Honda Motor Co. CEO, Takanobu Ito, outlined the product, technology and business developments and direction planned to drive Honda’s growth by fiscal year 2017; among these are a plan to introduce three hybrid systems, Ito said. Each system will possess unique characteristics and their deployment will reflect varying customer needs.
First, Honda will further develop its lightweight and compact one-motor hybrid system (IMA) with the aim of achieving leading fuel economy among all hybrid vehicles. Improvements in motor output and battery performance, coupled with 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. The 2014 Accord plug-in currently features 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 kilowatt-hour (kWh) lithium-ion battery pack, and total system output is 196 hp (146 kW). The total system output surpasses that of the Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid (134 hp), Chevrolet Volt (149 hp) and projected output of the Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid. (Earlier post.)
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, Acura RLX Sport Hybrid model and the successor model of Legend which will be introduced in Japan in 2014. (Earlier post.)
Ito said that Honda will continue its efforts to develop full batter-electric EV models with which Honda will strive to realize further market penetration of EVs. Ito also said that 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. This model will be introduced to Japan, USA and Europe.
Ito said that Honda will further advance its “Earth Dreams Technology” through the improvement of internal combustion components including the engine, along with the transmission, and also through advancement of electromotive technologies applied to motors and other components.
For gasoline-powered vehicles, Honda will continue developing internal combustion engines which will increase fuel economy to what Ito called “the ultimate level”. Honda will adopt the newly-developed engine series first to the all-new 2013 Accord, and will continue to adopt it sequentially to other models.