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Honda to Build Innovative SH-AWD Hybrid Using Three Electric Motors

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Honda wants to reaffirm its position in the hybrid vehicle business by planning a kind of hybrid that nobody has ever seen before. The Japanese car manufacturer wants to put two electric motors in the rear, and one in the front. Besides the electrical part, a V6 3.5L gasoline engine will be mounted in the front.

The three electric motors will total 70 kW (30 – 20 -20), with the rear motors having the same power. The front electric motor and gasoline engine are to be linked through a seven-speed dual clutch transmission. The final effect desired by Honda is to give the car a performance equivalent to one equipped with a V8 engine and a fuel efficiency of one having an in-line 4-cylinder engine.

The prototype, based on the U.S. version of Accord, has been announced at the 2011 Honda Meeting on Dec. 5 and combines a principle widely used in mild hybrids nowadays, that of starting off by using electric motors and, if more power is needed, letting the gasoline engine do the rest of the job.

Honda is also planning implementing their “SH-AWD” drive system on this car, which changes the drive force allocation for the two rear wheels according to running conditions. The car will thus act like a 4WD due to the two rear-mounted electric motors, hence its given name of “Electric-powered SH-AWD.”

One detail that Honda hasn’t revealed yet is the battery capacity, which will have the greatest impact on the car’s electric-running abilities, its eco-friendliness and cost of operation. My guess is that it will hover around 15 to 20 kW, since most electric cars nowadays are equipped with similarly-sized capacities, and the car probably won’t be an economy car, but a relatively expensive executive saloon, so its target market will most probably be able to spend money on a bigger battery.

Commenting on what Honda thought out for its future hybrid Accord, I think they’d better head their attention towards the masses, who are the first to want a car with better fuel economy, and whose increased price due to the batteries can be recovered in a couple of years. Taxis and utility vehicles are a top priority market, but also are those who commute on a daily basis. Everybody wants cheap electric cars, so it’s high time someone builds them.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Not really surprising. Honda/Acura really prides themselves on being green. Good to know that they have been up to something while everyone else was spitting out hybrids.

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