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Honda Provides Additional Details on New Small Hybrid Vehicle

Honda provided additional details regarding its new small hybrid scheduled for introduction in early 2009, as part of Honda Motor Co., Ltd. CEO Takeo Fukui’s mid-year address. An official name and full product details will be announced later this year.

In addition to weight reduction, Honda is targeting a significant cost reduction in Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) components that will result in what it characterizes as the most affordable hybrid vehicle to date. This dedicated hybrid vehicle will be offered as a 5-door hatchback with seating for five passengers and will employ an exterior design concept that evokes the FCX Clarity fuel cell vehicle. Along with the Civic Hybrid, the new vehicle will be produced at an expanded IMA production line at Honda’s Suzuka factory in Japan.

Taking advantage of reductions in the size of components, the battery and the internal processing unit will be positioned below the rear cargo area, allowing the hatchback design to provide adequate cargo space to meet the needs of a family. Additionally, various technologies, including a function to assist more fuel efficient driving, are being installed to achieve a further improvement of practical fuel efficiency.

The new small gasoline/electric hybrid vehicle will have expected annual global sales of 200,000 units per year—approximately 100,000 of which are bound for the North American market. Following this launch, Honda also plans to introduce another unique small hybrid vehicle based on the CR-Z sports car first shown at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show as well as a Fit hybrid model. Including the Civic Hybrid, these four hybrid vehicles are expected to reach combined annual global sales of approximately 500,000 units.

The new hybrid will be produced at a newly developed second IMA production line at Honda’s Suzuka factory, which currently produces the Civic Hybrid. With the second line in operation and improvements in IMA production efficiency, hybrid production capacity at Suzuka will increase from 70,000 vehicles per year to approximately 250,000 units, with future expansion possible if needed.

Comments

sola

Ambitious targets.

Healthy Breaze

The FCX Clarity body just looks like a more streamlined Civic. It doesn't make much sense for weight reduction? Why not use a Honda Fit body?

GreenPlease

The FXC is an extremely aerodyanmic body which helps with highway fuel economy (a place where hybrids don't excel). Saving weight would help with city fuel economy (where hybrids excel).

I'm going to predict 55-60mpg for this new hybrid.

richard schumacher

Honda hybrids will continue to suffer from a huge disadvantage, namely the use of a conventional transmission. The power-split devices used by Toyota, Ford and Nissan have superior efficiency, reliability, and performance.

"highway fuel economy (a place where hybrids don't excel)"? My Prius like many consistently gets 51 MPG at 65 MPH.

Patrick

Richard,

Your Prius is also very aerodynamic.

Compare something that has a non-hybrid analogue: Toyota Camry and Nissan Altima both hybrid and 4 cylinder versions get very close highway gas mileage ratings while the city ratings in the hybrid are significantly better than the non-hybrid 4 cylinder.

realarms

actually, the transmission efficiency (mechanical power in / out) of a manual is unsurpassed. dct transmissions with 7 or 8 gears could combine the high efficiency (97-98%) and low cost of manual transmissions with the comfort of an automatic transmission. such a parallel setup would have higher mechanical efficiency than the ths...

but it's now the 11th year after introduction of the prius, and real full hybids, which are equally good in city driving, efficiencym highway, electric only mode as the prius are still non-existant (apart from ford and nissan, who licenced ths).

T2

So despite Toyota selling 20k Prius to Honda's 4k or so Civic Hybrids, Honda is to stay with the IMA ?

I'm with Richard on the poor efficacy of mating the internal combustion engine together with a conventional manual transmission when compared to Toyota's elegant HSD method.

@realarms where are you getting these 97%-98% efficiency figures for manual transmissions ?
FWD more like 80-85%.

A RWD hypoid differential is 70% by itself, which is why Cerberus is curtailing future production of some RWD models because of the mileage hit.

If those 8 ratio gearboxes have 8 sets of constantly meshed gears, then that's still a lot of oil needlessly being churned even though the engine may now be turning more slowly at high speed. I just can't see anything like 97% overall at full power. And what do those fixed losses do to the efficiency at the more usual 10Hp highway cruising levels ?

The Prius suffers because it uses a 3 stage reducer from the HSD to the wheels with an estimated 82% efficiency according to U. of Michigan study.
IMO if they could accomplish that 4.113(Gen II Prius) ratio from the HSD's planetary ring directly on to the differential gear, assuming that was physically possible, things would look a lot brighter for the Prius' highway cruising figures.
T2

Sasparilla

It would seem there would be a great deal of market overlap between this new vehicle and the Civic Hybrid (the Clarity looks very similar in size), although with the current price of gas I think they'll sell all they can make.

Its disappointing to see Honda not migrating to a drive concept that lends itself easily to plug in use.

Michael G.R.

"ts disappointing to see Honda not migrating to a drive concept that lends itself easily to plug in use."

My thought exactly. I truly was expecting a full parallel hybrid.

Raymond

I think people forget that the Hybrid Synergy Drive system is still very expensive to make, mostly due to the cost of the drivetrain components. Honda's IMA is not only much easier to manufacture, but it also can use engines already in production (the Civic Hybrid sedan uses a modified version of the 1.3-liter engine used on the JDM Honda Fit that adds engine shutdown capability for the hybrid application).

I see the new Honda hybrid family car essentially based on the same platform used by the European Honda Civic hatchback, powered by the L15A i-VTEC engine (rated at 117 bhp SAE 08/04 net) from the second-generation Fit and an upgraded 40 bhp electric motor in an IMA drivetrain that uses a CVT automatic transmission.

toyo

"I think people forget that the Hybrid Synergy Drive system is still very expensive to make, mostly due to the cost of the drivetrain components. Honda's IMA is not only much easier to manufacture, but it also can use engines already in production (the Civic Hybrid sedan uses a modified version of the 1.3-liter engine used on the JDM Honda Fit that adds engine shutdown capability for the hybrid application).

I see the new Honda hybrid family car essentially based on the same platform used by the European Honda Civic hatchback, powered by the L15A i-VTEC engine (rated at 117 bhp SAE 08/04 net) from the second-generation Fit and an upgraded 40 bhp electric motor in an IMA drivetrain that uses a CVT automatic transmission."

----------

I think that you're forgetting Toyota's targets of cutting the weight of the HSD system in half, the size in half, and the cost of it in half. Based on the current rumours out there, it sounds as if Toyota may have achieved their goals with the gen 3 Prius. If they indeed have cut the cost, size, and weight in half, then any advantages Honda's IMA system may have had in cost effectiveness and small size now disappear.

Yes, Honda's IMA can use engines already in production ... and your point is? Toyota's HSD is a flexible system which can not only be combined with *any* of their production engines, it can be combined with fuel cells or other power sources. The gen II Prius uses a 1.5L engine found in plenty of other Toyota vehicles, but it's simply tuned differently in the Prius.

T2

I wish Honda would supply the Civic in NA with the 1.3L engine and abandon this IMA travesty. The 1.8L was real smooth on my test drive, but I would take the 1.3L Civic with 6-spd Manual in a heartbeat the way gas prices are going.
That 40Hp IMA. If you are going to all the expense of mounting a 900rpm base speed machine on the crankshaft then you may as well use it to drive the wheels directly and bypass the CVT. Or my 35years in variable speed drives was wasted. What people don't seem to understand is that once an electrical machine is above base speed and operating in its 'constant power mode' the changinging gear ratio afforded by the CVT is irrelevant. On the other hand a constant torque machine like an internal combustion engine needs such a device to make it useable ( to improve its efficacy, that is).

RE the Prius, I've not heard any details of these cost reduction rumours only CEO prognostications.
Let me start my own.
First remount MG2 lower down so that its pinion can mate directly 10:1 with the final differential's gear. Requiring MG2 to more than double its base speed in this way should enable its size to be cut in half.

Chain drive from PSD ring gear to a sprocket mounted on the final differential shaft with the original 1:4.113 ratio. Knocks out both the counter drive and the counter driven intermediary shafts.

Finally mount MG1 on the other side of the PSD which is now vacant. This will avoid the necessity to have the engine crankshaft extend through the hollow shaft of MG1 so that it can reach the planetary carrier on the remote side.
Any comments ?
T2

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