Mid-2011 Honda CEO Takanobu Ito gave a glance into the company’s strategy moving into the future. An all new Honda Civic hybrid was mentioned as well as a plug-in hybrid concept that would hopefully make it into production for the 2012 model year. Here is a quick glance at the most recent information about both.
The 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid offers a 1.5L four cylinder hybrid engine that delivers 44 mpg in the city or on the highway with the help of the continuously variable transmission. The 2012 also features standard stability control, traction control, and side/curtain airbags. The base model adds 15-inch alloy wheels and low-rolling-resistance tires, outside mirrors with built-in turn signals, LED taillights, a rear spoiler and a 160-watt, six-speaker stereo. The ”Leather” trim level adds heated mirrors, leather upholstery, and heated front seats.
The plug-in is still a work in progress. Honda’s official site for the vehicle lists several expected aspects, but not an official announcement of whether it will be a CR-Z or Civic platform based vehicle. The plug-in hybrid platform will allow for short, frequent trips in all-electric mode. Long distance trips will be powered by Honda’s 2.0-liter, i-VTEC inline 4 popper. The finalized incarnation will continuously move through three modes for maximum driving efficiency: all-electric, gasoline-electric and an engine direct-drive mode. The direct-drive mode allows the engine to drive the front wheels directly for better fuel efficiency at cruising speeds in excess of 62 mph. The platform’s all electric range will offer a top effective distance of 15 miles at 62 mph or less. Recharge time is going to be in the 2 hour neighborhood with a household 120V outlet or 1 hour with a a 240V plug.
The Honda Civic is facing stiffer competition this year. Kia and Hyundai are offering less expensive vehicles that are very comparable in options, safety, and fuel efficiency. There is a general urgency at Honda to develop improved engines to combat this competition. This all bodes well for the cash strapped general populace.