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Honda’s “foolproof” electronic engine control software, which allows it to run on virtually any car, would have been an easy sell with Fiat Chrysler if it were built in 2006.
Yet the only two vehicles in which Honda’s latest EV model can run without a problem – the Infiniti Q60 and the Chevrolet Volt – are now discontinued.
This year Honda will introduce a new model, the Civic, which it describes as “the most eco-friendly car in the world”, with an electric motor driving all four wheels. The electric motor was originally installed in the Civic’s predecessor, the Sienna, but was removed in 2008 for the replacement of the Sienna’s engine.
The Civic now has a battery – the same lithium-ion pack used in Nissan’s Leaf – which can provide a range of 200 miles. That sounds quite ambitious – but it would be hard to beat it’s 200km range.
If the same model ran on a battery powered electric motor – which is what makes the Volt so different from the Prius – it would run almost as long (300 miles) on a 200km charge (without driving), according to Honda.
The current generation of Honda’s hybrid (hybrid-electric) engines is the CVT (continuously variable transmission) unit, whose performance is much better than the ICE engine. That explains why Honda’s CVT units have run faster than ICE engines.
With electric motors, it isn’t all about what happens next but rather how much torque (how long it takes to move from 0 to 100km/h) you can put into the powertrain. How much this torque can move and under what conditions is controlled by how the gearbox works. Honda’s engineers have figured out a great way to make the ICE’s torque control system turn the engine on as fast as the CVT. The result is the “quick, linear” acceleration of the electric motor.
This gives the gasoline engine “much more control over what it does next to improve performance and fuel economy,” said Honda.
In 2009 Honda admitted having the best-performing hybrid engines in the world. But it is doubtful Honda got the engineers to agree on how it should be installed to make this happen.
If a person wanted to switch from hybrid to hybrid-electric, they’d have to replace the engine. If
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