Look for Honda’s latest Accord Hybrid ($29,155) to hit US showrooms by the end of this month. Finally someone is getting close to the Toyota Prius mpg… close but not quite as good yet. The 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid uses a 1.3 kWh lithium-ion battery pack to get a 50 mpg city rating. The Accord Hybrid has a tiny 2.0 liter four cylinder Atkinson-cycle engine making 140 hp at 6,200 rpm (with a 124 kW electric motor/generator).
The Honda Accord Hybrid has three operating modes, all-electric, combined gasoline/electric mode (like the Chevy Volt), and traditional gasoline power mode (powering the wheels from the gas engine).
The Honda Accord Hybrid has no transmission, despite the mention in Honda’s literature and specs of an “electric continuously variable transmission.” Honda is talking about the use of the gas engine-electric generator-electric drive motor chain to provide desired power levels when the vehicle is operating in combined gasoline/electric mode.
However, the electric motor is permanently locked to the driving wheels, enabling the EV-only and combined gasoline/electric modes, and a simple clutch locks the gas engine to the driving wheels in direct-drive mode. Avoiding the slippage of continuously variable transmissions is another reason the Accord Hybrid has such excellent fuel efficiency. Regenerative braking also helps, and can be set to various levels of aggressiveness.
While the entry level hybrid version of the Accord costs about $6,500 more than the typical Accord… it does come with extra goodies. The Accord Hybrid has a rearview camera, Expanded View driver’s mirror, Honda’s Lane Watch blind spot display, 17-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime headlights, a ten-way power drivers seat, and a 160-watt stereo system. All this gas sipping goodness and a 7.5 second 0-60 mph time.