Honda Plans Three New Hybrid Systems

Honda has big plans! The automaker is working on three new hybrid systems to be incorporated into a variety of models, including the range-topping NSX sports car Honda plans to revive.

Honda Motor Co. CEO, Takanobu Ito, today outlined the product, technology and business developments and direction that are planned to drive Honda’s growth by fiscal year 2017; with a range of new developments and technological advancements in automotive, energy and mobility products.

Honda hopes this will result in an increase in global customers by 60 percent from 23.9 million to 39 million.

Ito declared Honda firmly believes its expertise in hybrid technology and three hybrid systems being developed will play a critical role in the reduction of CO2 emissions. Each system will possess unique characteristics and their deployment will reflect varying customer needs.

Firstly, Honda will further develop its lightweight and compact one-motor hybrid system with the aim of achieving the best fuel economy among all hybrid vehicles, including those from Toyota.

This is not the first time Honda has said it would dominate, particularly with its Insight that from generation one to present never led to the level of market acceptance of the Prius. Perhaps Honda can do it this time around?

For its part, Honda says its goals will be met for the one-motor hybrid system by improvements in motor output and battery performance, coupled with a newly developed transmission to help extend zero emission electric driving range.

Honda is also developing a new more powerful two-motor hybrid system for mid-size vehicles.

Finally, a highly efficient and high output three-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.

Yes, this reconfirms the production of the Acura NSX that Honda reportedly plans for Ohio assembly within the next three years, and it further confirms reports it will actually be a hybrid.

Given the direction of world supercar makers facing looming efficiency mandates and wanting to stay competitive, and that Honda wants to return an Acura supercar to the market after a hiatus since 2005, Ito’s latest news could be seen as not too surprising.

But just the same, broad plans for hybridization across the lineup are positive developments for alternative energy advocates, and to them and everyone else listening, Ito says this range of new hybrid technologies will deliver unrivaled driving performance and fuel economy.

Ito also said Honda considers fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) to be the ultimate environmentally-responsible technology and as such, has attempted to lead the industry in R&D and sales activity. The introduction of the FCX Clarity in 2008, demonstrated Honda’s progress in this field.

Starting 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, the U.S. and Europe.

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  • John K.

    Sorry, I just don’t see the need, much less the benefit of H2 fuel celled vehicles offsetting their TOTAL cost. Or are these fuel cells to run off of NG or petroleum?

    We already have a national petroleum infrastructure, so a MA JOR cost of gasoline, diesels and HVs has already been paid for. We also have TONS of experience w/it.

    We already have a national NG infrastructure, so a MAJOR cost of NG/LNG/CNG vehicles and their HVs has already been paid for. We also have TONS of experience w/it. We can use this as well transition away from petroleum to electricity.

    We already have a national electricity infrastructure, the grid, so a MAJOR cost of PHVs, PHEVs, and EVs has already been paid for. We also have TONS of experience w/it. And pure e is our goal.

    Where’s the need for a “Hydrogen highway”??? We don’t have an existing national infrastructure for it and don’t have much experience with it.

    (I realize this article does NOT specify Honda’s FC’s fuel will be hydrogen, I’m just trying to understand any need for hydrogen — or even FCs — given how I think things should play out.)

  • Modern Marvel Fan

    I am glad that Honda will work on “performance” hybrid. I am actually tired of “hybrids” that are slow and handles terrible…

    Great for Honda.

  • Van

    I too think of fuel cells as fool cells, simply a diversionary tactic to avoid shifting from burning gasoline from foreign oil to “burning” electricity from domestic sources including NG, Hydro, Wind, and Nuclear.

    Hopefully Honda will be able to copy the Ford/Toyota power split device and not sacrifice too much efficiency in order to avoid patent infringement. The GM Volt clone sacrificed way too much (37 MPG when Ford will offer around 47 MPG). The AWD system seems similar to the Toyota/Lexus SUV hybrid system.

    So the question remains, will a larger motor and larger battery enable the one motor system to compete with Ford/Toyota? We all hope so!

  • Volume Van

    Will Honda specify what sort of Hybrid it is.


    They are selling 4 Partial Hybrid Models and all have low volume sales. Hope they move to Full Hybrids which has been used by Toyota, Ford, Hyundai.

    To be precise, Honda is not interested in selling Alternative Fuel Vehicles.

    That’s why they are selling Civic – CNG with a 8 K extra price tag over regular Civic. Imagine how much they will charge for Fuel Cell vehicle. In Brazil, there are tri-fuel vehicles (Gasoline, Ethanol, CNG) which costs only 1 K more.

    As for the Fuel Cell vehicles, they can even run on Methane, Methanol, so its not necessary to go to Hydrogen.

  • perfectapproach

    The need to develop for the future is ALWAYS needed. And let’s face it: It may not be necessary now, but eventually, fuel-cell-based portable electricity generation will be the way to go. Maybe not now, maybe not in the near future, but eventually, fossil fuels will run out. Eventually. And I’m glad to see someone researching technology that nearly eliminates the need for them.

    And I’m tired of slow hybrids too. Even the CR-Z is unimpressive, at least on paper (note: I haven’t driven one yet). Bigger/more electric motors on the Honda IMA system (along with a bigger battery) squeezed into a CR-Z could bring it into the performance range of the Civic Si, while achieving the fuel effiency of a Prius or a Volt. For that matter, we might see a hybrid Civic Si!

  • perfectapproach

    @Van: Sure, the ability to store electricity generated by traditional electric power plants is nice, but 2 of the biggest impediments to selling electric cars are 1) much shorter range and 2) long “refuel” time. Battery technology improvements may alleviate some of these issues, but generating on-board power is at least as good as having a big battery, as the Chevy Volt demonstrates.

    What I imagine the very distant future will hold for personal transportation:
    1) No use of fossil fuels as a primary fuel source. (Lubricants excepted.)
    2) The ability to travel 350+ miles before needing some kind of “refuel” service.
    3) The ability to quickly “refuel” the vehicle, akin to how long it takes us to fill our gas tanks now.

    Fuel cells are currently the most reasonable way of achieving these long-term goals. Exotic solutions like nuclear power, compressed air, and solar power certainly exist, but I think fuel cell development is probably the most mature of all the “exotic” solutions.

  • FamilyGuy

    Fuel cells will continue to get looked at as long as batteries take hours to recharge instead of mere minutes. It’s not just the range of the EV that hinders their progress, it’s the recharge time. You want to travel 360 miles (I do this several times a year) and have a range of 200 miles. You still have to stop for how many hours to recharge? Makes a 6 hour drive how long? And what you doing to pass the time that the car recharges? Sitting in it? On the NY thruway in the middle of January?

    How good is this gasoline network? The gasoline is still trucked to each station (burning gas to get there). Why can’t a truck carry H instead of gasoline?

    Remember the entire auto industry took off with NO INFRASTRUCTURAL. I’m pretty sure when gasoline gets expensive enough, companies will make the effort to switch to something else.

    BTW, we have a Nissan Altima Hybrid. It’s a little dated at this point. But we can still get 40 MPG and it is fun to drive, no question. It’s a great balance.

  • Tom

    Would love to see Honda use any of these 3 technologies in 7-8 seat vehicle–whether it’s the Odyssey or something else.

  • Volume Van

    Even if battery charging time increases, its too heavy and for some one whose daily commute is only 30-40 miles / day, there is no need to have battery for 300 mile range, thats where the fuel cells fit in.

    Future fuel cells will be able to run on any fuel that is hydrogen rich like

    Methane, Ethane, Propane, Butane

    Methanol, Ethanol, Propanol, Butanol

    Its lot more easy to store these fuels. Of course every vehicle will have a battery for 10-30 mile range and beyond that it will run on fuel cell using the above fuels. This will be a win-win for both electricity and fuel cells using Liquid / Gaseous fuels.

  • Modern Marvel Fan

    Van wrote: “Hopefully Honda will be able to copy the Ford/Toyota power split device and not sacrifice too much efficiency in order to avoid patent infringement. The GM Volt clone sacrificed way too much (37 MPG when Ford will offer around 47 MPG).”

    You are pretty clueless about the Volt, aren’t you?

    Volt’s powertrain has nothing to do with Prius or Ford. It is designed to be EV first and hybrid later. That is why its MPG suffers but it can travel farther and BETTER performance in its EV mode than any of the Prius/Fusion/C-Max. The 37mpg mixed rating is rarely used by most Volt drivers. Volt drivers drive 63% electric. That is why Volt is more an EV than hybrid. It lowers its gas mpg due to better tires, much larger battery packs and electric motors… It is called trade off. 75% of America drives less than 40 miles per day. That is why Volt is designed to be mostly gas free for most people.

    A fuel cell would be a perfect “range extender” if it can be cheap enough and powerful/compact enough…

  • Anonymous

    Modern Marvel Fan: Uhm, no. You are absolutely wrong about Volt’s powertrain. Actually that is shockingly similar to Toyota’s HSD, but more complicated (2 PSDs instead of 1 and 2 clutches instead of none) and less efficient than that. On top of that the control strategy and the size of the battery are the main differences.

  • perfectapproach

    Anonymous: “Modern Marvel Fan: Uhm, no. You are absolutely wrong about Volt’s powertrain. Actually that is shockingly similar to Toyota’s HSD, but more complicated (2 PSDs instead of 1 and 2 clutches instead of none) and less efficient than that. On top of that the control strategy and the size of the battery are the main differences.”

    Uhm, no, Modern Marvel Fan is actually right about the Volt’s powertrain. The Volt powertrain doesn’t have any clutches; it uses a planetary gear system that doesn’t use clutches. There are 3 power inputs, and during normal operation, the one connected to the gasoline engine is not engaged…ergo using no gasoline. Only under extreme power-expenditure conditions does the gasoline engine engage.

    And I can’t believe you are still talking about how “big” or how “heavy” batteries are! News-flash: they’re not made of lead-acid anymore! We wouldn’t sacrifice our air conditioning. We wouldn’t kick our passengers out of the car. Why would you worry about the weight of the battery? People who supercharge their cars know that the supercharger actually uses about 10%-30% of the engine’s power to turn the supercharger. However, that supercharger will give them lots more horsepower than it uses, so there is a net benefit. An electric battery certainly isn’t light, but if it makes the car more fuel-efficient, WHO CARES??? What does it matter? Why is it important? When batteries become so heavy that they reduce fuel-efficiency, THEN talk to me about how heavy the batteries are. Until then, you don’t have much credibility, at least not to me.

  • Van

    There seems to be some who claim expertize on the Volt transmission, saying it has no clutches, etc. Here is a link:

    which talks about clutches. But you can find lots of similar stories on the Internet where it is claimed the HSD and the Volt transmission are simply configured differently, but operate on the same principle.

    So we return to the fact that the Ford version seems more than 20% efficient, and I have seen nothing but smoke and mirror responses.

  • CharlesF

    In the past I think most of us believed Honda’s press releases, but not anymore. Their single motor mild hybrid system has never been up to the task of taking on the Prius hatchback. When the Accord comes out we will see if it is as good as the Camry or Fusion. My bet is it will finish third, maybe even forth in the midsize hybrid sedan category.

    After driving a C-Max today, I would say that Ford got the MPG/fun to drive ratio just about right.

  • Anonymous

    perfectapproach: Uhm, absolutely no. Volt does have clutches. Not 1, not 2 but 3!

    Learn at least the basics before posting complete nonsense.

    “And I can’t believe you are still talking about how “big” or how “heavy” batteries are!”

    I’ve never said such a thing. You either confuse me with someone else or cannot read.

  • Al Bunzel

    In my opinion, whenever I hear fuel cell technology, I tend to read in between the lines as bring to production some time in the future (with no date in mind). Maybe, I’m cynical.

  • John D.

    Honda would catch up with Toyota if it wasn’t for one fact- Toyota is not a stationary object. They are continually tweaking things and improving their mileage.

    As for the Volt. Great car, but will be better in a few years. GM has more baggage at the corporate level and needs to free itself.
    Regarding clutches etc., yes three, but yes, designed more as an EV first.

    The problems with EV right now is it is dirtier due to the fact that 42% of our electric comes from coal. This too will change, but may be evolutionary as compared to revolutionary.

    And the 800 pound gorilla award goes to the fact that our grid is not in good enough shape to throw a large percentage of transportation on it. Yet… Off peak plans may help to a point.

  • Van

    The reason our electric infrastructure is inadequate is because government regulation and lawsuits preclude building what is necessary to supply adequate power.

    New combined cycle natural gas burning generating units could replace the old coal plants when they get to be 40 or so years old.
    Thus a natural evolution to domestic energy is technologically possible, but politically impossible. Since a majority of Americans vote for the Democrats who never saw a regulation they did not like, our future of inadequate electrical infrastructure is pretty much assured.

  • Max Reid

    Only 32% of US Electricity comes from Coal

    Natgas has taken a bigger part and the share of Renewables is increasing gradually.

  • John D.

    Well, NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) is also a bit of a problem too. Yet, there is a lot at stake. Almost 50% of all power generated is lost in the inefficiency of the grid. This is something we have to deal with. Imaging having twice as much electricity in this country as we do now, without generating a single watt more then we do now! That’s what’s at stake with fixing the grid. Unfortunately, what we need are smaller, more local power plants that rely less on long distance transmission lines. Unfortunately, between government regulations and NIMBY, I don’t see that happening either.

    Even green solutions run into a brick wall. One visit to a wind farm and it becomes obvious why people don’t want to live near them. That 24/7 whoop whoop whoop would drive me nuts as well.

    Still, I have faith that there are solutions. We just haven’t thought of them yet.

  • John D.

    Surprising numbers on Natural Gas! Didn’t realized it had moved that fast! (Although am a bit concerned with Fracking.)

  • Modern Marvel Fan

    Another Van’s misunderstanding:
    First of all, Volt’s power train are similar in concept. But the differences are in the details. The planet gears and sun gears are driven by different energy sources. Saying that they are the same is like saying all the engines are the same whether they are V, H or I since they all pistons, valves and combustion chamber.

    Now to you second part of the statement.

    “So we return to the fact that the Ford version seems more than 20% efficient, and I have seen nothing but smoke and mirror responses.”

    So, how do you know the “version” is more efficient? Because of the MPG rating in YOUR regular mode vs. Volt’s extended mode? If so, it only shows YOU HAVE NO CLUE ON HOW VOLT WORKS.

    1. Volt is designed to be EV first. With larger and heavier motors, batteries, it is designed to be operated as EV most of the time. It is FAR MORE efficient in that mode than hybrid mode. Volt’s owner’s 63% EV miles has shown that.

    2. The extended range mode has a loss due to additional 700 lbs weight, more performance orientated tires. More power and heavier electric motors.

    That is why Volt is designed be EV first and hybrid second. Prius and C-Max are really just a hybrid and “ev mode” is really a “pretending” mode…

    Now, get some engineering understand before you whine about Volt’s system again.

    Your negative comment toward the Volt is tiring…

  • Van

    Folks like MMF who constantly question the qualifications and character of those expressing opposing view are mindless twits, pushing logical fallacies rather than truth.

    Only mindless twits claim to know what another understands, as if they were mind readers. Good grief.

    Did you see where said the volt transmission operates on the same principle but is configured differently.

    The Volt gets 37 MPG in range extending mode, i.e. regular hybrid mode. The Ford gets 47 MPG, so it is more than 20% more efficient.

    Now in EV mode, which model gets more miles per Kwh? We know the Volt goes 38 miles using 10.5 Kwh for a mileage of 3.6 miles per kwh. Time will tell, i.e. when the EPA sticker comes out for the Fusion Energi.