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Honda develops new compact one-motor hybrid system; joins two-motor and three-motor systems in new hybrid systems lineup

The three Honda SPORT HYBRID systems. Click to enlarge.

Honda Motor Co., Ltd. has developed a new lightweight and compact one-motor hybrid system optimized for small-sized vehicles: the Intelligent Dual Clutch Drive system. This new hybrid system will be the latest addition to the Earth Dreams Technology series of next-generation powertrain technology (replacing the current IMA hybrid system), and was previewed by Honda Motor Co. CEO Takanobu Ito in September. (Earlier post.)

The new Intelligent Dual Clutch Drive will join the two-motor hybrid system optimized for mid-sized vehicles (earlier post) (Intelligent Multi Mode Drive) and three-motor hybrid system optimized for large-sized vehicles enabling independent control of torque distribution to both right and left rear wheels (Super Handling - All Wheel Drive, SH-AWD) (earlier post) to constitute the lineup of three different Honda hybrid systems, each accommodating different vehicle characteristics.

Honda said it will continue expanding the application of these hybrid systems—all labeled SPORT HYBRID systems—based on vehicle characteristics.

One-motor Intelligent Dual Clutch Drive. This drive unit combines a newly developed inline 4-cylinder 1.5-liter Atkinson cycle engine with a 7-speed Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) system with a built-in high-output motor and a Lithium-Ion battery to improve efficiency by more than 30% compared to a conventional one-motor hybrid system. Features include:

  • The combination of the one-motor hybrid system and the engine realizes sporty driving during acceleration and high-speed cruising by using the clutches to engage the engine.

  • Electric vehicle (EV) driving is realized during startup and low- to medium-speed cruising by using the clutches to disengage the engine.

  • This system contributes to the improvement of fuel efficiency by increasing energy regeneration using the clutches to disengage the engine during deceleration.

Two-motor Intelligent Multi Mode Drive / Plug-in. This hybrid system realizes the world's highest efficiency—according to Honda research—by combining a newly-developed engine dedicated to hybrid vehicles coupled with two built-in motors and a lock-up clutch, along with a Lithium-ion battery, and by optimally switching the driving mode among three different profiles depending on the driving situation.

This hybrid system, which is also suitable as a plug-in hybrid system, will be available in the North American version of the 2014 Honda Accord Plug-in, scheduled to be introduced to the market in January 2013. The system switches the operation among the following three driving modes depending on driving conditions and the battery charge level:

  • “EV Drive” for driving by the electric motor only, using electricity from the battery and regeneration during deceleration.

  • “Engine Drive” for medium-to high-speed cruising with the engine and axle directly connected by a lock-up clutch, with engine power mechanically transferred to the wheels.

  • “Hybrid Drive” for urban driving and powerful acceleration using the motor with electricity generated by the engine.

Three-motor SH-AWD. The combination of a V-6 engine and this high-output three-motor system realizes acceleration performance equivalent to that of a V-8 engine with fuel efficiency better than that of an inline 4-cylinder engine. A new direct-injected 3.5-liter V-6 engine is installed in the front of the vehicle and combined with a newly-developed 7-speed DCT system with a built-in motor. This unique Honda technology uses two electric motors installed in the rear to control torque distribution to the right and left rear wheels.

Using independent motors for the right and left rear wheels, positive torque is applied to the outside wheel and negative torque is applied to the inside wheel, making independent control of torque distribution to the rear wheels possible without relying on engine output.

Depending on the radius of the curve, the energy generated by the inside wheel is recovered electrically and applied to the outside wheel to self-generate torque necessary for the vehicle to make the turn.



Good things that Honda is finally taking the hybrid technology seriously

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