission stroke. This newly developed engine has already proved operational in the test lab. This innovative technology achieves an ideal Atkinson cycle and makes it possible to improve fuel economy by 20%.
Full text of speech