Honda aims high with "Earth Dreams Technology"
By Martin Hone
November 30, 2011
Honda has outlined its next-generation technology for automobiles at the Tokyo Motor Show. "Earth Dreams Technology" is a broad revamp of engine and transmission technologies with which the company aims to achieve ambitious, industry-leading fuel efficiencies for every category within three years, while simultaneously setting a timeline of 2020 to reduce by 30% CO2 emissions for all products sold worldwide, relative to emission figures for 2000.
Earth Dreams Technology incorporates the following key elements:
- Revised gasoline engines: Honda's has built on its original VTEC (Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control System) and developed a new structure for higher expandability to improve output and fuel efficiency. The new tech will appear in a wide range of engine classes including the 660cc, 1.3L, 1.5L, 1.8L, 2.0L, 2.4L, and 3.5L.
- World's Lightest Diesel Block: Honda says that by optimizing engine rigidity and combustion pressure, an aluminum block has produced the world's lightest 1.6L class diesel engine.
- New CVTs: Honda will introduce a range of hydraulically controlled CVT-based transmissions for mini, compact, and mid-size vehicle classes, as well as "G-Design Shift", which co-ordinates shift transmission, throttle, and hydraulic control for a more sporty drive.
- Two-motor hybrid system: A new two-motor hybrid system featuring a special lithium-ion battery and charger for plug-in hybrid vehicles has been developed with three driving modes, catering for urban through to high speed cruising.
- High output electric SH-AWD hybrid system: A new hybrid for large-sized vehicles combining a 3.5L, V6 engine that Honda claims provides acceleration equivalent to V8 engines, as well as fuel efficiency equal or superior to in-line 4-cylinder engines.
- Electric 4WD system: This incorporates independent 20kW+ motors on both sides for the rear wheels plus a 7-speed dual clutch transmission system with a built-in 30kW+ high-efficiency motor with the engine.
- Compact, high efficiency powertrain for EVs: Thanks to a high efficiency coaxial motor, low-friction gearbox and electric servo brake system, this system is claimed to meet the required AC consumption rate of 29kWh/100mile(116MPGe) as set forth by the United States, providing a range of 210km (JC08 mode) from its lithium-ion battery. When using the 240V U.S. electric source, a full charge takes less than 3 hours according to Honda (from the time a low-charge signal is lit till full charge) and there are three driving modes (SPORT, NORMAL, ECON) with which the driver can dial up whatever performance takes his or her fancy.