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2017-06-09

Honda reveals big electric plans




The Clarity range will expand to include EV and PHEV along with other new models

Honda is set to offer a comprehensive range of electrified models in the next few years as the Japanese giant's ambitions look to offer two-thirds of its new cars will be alternatively fuelled by 2025.
Reports from a number of motoring publications say that Honda is set to roll out its sophisticated i-MMD hybrid drive system and a pure-electric model in the near future alongside its confirmed hydrogen fuel cell powered Clarity Fuel Cell FCEV.
The company has already revealed PHEV and pure-EV versions of the Clarity, while Honda is also looking into producing an all-electric supercar, based on the Pikes Peak challenger from last year.
A new EV platform will provide an electric architecture for future models, which is expected to be unveiled with concept car styling later this year. A supercar is being looked at too, using the systems developed for the NSX EV Concept that tackled last year's Pikes Peak hill climb, coming third overall.
That concept used four in-wheel electric motors, developed 1,000bhp, and was capable of completing the 0-62mph sprint in just 2.5 seconds, so performance is not an issue for a potential future zero-emission Honda supercar.
Rather more attainable though would be the next generation CR-V SUV which is expected to be available with Honda's i-MMD hybrid drive system. This uses a 2.0 litre petrol engine combined with two electric motors to offer three driving modes, as often found with hybrid set-ups. However, Honda's system has a greater focus on electric power than many others, and sits in a niche in the electrified powertrain options.
Essentially placed between Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid, the i-MMD system prioritises electric driving, with EV mode used for off-the-line acceleration and normal driving. Hybrid mode sees the engine started to act as an on-board electricity generator rather than directly driving the wheels, used under strong acceleration or when charge is low.
Finally, the engine can directly drive the wheels, but only does so when driving at high speed, when it charges the battery at the same time. Honda will also offer the system as a PHEV option, with the same set-up but with the possibility for owners to charge externally too.
All of these systems are being worked on by Honda's recently established Electric Vehicle Development Division, which is tasked with developing entire EVs including the powertrain and body. Commuter vehicles and scooters are also on the agenda for the team.