You've seen the new Honda Accord it its full glory, now here's the hybrid version that will go on sale early next year in America. No longer just a regular hybrid, the 2014 Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) Sedan can be charged via an external electric source (like your home wall socket, hence plug-in) and is powered by what Honda calls its first two-motor hybrid system. No IMA here.
The Earth Dreams hybrid system (click here for more on Earth Dreams) consists of a 2.0 litre i-VTEC four-cylinder Atkinson-cycle engine producing 137 hp and a 124 kW electric motor. Electric driving is supported by a 6.7 kilowatt-hour (kWh) lithium-ion battery, and total system output is 196 hp.
The hybrid system allows power from the ICE to flow directly to the front wheels, power the generator to supply electrical propulsion or even charge the battery pack. Honda says that the system moves seamlessly between all-electric EV Drive, petrol-electric Hybrid Drive and direct Engine Drive. The car will always start as a pure EV and soldier on till there's no more charge, and the i-VTEC comes to life.
The all-electric mode is expected to last between 16 to 24 km, while the total driving range is over 800 km. When in petrol-only mode, the Accord PHEV is expected to return one of the top EPA fuel economy ratings among mid-size sedans, and is also expected to earn an Enhanced AT-PZEV rating from the California Air Resources Board.
There's more. The driver can choose \"HV\" mode, where the Accord acts as a conventional hybrid, blending petrol and electric power to maximise fuel efficiency. In \"HV Charge\" mode, the Accord blends petrol and electric power while also augmenting the battery charge level.
The Accord PHEV will feature an electric servo braking system similar to the setup on the Honda Fit EV,which allows for \"exceptionally natural brake pedal feel\" while extending the range over which the regenerative braking can take place.
Speaking of which, the Accord PHEV can be fully charged from a low-charge indication point in less than three hours using a 120-volt household electrical outlet, and in less than one hour using a 240-volt \"Level-2″ charger. A free HondaLink EV smartphone allows owners to monitor the charging state of the Accord.
Powertrain aside, the Accord body received further improvements in weight reduction, aerodynamic efficiency and rolling resistance in its PHEV transformation.
Weight reduction features include an all-aluminium front subframe, proprietary 17-inch forged aluminium wheels, aluminium brake pedal, aluminum hood, aluminum rear bumper beam and a tyre puncture repair kit in place of regular Accord's spare wheel.
Aerodynamic advancements include a powertrain undercover, cabin floor undercovers, rear decklid spoiler and special wheel covers. The PHEV rolls with less friction, thanks to low rolling-resistance 225/50 tyres and low-friction wheel bearings.
Lastly, the Accord PHEV also has an Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System (AVAS) to audibly warn pedestrians when it is approaching in EV Drive mode. If you've ever been passed by an electric car, you'll know that this is vital. Wonder how Honda's AVAS sounds like, though.