What is in this article?:
- Japanese Auto Makers Rule Global Hybrid, EV Markets
- Honda Readies Launch of First Full Hybrid
- Nissan Grows Hybrid Range as Leaf EV Sales Sputter
- Japanese Battery Makers Still Dominant
has been cool toward EV technology, believing fuel-cell vehicles offer a better long-term solution to global warming. But the No.1 hybrid maker nevertheless launched all-electric versions of the Scion iQ and RAV4 in 2012.
Prius world’s top-selling PHEV last year.
Honda Readies Launch of First Full Hybrid
confirms it will introduce a 2-motor Accord hybrid in early July. The auto maker’s first full hybrid initially will go on sale in Japan, then later in the year in the U.S. and Canada.
In addition to its two motors, the car will employ a 1.3-kWh Li-ion battery supplied by Blue Energy,’s joint venture with GS Yuasa. The hybrid system goes by the name Intelligent-Multimode Drive or i-MMD.
The plug-in Accord went on sale in January in New York and California. It has a range of 13 miles (21 km) in EV mode while running off a 6.7-kWh Li-ion battery supplied by Blue Energy.
Honda has developed a 3-motor “sport” hybrid system for larger-sized vehicles that incorporates all-wheel-drive technology. In addition to its three motors, power comes from a 1.5L Atkinson-cycle engine and 1-kWh Li-ion battery.
A senior powertrain engineer says the dividing line between 1- and 2-motor systems in Honda’s lineup will be the Civic. Anything in a larger segment will employ two motors; anything below, one motor. He says no decision has been made about the next-generation Civic.
The auto maker began leasing Fit EVs in July, initially in the U.S. Current plans call for making 1,300 of the subcompacts available over a 3-year period, including only 200 within Japan.
Toshiba supplies the 20-kWh Li-ion battery for the Fit EV and the 0.9-kWh battery for Honda’s EV-Neo electric scooter. The auto maker has sold 270 EV-Neos since the model’s April 2011 launch, well short of its first-year target of 1,000 units.
Honda sold 231,000 hybrids, all single-motor types, in 2012. Eighty percent of sales were in the Japanese market.
The auto maker started production of Jazz (Fit) hybrids from complete-knocked-down kits in mid-2012 at Honda Automobile (Thailand) and late last year at Honda Malaysia. In January, it shifted Civic Hybrid output to Honda Mfg. Indiana, where it joined the Acura ILX Hybrid launched last year.
Both the Civic Hybrid and ILX, like the Accord hybrids, employ Blue Energy batteries. All other Honda hybrids use NiMH batteries.