Honda: Revised CR-Z, Three New Hybrids & Fuel Cell Vehicle To Come

Honda has big plans on the hybrid and fuel cell front.

First, Honda has updated the sporty CR-Z hybrid with a range of improvements focusing on style and performance.

The car features a lithium-ion battery for the first time and a Plus Sport (S+) boost system to help the driver make the best use of the vehicle’s sporty performance.

The CR-Z’s 1.5-liter gas engine has been updated with changes to the variable valve timing system and Engine Control Unit (ECU). An anti-vibration knock sensor has been introduced and the material of the crankshaft has been upgraded. The peak power output has been increased from 112 horsepower to 119.4 horsepower.

The electric motor system has also been improved. The change from a Nickel-metal hybrid (Ni-MH) to a Lithium Ion battery has been accompanied by an increase in power from 10 kw to 15 kw.

Working in unison, the Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid system now delivers a combined output of 135 horsepower at 6,600 rpm and 140 pound-feet of torque. The 0-62 mph sprint time falls from 9.7 seconds to 9.0 and top speed is 124 mph. The combined consumption is 56.5 UK mpg (47 U.S. mpg).

To help the driver make the best use of this sporty performance, Honda has introduced a Plus Sport (S+) boost system. If the battery is more than 50 percent charged, the driver can activate this system using the S+ button on the steering wheel. When the accelerator is pressed the electric boost begins, delivering increased acceleration for up to ten seconds. A flashing gauge on the dashboard indicates when the system is active. S+ can be used in ECON, Normal or Sport modes.

New range of hybrid technologies

Honda firmly believes hybrid technology will play a critical role in the reduction of CO2 emissions. Honda intends to build on its hybrid expertise to introduce three new hybrid systems.

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 No. 1 fuel economy among all hybrid vehicles. Improvements in motor output and battery performance and 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.

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.

Honda believes this range of new hybrid technologies will deliver unrivaled driving performance and fuel economy.

Next generation Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle

Honda is also considering fuel cell electric vehicles as an option. It sees them as 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 in 2008. This model will be introduced to Japan, U.S. and Europe.

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  • Nelson Lu

    OK, so the 119.4 horsepower CR-Z is supposed to be sporty. And it gets the same 47 MPG (if the conversion doesn’t get knocked down even further by the EPA) as the much, much larger Ford Fusion Hybrid. And this is supposed to be the best that Honda can do?

  • Jack TC-s

    Yeah, but the CR-Z is so much fun to drive. I do wish that the ECO mode was better on the MPH but this would be great car if you did not want to give up the speed and handling.

  • CharlesF

    Wow, now it is almost as fast as a C-Max Hybrid. Come on Honda, you can do better.

  • perfectapproach

    At first, 135 HP it seems wimpy. BUT, how often would we actually use all 135 HP? When would we ever rev a CR-Z to 6600 RPM?

    I currently drive a 2002 Eclipse GT. It is rated for 200 HP at 5500 RPM. I’ve NEVER revved it to 5500 RPM, and I’ve never actually used all 200 HP. The most I’ve ever used during hard acceleration is 50 HP, and that was only to test my dynamometer. And I’m not exactly a “Sunday driver.” I’ve tested my wife’s 4-popper 1999 Prizm with the same dynamometer… and I’ve only used 50 horsepower in that under heavy acceleration too. Her car is rated at 120 HP @ 5600 RPM’s. And it accelerates nearly as fast as my 6-cyl 3.0 liter.

    So, going back to the CR-Z, despite what people may think of the low horsepower rating, a great many people will never, ever use 135 HP to do anything. Nor will they be taking the CR-Z to its rated high-speed of 124 mph. And we all know that electric motors have instant torque. So even though it has a low HP rating, it will take off like a shot from 0, and will still feel plenty quick.

  • Van

    Honda went in the right direction raising the motor power from 10 to 15 kw, but it still too small. Note the Prius PHV MG2 is rated at 60 kw.

  • Volume Van

    People will not buy a 2-seater car in big #. CR-Z sells @ around 400 units/month in USA and even less in Japan. I dont know why they continue to invest in this car.

    Instead they can apply Lithium battery in Insight and improve it to compete with Prius.

    So with 2 & 3 motor systems, will it be a Full Hybrid. We still don’t know whether Honda is continuing to work with IMA (Partial Hybrid) when other companies have moved to Full Hybrids.

    Let’s see how the new C-Max is selling which is lot more voluminous and has latest Lithium battery.

  • MrEnergyCzar

    I guess the special booster button replaces having nitrogen tanks in the car….


  • Honda Civic Hybrid

    Ok, you talk about HP, In 1973 I had a Saab Sonet 63HP in a V4. That was a ball to drive. You don’t need 135HP to have fun.

  • John K.

    I like the improvements in the CR-Z. It’s a step getting closer to being a hardtop Miata, which is an EXCELLENT sports car and perennial Car & Driver “10 Best” winner, but gets only 21/28 mpg. At 47 mpg, the CR-Z is way ahead of the Miata. With S+ setting and more bhp and torque, the CR-Z should now nibble at the edges of the Miata’s huge market share. The new CR-Z should be a winner.

    Have no interest in fuel cell vehicles — want pure electricity as source, not petroleum or hydrogen (plus all the costs attendant w/building “hydrogen highway”).

  • MIke H

    too little too late for the CRZ….it was a great concept vehicle that Honda watered down so much nobody wants it. Weak effort overall…if it got 50mpg OR made 200hp, it would have been a hit.

  • John K.

    Does anyone know how much smaller and/or lighter the new Li ion battery pack is compared to the old NiMH pack?

    I should also say the CR-Z is getting closer to a modern CRX, although it has a MUCH stronger and safer chassis, more safety devices, and would be MUCH safer in any sort of accident.

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  • bertbernard

    the acceleration of most hybrid cars is not exhilarating. That is, they tend to accelerate at a slower speed when compared to the conventional gas-powered cars. To put in simple words, you would not be able to achieve the anticipated speed within the same time period in a hybrid car, than you would in cars that are powered only by gasoline. actualité sécurité