LA PREVIEW: Honda to reveal plug-in hybrid Accord
The Accord PHEV will be sold only in top-spec 'Touring' form in the US market and therefore premium priced
American Honda has announced details of its rival for the Ford Fusion Energi, the 2014 Accord PHEV (plug-in electric vehicle).
The US division of the Japanese firm is the first to issue details of the new car, which it will begin selling in early 2013. Honda might also build an RHD version of the Accord PHEV for the Japanese market, especially as the car will be built at the Sayama plant. American Honda's other new-shape Accords are US-made.
The PHEV version of the Accord is powered by Honda's first two-motor hybrid system, and uses a new 2.0-litre i-VTEC four-cylinder engine producing 137 horsepower, teamed with a 124-kilowatt (kW) electric motor. Electric driving is supported by a 6.7 kilowatt-hour (kWh) lithium-ion (Li-Ion) battery, and total system output is 196 horsepower.
To maximize driving efficiency, the uniquely designed two-motor hybrid system allows the Accord PHEV powertrain to move seamlessly between all-electric EV Drive, gasoline-electric Hybrid Drive, and direct Engine Drive. Fuel efficiency for the 2014 Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid is expected to exceed 100 MPG-e, and it's also expected to receive an Enhanced AT-PZEV rating from the California Air Resources Board (CARB).
Accord PHEV drivers will be able to choose two additional driving modes to manage battery capacity and tailor the capabilities to their own commute. In its default upon start-up, the Accord PHEV acts as an EV and will continue in this mode until battery capacity necessitates the automatic switch to petrol/electric hybrid operation. At higher speeds or under high demand for acceleration, the gasoline engine can kick in to provide additional power.
In HV mode, the car becomes a conventional hybrid, blending motor power between gasoline and electric to maximize fuel efficiency while maintaining the battery charge level. In HV Charge mode, the Accord PHEV blends gasoline and electric power while also augmenting the battery charge level.
The Accord Plug-In Hybrid Sedan will feature an electric servo braking system similar to the setup on the Honda Fit EV, which allows for natural brake pedal feel, while extending the range over which the regenerative braking can take place.
The plug-in Accord can be fully charged from a low-charge indication point in under three hours using a standard 120-volt household electrical outlet, and in less than one hour using a 240-volt Level-2 charger. The free HondaLink EV smartphone application will allow owners to monitor the charging state of the Accord PHEV.
What sounds like an inherent weight penalty over the conventional Accord is addressed by some extravangent measures. Honda notes these features:
- All-aluminium front subframe
- 17-inch forged aluminium wheels
- Aluminium brake pedal
- Aluminium hood/bonnet
- Aluminium rear bumper beam
- Puncture repair kit instead of a spare wheel and tyre
The Accord Plug-in Hybrid will also serve as the basis for a conventional gasoline-electric version of the Accord Sedan, which will join the Honda Accord lineup in the northern hemisphere summer of 2013. That car would be a rival for the gasoline-electric versions of the Fusion and Toyota Camry in the US market.
Author: Glenn Brooks