Upcoming Honda PHEV To Have 40 Miles Of Electric Range

OCT 28 2015 BY JAY COLE 70

Honda FCV Concept

Honda FCV Concept

No one lost any sleep when Honda announced that its only PHEV – the Accord PHV was being put out to pasture, as the model was fairly irrelevant thanks to a 13 mile range and starting MSRP of $39,780.  Just 62 had been sold in the US this year through September, with about ~1,000 moved all-time.

The Outgoing Honda Accord Netted Only 13 Miles Of Range From A 6.7 kWh Battery

The Outgoing Honda Accord Netted Only 13 Miles Of Range From A 6.7 kWh Battery

However, moving forward it seems that Honda is going to get a lot more serious in the PHEV space with its next offering.

Recently,  Autoblog learned from company engineers that Honda is “targeting a three-fold increase in the car’s all-electric range” – which would mean a much heartier ~40 mile electric range.

As speculated earlier, Honda’s FCV (which debuted at the Tokyo Motor Show) is giving life – or at least its chasis, to this new PHEV and likely to an all-electric car as well.

Autoblog’s Sebastian Blanco got a chance to drive the new PHEV powertrain in an Accord mule in Japan recently (the new EV will share almost nothing with the older Accord PHV), and stated that 40 miles of range was selected as it will allow people to drive on electricity most of the time, while adding that the top speed for all-electric driving has also been increased.  The old Accord PHV suffered from the 62 mph/100km/h cap.

Honda FCEV, PHEV And All-Electric Car Likely To Share Same Chasis To Keep Costs In Check

Honda FCEV, PHEV And All-Electric Car Likely To Share Same Chasis To Keep Costs In Check

When speaking with Honda representative Wakashiro Teruo, Mr. Blanco also sussed out some additional info:

“Everything else will be improved (over the Accord PHV). The battery chemistry is a bit different, and the lithium-ion battery itself is obviously larger. The motors are more efficient and powerful. The software has been updated.”

Check out the entire review and test drive of the Honda FCEV and PHEV mule at Autoblog here.

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70 Comments on "Upcoming Honda PHEV To Have 40 Miles Of Electric Range"

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“40 mile electric range”

So their future vehicle is already obsoleted by the Volt?

So were the Fusion and CMAX Energi and yet Ford managed to sell a few.

They will probably sell a few too, but still why go this route, especially w/battery prices dropping?

Why go this route? Because a smaller battery means more cargo space, lower MSRP and shorter charge times. 120V overnight will replenish the charge. No need for fast chargers or 240V wiring outdoors in garages or carports.

My daily drive rarely exceeds 26 miles. Moreover, my employer has EV chargers in the parking lot. If I make no trips exceeding the EV range, I may end up paying zilch for fuel. A short-range PHEV is perfect for me.

They can package the batteries so that cargo space isn’t hindered. And I don’t think going from a 40 mile range to 50 mile range is going to increase costs/volume that much to be deal-breaker. But it will be a difference maker for how many times your engine turns on. Or how much few gas-free trips you make. GM learned this with the Volt which started at 40 miles. Everyone wanted more EV range.

The other problem w/Honda’s PHEV is the max top speed before the engine kicks on. That means any trips on the expressway = gas.

It just seems like they should have done a better market study before finally rejoining the EV movement.

Batteries are not free, they are not massless, and they take up real volume. So yes, there are always tradeoffs for adding more to a car. The tradeoffs get better every generation, but they are still there.

Regarding EV performance- I think you are assuming that the new PHEV will have the same top electric speed as the old Accord. Do you have a basis for that assumption? I didn’t see it spelled out as such.

Batteries are not free/mass-less, but like I said, 10 more miles would not be a deal-breaker and the car would gain so much more.

Regarding top speed, I was thinking of the Accord’s limits, but looking in the article it does not say how much it was increased. I’m guessing hard accels will also turn the engine on.

Volt 1 had 35 then 38 rated miles and didn’t need to turn the engine on (except with cabin heating below 25F then 15F, grrr).

…and maintenance.

storky said: “Why go this route? Because a smaller battery means more cargo space, lower MSRP and shorter charge times. 120V overnight will replenish the charge. No need for fast chargers or 240V wiring outdoors in garages or carports.” Seriously, you’re claiming a smaller battery pack is an “advantage” because you can fully charge it in fewer hours with a Level 1 charger? That’s nonsense; it’s like claiming a tiny gas tank is “better” because you can fill it up faster at the gas station! And the problem of larger space requirement for a larger pack has been solved in every plug-in EV where the battery pack is under the floor, including the Leaf, the Model S, the Model X, the BMW i3, and the Bolt. Here are the advantages of larger battery packs in an EV: 1. Enables longer trips without stopping to recharge en-route 2. Allows faster charging at EV fast-chargers 3. Less degradation over time of the battery pack, due to fewer charge/discharge cycles The only “advantage” of a smaller battery pack is that it’s cheaper. And even that supposed advantage is questionable, because a small battery pack will be much more likely than a large battery… Read more »

No it doesn’t. The battery pack is in the floor taking up no storage space.
But with lowering battery prices they again start with a too small battery pack which should be 50 miles at least as the space is already there and more.
If Honda was smart it would come out with a 120 mile + range EV or stand being left behind.
As for the FCV with $13/gal/kg fuel just who is going to buy them?
Not to mention the price they need to sell them to make a profit would be $100K plus if it is just a range extender FC EREV, $200k if a full FC power.

“120V overnight will replenish the charge. No need for fast chargers or 240V wiring outdoors in garages or carports”

That is absolutely meaningless.

It is like saying that you like a 5 gallon gas tank over a 10 gallon gas tank because you can fill it up to “full” quicker.

In this case, all cars effectively charging on 120V at the same speed (12A loading sustained). So, even if the bigger battery is not full, it still gives you the same range. It makes absolutely no difference to have a “full charge” since you are getting the same amount of kWh.

Except if its Tesla charging hardware, which in all cases to date that it has been used, is much less efficient on 110 than 220.

Other manufacturers seem to basically equalize the efficiency between 110 and 220.

Reducing the size of the battery will most likely mean a smaller on-board charger reducing the requirement for additional wiring at a house. That makes sense, people want to be able to charge overnight being able to do that from a “standard” plug socket at a reasonable efficiency is a big advantage. A smaller battery will also mean that they will probably put a smaller motor in which will need a smaller motor controller and reduce the size of other systems. So the weight/space/cost savings are not just from reducing the pack size. The battery is not just a “fuel tank” making it 20% bigger (or as MTN Ranger points out – the 40 miles is probably Japanese range) so it would need to be almost 50% bigger to compete with the volt will not be without its trade offs. Extra development costs and extra manufacturing costs will all have to be passed on. It seems to me, and I am by no means an expert in automotive design, that if you want to share the platform with an ICE variant the biggest PHEV you can get to with today’s technology is around 10-12 kWh. All of the German, Korean… Read more »
Just_Chris said: “It seems to me, and I am by no means an expert in automotive design, that if you want to share the platform with an ICE variant the biggest PHEV you can get to with today’s technology is around 10-12 kWh.” With a battery pack that small, there’s no way the EV drivetrain can provide sufficient power for acceleration and hill-climbing. With a small pack like that, the car will always burn gas when accelerating up to highway speed and when climbing hills. Is that really what you want? “All of the German, Korean and Japanese PHEV’s that are coming out that share a platform are in this range.” Yeah, just like with the mild hybrids which only added a token number of miles to the gasmobile’s MPG rating; legacy auto makers are taking the easy way out, first with those mild hybrids, now with tiny-ranged plug-in EVs. Those mild hybrids may have let their owners “feel good” about driving a hybrid, but they didn’t actually do much to reduce the ~80 million barrels of oil the world burns each and every day. The tiny-ranged PEVs aren’t much better. Even the Volt, with its 40 mile range, only… Read more »

It said 3 times the range of the Accord PHEV, which was rated for 13 miles by the EPA.

It sounds like Honda is building a near-EREV like the Volt.

Ford’s Energi twins both with more usable back seats outsold the Volt/ELR combo in 2014. EV range is very important but it’s not the only thing.

Bingo! Cargo space is also important. While the Fusion/C-Max don’t really improve much wrt the Volt, I expect (hope) that Honda will want to one up the Sonata PHEV on cargo and AER just like Hyundai one upped everyone else on those same specs.

This. As much as I wanted a Volt, I settled for a CMax Energi because of the form factor. GM needs to get off their rear and put the Voltec into more vehicle types. 20 miles covers a lot fewer trips than 40 miles.

Besides, 40 mile range is an excellent target. GM continues to lead, but anyone who can hit 40 miles can cover a lot of trips. 53 miles doesn’t cover as many more trips, there are diminishing returns after 40. Where it really falls off a cliff is around 60 (according to Volt Stats).

Brian said:

“40 mile range is an excellent target. GM continues to lead, but anyone who can hit 40 miles can cover a lot of trips. 53 miles doesn’t cover as many more trips, there are diminishing returns after 40. Where it really falls off a cliff is around 60 (according to Volt Stats).”

But isn’t the point of choosing a PHEV over a gasmobile to reduce gasoline usage as much as possible? We should want, or better yet demand, gasoline usage in PHEVs to fall off a cliff, by demanding an all-electric range of 60+ miles.

With BEVs upping the ante on range to nominally 200 miles, there’s no valid reason for PHEVs not to offer at least 60 miles of range.

I’m on track to use about 20 gallons of gasoline this year in my CMax Energi. I think that’s a substantial reduction. (light hearted sarcasm)

60 miles EV is nearly 22,000 miles a year, way above the norm, and far into the diminishing returns zone.

40 miles is ideal. I only get 20-something miles/day on my Volt for 3 months out the the year, and 30-something for another 3 months. This is due to climate. Also if you drive most of your miles at 70mph+ you will not get the EPA range.

fotomoto said: “I’m on track to use about 20 gallons of gasoline this year in my CMax Energi. I think that’s a substantial reduction. (light hearted sarcasm)” Good for you! But clearly your annual mileage is much lower than the ~13,000 miles which is normal for American drivers. We need PEVs aimed at the mass market, not just the niche market of low-mileage drivers. “60 miles EV is nearly 22,000 miles a year, way above the norm, and far into the diminishing returns zone.” You’re doing the same thing that GM does when it claims that a PHEV “only needs 40 miles” of EV range, because daily driving averages only 40 miles. But nobody looks for a car which will barely meet what they do on average every day. People buy cars to handle as many things as possible, even when they exceed what they do on average in a day. For example, most people buy cars with back seats, despite the fact that most people spend most of their driving time with only one or two people in the car. By your argument, nobody should buy a car with a back seat. Looking at the “daily driving histogram” for… Read more »

Pushmi-Pullyu claimed:
“Looking at the “daily driving histogram” for Volts, it’s quite clear that to get
to around 85-90% electric miles, a PHEV would need about 60-70 miles of range”

How do you calculate that? I’m interesting in how you came to that calculation and what you took into account to come up with that number.

I mostly agree. At least for you, me, and most people who would visit a site like InsideEVs. But we also want these cars to truly go mainstream. So much so that nobody thinks twice about buying a car you plug in.

If we could convince 100% of the population to convert 80% of their driving to electric, it would have the same effect as convincing 80% to go 100% electric. Which do you think is easier?

So as we saunter down this path towards electrification, I will continue to applaud any serious effort to build a compelling car with a plug that can increase the net size of the plug-in market.

Well said

Saunter. That’s part of the problem. We need to get to that tipping point where we don’t just saunter. Butts in seats. I’ve offered every co-worker in my office a test drive in my Leaf. Too bad I don’t drive a Tesla but yeah.

Actually, gasoline usage in a PHEV CAN “fall off a cliff” with as little as 20 miles AER. See fotomoto’s comment for an example. I was actually referring to the inverse – the return on investment. The difference in gasoline usage between a 38-mile Volt and a 53-mile Volt is less than the difference in gasoline usage between a 0-mile CMax Hybrid and a 19-mile CMax Energi. Let’s get the plugs on the cars first, and then we can roll in better batteries as the technology improves.

It all depends on how much you drive every day. A bigger battery will in general help. Its true the avg customer may only drive 30 miles per day, but then there may be some like me who drive very little one day and then 60 the next. A bigger battery would help people like me use less gas even though our long term average is low.

40 miles range is a big improvement over 13.

40 miles is excellent TODAY not anymore in 2018.

They are different car segments. Volt is compact, which has less of a market. I’m guessing a Ford Fiesta Energi would not have outsold the Volt.

Yup. Which is why I continue to state that I wish GM would hurry up and put the Voltec drivetrain into a larger car!

I agree with your points on the 20 miles Ford Energi line.

However, I do wish that if that 20 miles are similar to capabilities as those 40 miles on the Volt, I would be far happier.

I don’t want a “whimpy” all electric range. I want a full uncompromised electric driving experience. 0-60 in all electric mode on those Energi cars needs some improvement in my opinion.

ModernMarvelFan said:

“I don’t want a ‘whimpy’ all electric range. I want a full uncompromised electric driving experience. 0-60 in all electric mode on those Energi cars needs some improvement in my opinion.”

But a PHEV with a wimpy electric range, 25 miles or less, has a battery pack too small and wimpy to provide the kind of power you need for good acceleration without an assist from the gas motor. GM achieved very good results with the Volt and its 16-17 kWh battery pack. Don’t expect to see any PHEV that can do well with a smaller pack, unless it’s a car even smaller than the Volt. For cars larger than the compact Volt, the minimum pack size for good EV performance will be proportionally larger.

You can still do that with smaller battery pack. You just need a different type of battery chemistry that is designed to handle the power requirement.

Typically 20 miles only need about 7-8 kWh on average. But the peak power demand can often exceed what those type of “energy dense” battery can handle. We just need to switch to a different chemistry that are better in terms of handling power. For example, the type of chemistry used in the A123 battery are better in terms of power hanlding but worse in terms of energy density.

Keep in mind that “conventional hybrid” usually has less than 1.6kWh battery but can easily support up to 50kW of discharge. A 7-8kWh battery by the same ratio should easily support 200kW or more in terms of power required to provide peak performance.

I would give GM a deposit today if they promised to get me a VoltUV by the end of 2016. But now with the delays in nationwide Volt sales, I can’t see it happening till 2017.

A 35 mile VoltUV (Rav4/CRV/Escape size) for <$40k would eat that market alive. Same battery, slightly larger ICE, keep a sub 8 second 0 – 60.

I will give GM the money if it has only 28 miles of electric range. (14kWh x 2 miles/kWh efficiency).

Let us hope the next redesign of Equinox is including this design. It does seem GM is delaying the redesign of Equinox slightly by 1 year… Let us hope for something good here.

Well, it is not as good as the Volt but it is certainly a huge improvement over their previous over-priced and really-short-electric-range EV. And better than any other PHEV on the mark besides the Volt (and the i3 if you call it a PHEV).

why does it have to look sooo fugly? its like they dont want people to buy it….

While it’s not exactly a “looker” I would gladly take this over either the Mirai or the design mess that is the Gen 4 Prius.

Sorry, the 4G Prius is AWESOME. I’ll have tolerated the homely look of my 1G Prius for 15 years come January.

. . . fortunately the 8-spoke alloy wheels help distract from it’s cross-eyed lady bug looks.

Odd move for Honda to switch hybrids from unique Insight to mass-market Fit & Accord & now back again to halo FCEV/PHEV/BEV.
Rival Toyota has been able to apply its hybrid synergy drive to mainstream Lexus, Auris & even Yaris sub-compact, selling millions. However, the new Prius & Mirai seem to share parts.
Rival VW has invested billions developing its mainstream models to cater for BEV, PHEV or ICE powertrains.
Rival GM has the modular Voltec powertrain which will enable it to offer Volt EREV, Malibu Hybrid & Cadillac CT6 PHEV.
It will be interesting to see if Honda will match its rivals with sales of EVs post 2018.

Dead duck walking here !

Doesn’t it seem that it is a bit like closing the barn door after the horse has run away?

At least try a little bit more AER than the Volt? If it can sit 5 people normally, then it’ll have a chance.

Recomend 55-60 EPA miles or 40+ mpg.

Would it be cheaper than the Volt

If it’s a bigger car than the Volt, and it has a better range than the Volt — requiring a doubly larger battery pack — and it performs as well as a Volt… then you can be certain it’s going to cost more.

But Tesla has proved that if an EV is perceived to have a high value, then people will be willing to pay more for it. Perhaps the problem with the Volt isn’t that it’s too expensive, but that it’s not expensive enough.

Increase the size, add a few luxury touches, and it may well sell a lot better even at a higher price. Too bad GM did such a poor job designing the Cadillac ELR. It’s as if they didn’t actually want to sell it… and probably, they didn’t.

Just as new ICE hybrids inevitably have worse MPG than the same-gen Prius, you should expect that new PHEVs will have worse AER than the Volt.

Well, unless they are significantly more expensive and have dramatic cost cutting elsewhere in the drivetrain (e.g. the i3 REx with its underpowered motorcycle engine).

I’m taking a wait and see position. 40 miles AER will mean most trips can be done on electric alone. Does it really make sense to carry more battery if you have an on-board range extender?

I’m really interested to read details of the new powertrain. How powerful, how much more efficient and will it have to fire-up the ICE to drive at freeway speeds.

I really like the way it looks.

larry4pyro said:

“40 miles AER will mean most trips can be done on electric alone. Does it really make sense to carry more battery if you have an on-board range extender?”

Does it really make sense for the average person to buy a car with a back seat, when most of the time they will be in the car alone or with only one passenger?

Clearly for most car buyers, the answer is a firm “Yes”. Because people don’t choose cars which can barely meet their average daily needs. They buy cars which come as close as they can afford to meeting all their needs and wants.

Are there drivers who almost never drive more than 40 miles in a day? Sure, but not many of them. EV makers who want to sell lots of cars will aim at something bigger than a small niche market.

>>>”Does it really make sense for the average person to buy a car with a back seat, when most of the time they will be in the car alone or with only one passenger?” There is a huge difference between a car not having enough seats, and a plug in hybrid not having enough AER. You can safely keep driving your passengers if your usable battery runs out in one case, but you can’t safely add more seats. >>>”Are there drivers who almost never drive more than 40 miles in a day? Sure, but not many of them” Electric range doesn’t have to be so high that people “almost never” exceed it. In my Volt the vast majority of my trips are EV. Every couple months I’ll exceed the range to go get out to fish, camp or something. That certainly isn’t “almost never”. Making it “almost never” would be way over kill. As is most days it is nothing but EV. If it had double the range would that be nice, yeah, but I wouldn’t pay extra. Even double the range wouldn’t put it to the point that I “almost never” exceed the range. It comes into play on… Read more »

The new range is fine, nothing wrong with it.

The “more is better” mentality, and making everything into a competition doesn’t make sense.

Empirically, 40 miles of EV range will greatly reduce the amount of gas these vehicles consume. That’s a good thing.

If having a range similar to the original Volt enables Honda to price these in a way that gets them into the hands of more people, that’s a win. They don’t have to market towards just purists, it is OK to market towards the mass market.

getting rid of the dumb rear wheel hump would go a long way to solve the ugly problem.

Agree. Wheel skirts belong on float-a-boat Cadillacs and Buicks of decades past

But they improve aerodynamics! Someone needs to figure out how to make them look good because engineering-wise, they are nice to have for improving range.

What about the VW LX1? Do you think the rear skirts make it “fugly”? (photo linked below)

Perhaps the problem with the wheel skirts on this concept car is that they don’t come down nearly low enough.

http://www.blogcdn.com/www.autoblog.com/media/2013/03/01-2014-volkswagen-xl1-fd.jpg

The Japanese car companies have gone crazy with all the air scoops and cut lines on their cars. The Mirai is the most ridiculous, with enough air vents to cool a Kenworth Semi, but this car and the new Leaf concept are close seconds. Maybe VW can save itself and save me by offering a scoopless EV.

40 mile AER is acceptable, that means most daily driving will be all-electric.

So, Honda plans to sabotage its next effort at a PHEV, by making the range extender dependent on a fuel which can be bought very few places nationwide, is much more expensive and more polluting (on a well-to-wheel basis) than gasoline, and is powered by a fuel system with an expiration date.

Given that the car will be effectively obsolete before the first one rolls off the assembly line, Honda quite clearly isn’t interested in actually selling this PHEV in more than compliance numbers.

You misundertand. Honda created a platform that can support three different drivetrains:

– Hydrogen Fuel Cell
– Battery Electric
– Plug-in Hybrid gasoline/electric

The PHEV uses gasoline for the range extender, not hydrogen.

Ack! Thanks for the correction, Brian.

Remember, 40 miles on the Japanese range standard is probably <30 miles on EPA.

Better late than never for Honda. However as some of the comments indicate the range does not inspire much confidence that Honda is serious about this whole plugin thing. Honda should not be given a break until they are.

As always, what’s enough AER comes down to an argement between the purists (who should have Give me a BEV or Give me Death! tattoed on their foreheads), and the pragmatists, who want to see PEVs gain mass adoption. I’m of the second group, and reducing the price and hassle factor of PEVs while providing a significant amount of AER with zero range anxiety will put more butts in seats than $70k Teslas will. When GM designed the Volt, they determined from surveys that a 40 mile AER would cover 78% of the populations’ routine daily driving needs. 35 miles covered 75%. IIRR, 20 miles AER still covers 50% of the populations’ routine daily driving,, and something like 40% of all trips are 2 miles or less (one-way). I feel that an AER around 20 miles is the current sweet spot for mass appeal, large enough to result in a substantial decrease in fossil fuel use, but small enough to not require people to install a 240V circuit to fully charge it overnight, minimizing the cost and hassle factor especially for renters; able to provide 5 real seats and little or no encroachment on cargo space, while also not carrying… Read more »

GRA I agree with your pragmatism. Consider that Ford essentially sells cars with EV as an option. That is, you can buy a Fusion, a Fusion hybrid or a Fusion Energi. The additional cost of the Energi vs hybrid is basically offset by the tax credits/rebates especially in California. So even offering EV capability as a zero cost option gets few takers. EV acceptance will be a long slow effort. The good news is that once people try EVs they are hooked for life. Whatever each manufacturer chooses to do is helpful. All cars with plugs are good.

I agree with most of your ideas except when you say the EV capability is a zero cost option. You give up some cargo space with the Energi options. Yes, you get a better drivetrain but that and the price do not matter if people don’t think it will haul their people or cargo. Also, you give up selection with the Energi ones compared to your choices without the plug — especially when it comes to the high volume ICE Fusion. When I compared plug-ins a couple years ago, there were plenty of Volt’s and Leaf’s and dealers were offering discounts. There were little Fusion Energi’s and no C-Max Energis in the area or to dealer trade in the West Coast region. If I wanted one I could pay sticker and get the next one that came in. Or, take my pick from dozens of color options and trim levels in the non plug-in models. That makes a difference too. Later that year, the local dealers had lots of Energis, but the Volt inventory was down when my friend wanted to pick one up. Earlier in the year, Leaf inventory was sparse. It is easier for the dealer to sell… Read more »

I have a PHEV myself, so I do agree with you in general, just Honda’s timing. 2018 is a full 3 years away. By that time I expect 40 miles of AER to be not very good at all on a brand new car.

Competition isn’t going to halt their progress just because Honda isn’t forward thinking enough.

Maybe Honda plans to compete on price. If the MSRP is $25,000, it should sell like hotcakes even if the AER is only 40 miles.

How many Americans drive less than 40 miles per day? 70% or more?

I’ve driven my Accord Phew 36,000 miles and used 404 gallons of fuel for an average 89 mpg. 48% of the miles have been electric and 52% with gas. When using gasoline, I average 46 mpg. A 40 mile range would allow me to have 88% of my driving to be electric. My historical driving has including working as an Uber driver for a month, a 1200 mile trip to Yosemite, a trip to Big Bear in the mountains. I usually run the AC in the summer. With a 40 mile EV range, I would use 3 gallons of fuel per month vs my current 13. Increasing the range to 50 miles would be nice but would only shift the EV portion of driving from 88% to 90%. 60 Miles would bring it to 92%. But that’s my driving pattern. I would only save 1 gallon of gas per month with 60 vs 40 mile range improvement. Given I have been able to charge at work about 50% of the time. As a CPA, I think about this in terms of money and the environment. Performance is less of a concern for me but I’ll take what they give me.… Read more »

good history and support for a low AER, Thanks!