Scheduled to go on sale in early 2013, the Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) sedan has the ability to travel up to 15 miles (24 km) on electrics only and boasts a total driving range of more than 500 miles (800 km).
Billed by Honda as “a remarkable dose of hybrid efficiency and electric torque,” the 2014 Accord PHEV is Honda's first two-motor hybrid system and one of four new powertrains for the Accord line. The Accord PHEV uses Honda’s 137 bhp Earth Dreams 2.0-liter i-VTEC 4-cylinder engine and a 124-kilowatt electric motor back by a 6.7 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery. The battery back is mounted above the rear suspension to conserve space and protect the battery in the event of a collision. The total system power output is 196 bhp.
In its default mode, the Accord PHEV is an all-electric vehicle. When the battery charge drops or at high speeds or under acceleration, it switches to hybrid operation. In HV mode, the car switches between its engine and electric motor to provide the highest fuel efficiency while keeping the battery charged. In HV charge mode, the car gives priority to charging the battery. The charging time for the Accord PHEV is claimed at less than three hours from a 120-volt outlet and one hour from a 240-volt Level 2 charger.
Working in conjunction with the comapny's HondaLink EV smartphone app, the Accord PHEV will enable owners to schedule charging times so they can take advantage of off-peak rates, monitor charge status and drive range, receive charge complete notices, and locate charging stations.
The all-electric mode extends to other systems of the car as well. To improve regenerative braking efficiency, the Accord PHEV has full electronic control of the hydraulic brake system. In addition, the electric power steering system said to be more efficient than traditional hydraulics and adjusts automatically to driving conditions, whether in electric or gasoline mode.
In order to achieve improved range and fuel efficiency, Honda has designed the Accord PHEV with considerable weight reductions in mind. Aluminum is used throughout the vehicle with an all-aluminum front subframe, 17-inch forged aluminum wheels, an aluminum hood and rear bumper and even an aluminum brake pedal. Honda takes this policy so far that the spare tire has been removed in favor of a puncture repair kit.
The interior of the Accord PHEV features Honda Bio Fabric seat covers and standard features include Bluetooth and USB/iPod connectivity, dual-zone automatic climate control, Honda LaneWatch, a multi-view rearview camera, driver's 10-way power seat with 2-position memory, a touchscreen interface and LED headlamps.
One potential problem of hybrids is that they are almost silent when running on electrics, so the Honda PHEV has an Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System to audibly warn pedestrians of its approach. Other safety features are Honda’s Vehicle Stability Assist, Forward Collision Warning and Lane Departure Warning.
The Accord PHEV will be built in Sayama, Japan. Official pricing is yet to be announced.