Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid Test Drive


With time, would be EV buyers are seeing an ever increasing market of vehicle choices.

Some automakers strive to make their EVs look and act different than conventional cars.  Think Volt and Leaf. These cars announce to others on the road that the driver wants to avoid gasoline.  Other automakers are simply offering plugin-hybrid drivetrain options on current conventional models.

The first one of these soon to hit the road is the Ford CMAX ENERGI. Conventional and non-plugin hybrid versions of this car are also presently being released.

Honda plans to sell a plugin version of its high volume bread and butter Accord sedan.  Although InsideEVs hasn’t yet had the chance to test this car yet, reporters over at Extreme Tech and several other outlets have posted their thoughts on the vehicle.  These journalists were given 10 mile short trips in a production intent prototype.

Honda Plug-In Accord Hybrid Interior

Basically they describe driving the car as a “non-event”.  It drives like any other normal and the onset of the gas engine is non-obtrusive.  The small 6.7 kwh lithium ion battery will allow up to 10-15 miles on the battery alone and because of its size can be recharged in an hour.

Honda’s plug-in system differs from its Insight  and Civic hybrids. The gas engine is a 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle inline-four and the Accord plug-in has two electric motors.  The first motor charges the battery pack and other one to propel the wheels. The gas engine puts out 134 hp and has 111 lb-ft of torque,while the drive motor outs out 161 hp, and the electric motor/generator is rated at 100 kW.

Fuel economy in hybrid mode will best the Volt and Honda overall expects the official EPA rating to hit over 100 MPGe.

While running in EV mode, the default start, the gas engine will go on during high load demands such as speeds greater than 60 MPH or certain uphill climbs.  The transfer from electric to traditional gas power is said to be seamless.

The journalist found the car “quiet, quick, roomy in back, expends energy going uphill and gets a lot of it back heading downhill.”

Pricing is unannounced but believed to be around $35,000.  A $3740 federal tax credit will be available to buyers.

So if you are an Accord lover and want to avoid gas for short trips and achieve excellent overall fuel economy without compromises, this car could be your top choice.  Though it won’t be everyone’s choice for many reasons that is the beauty now having of the range of options we are finally seeing in the plugin vehicle market.  A great thing indeed.

Extreme Tech

Categories: Honda, Test Drives


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10 Comments on "Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid Test Drive"

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Good to see you Lyle!

You too, thanks

There may be a place for PHEV’s with smallish batteries. Many Volt owners are getting overall gas mileage in the low 100’s. Vehicles like the Plug-In Prius and Accord could achieve mileage in the mid-50’s. It’s not as good as a Volt but a big improvement none-the-less.

There absolutely is a place for PHEV’s with smallish batteries. Let’s not forget that they often have better CS gas mileage. I think these cars are a perfect complement to a BEV.

Take my situation, for example. I drive a Leaf for my local driving. Typically when I exceed the range of my Leaf, it’s because I’m traveling across the state. My most common trip (about 1x per month) is about 250 mile one-way. Personally, I’m considering a C-MAX Energi, so I’ll use its numbers for my calculations. Also, I have to start somewhere, so assume that the EPA numbers are correct for my driving.

Volt = 37 miles AER / 38 CS MPG
C-MAX = 20 miles AER / 47 CS MPG

Volt: (250-37)/38 = 5.6 gallons
C-MAX: (250-20)/47 = 4.9 gallons

For my use case, I would use LESS gasoline in a C-MAX than a Volt. I suggest that I am not alone. For those of us who own two or more cars, these cars with smallish batteries can be BETTER THAN a Volt.

The key is choice. We need many many options so that consumers can make the choice themselves.

This is a very nice argument. Thanks Brian. Initially we think in terms of one EV per family. Already the first buyers are moving toward their second where a BEV/PHEV make for a wonderful combination. Educating the general public on this paradigm shift is going to be a slow affair.

Although this is an important argument, there is still the point that the Volt has about twice the HP and torque of both the BEVs and the PHEVs compared to here. The Volt also has in most cases superior handling as well. All are still excellent EVs, you just have to be aware of what you after and for that reason I still think Brian has made an excellent case for the 10-20 mile PHEVs. There will be a market.

I like this car…a lot. As a current owner of an aging 2000 Accord, I can tell you I have been pleased with the car and the company. Recent years have yielded some unattractive designs, but I think with this edition, they are finally turning a page. If the price is $35000 or less, this could be a pretty compelling offering from Honda.

It’s about time.

Don’t know what the usable kwh is for the CMax but it need to be 6 or higher to get 20 electric miles in the same driving that yields 37 in the Volt. The Volt is also EPA rated 40 mpg highway not 37. Minor difference but it adds up and low Cd for Volt probably brings the mpg for both closer together at 70mph.

The Volt is rated 35 city / 40 highway / 37 combined. The C-MAX is rated 47 city / 47 highway / 47 combined, so I was actually too high. I had the combined MPG and AER range switched, but like you said, it makes a very small difference. In fact, it means the Volt will burn 0.1 gallons MORE than I calculated.

(250-38)/37 = 5.7 gallons.

Also, the C-MAX will have a 7.5kWh battery – a little less than half the Volt.

Interesting observation about the Cd. This is true, and also partly why I caveated my calculations with the assumptions that I could use EPA numbers. I would have to personally drive both of these cars on this trip in order to know for sure.

“The small 6.7 kwh lithium ion battery will allow up to 10-15 miles on the battery alone and because of its size can be recharged in an hour.”

Does this imply that Honda will provide a 6.6kW charger? Or does it mean that of the 6.7kW, only half is used (similar to the Volt’s 10 of 16)?