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Honda Replaces IMA Hybrid Technology with New Sport Hybrid Systems

11/14/2012
The 2000 Honda Insight was the first gasoline electric hybrid vehicle to go on sale in the United States, and was equipped with the automaker's Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) technology. Honda's IMA system shut off the Insight's gasoline engine as the vehicle came to a stop, while still powering vehicle accessories. To begin driving, the IMA system engaged the gasoline engine as soon as the driver's foot came off the brake pedal, and an electric assist motor helped the small-displacement gasoline engine accelerate while conserving fuel.

More than a decade later, Honda continues to use IMA technology in its hybrid vehicles. Such systems, which cannot propel the vehicle on electricity alone, are known as mild hybrids. A full-hybrid vehicle has a gasoline electric hybrid powertrain that can operate solely on the electricity stored in the battery pack for short distances and at lower vehicle speeds.

However, this is about to change with the 2014 Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid that arrives in January 2013. As part of the company's Earth Dreams engine initiative, Honda is introducing a new lineup of Sport Hybrid powertrains for its hybrid-powered vehicles, and confirms that the two more popular systems will offer full-hybrid, EV driving capability.

Sport Hybrid Intelligent Dual-Clutch Drive
This new full-hybrid powertrain, which was announced on November 12, utilizes a new Earth Dreams 1.5-liter, Atkinson-cycle 4-cylinder engine, 7-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT), single electric assist motor, and a Lithium-ion battery. Honda says that with this new hybrid powertrain, "the fun of driving is realized with acceleration g-force more powerful than that of existing models as well as a rhythmic and linear acceleration feeling." The automaker also says the EV driving mode is operational at vehicle start-up and when cruising at low-to-moderate speeds.

Sport Hybrid Intelligent Multi-Mode Drive
This is the new full-hybrid powertrain installed in the 2014 Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid. The model is equipped with a new Earth Dreams 2.0-liter, Atkinson-cycle 4-cylinder engine, continuously variable transmission (CVT), two electric assist motors, and a Lithium-ion battery. The system automatically engages one of three driving modes, depending on how the vehicle is driven and the battery's state of charge: EV Drive, Hybrid Drive, and Engine Drive.

In the Accord, this Sport Hybrid system is a plug-in hybrid, with a battery that offers pure electric driving for shorter trips. When the battery reaches a minimum state of charge, the system engages the gasoline engine and the vehicle operates as a conventional gasoline electric hybrid.

Sport Hybrid SH-AWD
Introduced in the Acura NSX Concept and destined for the redesigned 2014 Acura RLX luxury sedan, the new Sport Hybrid SH-AWD system pairs a direct-injection V-6 engine with a 7-speed DCT, three electric motors, and a Lithium-ion battery. One electric assist motor is contained within the transmission itself and directs power to the front and rear wheels. Two additional electric assist motors are located at the rear of the vehicle, controlling torque distribution to the rear wheels for a performance-oriented driving experience, according to Honda.

Honda Model Ratings
Honda Accord Ratings

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