Next Civic Hybrid to get 2-motor system
TOKYO -- The next-generation Honda Civic Hybrid will get a two-motor system aimed at vastly improving the car's fuel economy.
The change is part of Honda's overhaul of its powertrain lineup, which will also bring downsized turbocharged engines.
"The Civic will get the two-motor system," Toshihiro Mibe, managing officer in charge of powertrain development at Honda R&D Co., told Automotive News at an industry conference here. "We are now thinking of two types of two-motor systems: a more expensive one for the Accord and a cheaper one for Civic."
Mibe would not say when an updated Civic Hybrid would arrive.
Honda had been wrestling with what powertrain to use in the Civic Hybrid: a new one-motor system for small cars, which would be cheaper, or the more robust two-motor version to be used in the hybrid version of the redesigned Accord, which would deliver better fuel economy.
The two-motor layout allows extensive electric-only driving. One motor powers the wheels; the other recharges the batteries.
Differing battery capacity would account for most of the cost differential. But both versions would get lithium ion batteries.
The EPA rates the U.S. plug-in Accord, which went on sale in New York and California on Jan. 15, at the equivalent of 115 mpg in electric-vehicle mode and at 46 mpg in hybrid mode.
Mibe said the Civic Hybrid's fuel economy would be much better than the current model's but didn't give figures. He noted that the new one-motor system, which will debut this year in the hybrid version of the redesigned Fit, will be 30 percent more efficient than the Fit's current one-motor system, known as Integrated Motor Assist. The current Civic Hybrid also uses that system.
Honda also plans to introduce smaller turbocharged engines to enhance the efficiency of its new Earth Dreams lineup of direct-injection engines, Mibe said. The first of the Earth Dreams engines debuted last year, but the range covers six new powerplants, including a 1.6-liter clean diesel.