|Tokyo, December 13, 2001 ---
Honda Motor Co., Ltd. has released a highly practical new sedan, the Civic
Hybrid, which boasts ultra-high fuel economy of 29.5km/L*1-the highest in
the world for a 5-passenger gasoline-powered production vehicle. The new
Civic Hybrid goes on sale Friday, December 14th at Honda Primo dealers throughout
The Civic Hybrid was designed to meet the following three objectives: to
achieve the world's highest level of environmental performance; to offer
all the practicality of a passenger sedan; and to deliver high-quality,
powerful performance. An improved, even more fuel-efficient version of Honda's
original IMA (Integrated Motor Assist) System has been installed on the
same Global Compact Platform used for the Civic Ferio. The Civic Hybrid's
ultra-high fuel economy and clean emissions are matched by an opulent, leading-edge
interior and exterior design and a custom-tuned chassis, giving the new
vehicle the quality feel and elegant driving performance one would expect
from a luxury sedan.
The Civic Hybrid features a state-of-the-art VTEC Cylinder Cut-off System-equipped
1.3L i-DSI*2 engine. The new engine incorporates i-DSI lean-burn combustion
technology, along with the VTEC Cylinder Idling System that adapts Honda's
VTEC variable valve control technology to significantly increase the amount
of electrical energy recovered during deceleration.
This new engine is combined with an assist motor featuring improved performance,
a more efficient Power Control Unit (PCU), and the Honda Multimatic S continuously
variable transmission. The results are both ultra-high fuel economy and
superior drivability. Moreover, the new Civic Hybrid's clean-burning performance
has also earned it recognition by the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure
and Transport as an Ultra Low-Emissions Vehicle.
Honda has long been committed to preserving the environment, and has worked
to develop vehicles that are both cleaner-burning and more fuel efficient.
In the field of cleaner emissions. Honda's goal is to ensure that all its
passenger vehicles are recognized by the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure
and Transport as Low-Emissions Vehicles by 2002, and that nearly all are
recognized as Ultra Low-Emissions Vehicles by 2005. Honda is working to
improve the fuel economy of its vehicles by 25% (as compared to Japanese
domestic average fuel consumption for 1995) by 2005.
||10-15 mode (Japanese Ministry
of Land, Infrastructure and Transport figures)
||DSI: Dual & Sequential Ignition
New Civic Hybrid-Main Features
New Honda IMA System
The new IMA System employs a gasoline engine as its main power source, assisted
by an electric motor as the need arises. It offers improved efficiency over
the previous IMA System on which its design is based. The Insight, which
was equipped with the previous IMA system, boasted the world's highest fuel
economy for a production vehicle.
During acceleration and other instances of heavy engine load, the motor
assist system contributes considerable torque, resulting in both lower fuel
consumption and powerful acceleration. At cruising speeds, when engine load
is lower, the motor assist system shuts down. The newly developed 1.3-liter
i-DSI lean-burn engine with the VTEC Cylinder Cut-off System achieves the
highest standard of fuel economy in the world.
During deceleration, the motor converts the dissipated energy into electricity
(regenerative braking). The newly developed VTEC Cylinder Cut-off System
reduces engine friction during deceleration, greatly improving the vehicle's
electrical regenerative efficiency.
When stopping, at traffic lights for example, the engine shuts off automatically,
then restarts immediately when the driver steps on the accelerator pedal.
This automatic idle-stop system contributes to both greater fuel efficiency
and lower emissions.
New 1.3-liter i-DSI Engine with VTEC Cylinder Cut-off System
- The 1.3-liter i-DSI engine's rapid combustion characteristics combined
with a configuration of two spark plugs per cylinder allows the fuel-air
mixture to be made even leaner, for improved fuel economy.
- The rocker arms that open and close the intake and exhaust valves are
configured for dual operation in either valve-lift mode or idle mode. Normally,
they are engaged via a synchronizing piston. During deceleration, the synchro
piston is positioned inside the idle-mode rocker arm, disengaging the lift-mode
rocker arm so that the valve remains at rest, effectively sealing off the
cylinder. Three of the four cylinders can be shut down, achieving 50% lower
engine friction during deceleration than the previous IMA System.
- Also featured are both a high-density, 900-cell three-stage catalytic
converter and a lean burn-compatible adsorption-type NOx catalytic converter.
The result is a clean-burning engine that meets exhaust-gas emissions standards
for ultra-low emissions vehicles set by the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure
New Motor Assist System
- The motor assist system is composed of an ultra-thin DC brushless motor,
a nickel metal hydride battery, and a Power Control Unit (PCU). The new
system employs a higher-output motor, a more efficient battery, and a lighter,
more compact PCU, resulting in greater packaging freedom.
- Improvements to the internal magnetic coils of the ultra-thin DC brushless
motor, which boasts the world's highest output density and practical efficiency,
achieve 30% greater assisting and regenerative torque than the previous
model. A sintering diffusion bonding process is used to firmly fuse different
metals together, allowing the most appropriate materials to be used in construction
of the rotor to meet the different demand criteria for its inner section,
which transmits torque, and for its outer section, which is in contact with
the magnetic coils. Strengthening the section that transmits the torque
and increasing the magnetic-flux density results in higher torque output.
- The inverter and the pre-driver have been combined, reducing the weight
of the PCU by around 30%, and its volume by around 40%, in comparison to
the previous system.
- The efficiency of the battery modules has been increased, resulting in
reduced energy loss. The battery's storage box and peripheral equipment
have been made more compact, for an approximate 30% reduction in volume.
- The lighter, more compact, more efficient PCU and battery have been integrated
into a single Intelligent Power Unit (IPU) that can be stored behind the
- Integrating the IPU allows the two cooling circuits previously used to
be combined into one. Total volume of the PCU and battery has been reduced
by around 50% over the previous system.
Packaging efficiency has been significantly improved by storing the IPU
behind the rear seat and employing a flat-floor design.
- The Civic Hybrid was designed with smart, aerodynamic styling. Special
aerodynamic parts are employed throughout for increased aerodynamic performance.
A feeling of solidity and power combines with this aerodynamic form for
a leading-edge look.
- In addition to the integrated front grill/aerodynamic bumper and the trunk
spoiler, the entire body has been designed to maximize aerodynamic performance.
Innovations include a vehicle height lower than the base model and a flattened
undercarriage with engine under-cover and rear floor side covers. The result
is superior, top-of-class aerodynamic performance in a practical sedan design.
Custom seat coverings, a black wood-grain center panel, and chrome-plated
parts throughout are highlighted by a chic, sporty instrument panel that
combines digital and analog displays, including a self-illuminating, 3-gauge
cluster. These and other features lend the Civic Hybrid's custom interior
the luxurious, leading-edge feel that one would expect in a hybrid vehicle.
The Civic Hybrid's custom-tuned suspension employs the same configuration
as other models in the Civic series (front toe-control, link strut; rear
reactive-link, double wishbone), along with EPS (electric power steering).
Steering mounts have been made more rigid, the front stabilizer bar has
been made thicker, and a rear stabilizer added as well, resulting in luxurious
ride comfort combined with comfortable handling.
- Honda's original G-CON (G-force Control) technology is incorporated to
create a new body with a crash safety design that is among the best in the
world. It offers passenger protection in a 55km/h full-frontal collision,
a 64km/h front offset collision, 55km/h side collision, and a 50km/h rear
- To further improve safety in real-world collisions, Honda has implemented
its own vehicle-to-vehicle collision testing program with its own independently-established
standards*3. This collision testing is much more demanding than conventional
tests in which the car is crashed into a fixed barrier. The Civic Hybrid's
safety design meets even Honda's own stringent testing requirements.
- Integrating the new Honda IMA System's high-voltage components in a single,
compact IPU located behind the rear seat away from the passenger compartment
secures crushable zones to protect occupants from rear and side collisions.
This, coupled with a warning system that detects electrical faults, ensures
a high level of safety, guarding against electrical shocks even in the event
of a collision. Further collision safety measures, including additional
strengthening materials and stronger mounting sections, are unique to the
||Test involves a 50% front offset collision with a 2-ton class vehicle,
both vehicles traveling at 50km/h.
- In addition to the new Honda IMA System's outstanding fuel economy, hydrocarbons,
nitrogen oxides, and other pollutants in the exhaust gas have been greatly
reduced. In fact, the Civic Hybrid runs so clean that it is recognized by
the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport as an Ultra
Low-Emissions Vehicle, with emissions of less than 25%*4 of those allowed
under year 2000 emissions regulations.
- Recycling starts at the production stage. Almost all interior injection-molded
parts are made of olefin resin for superior recyclability. This and other
measures result in an overall vehicle recyclability of over 90%*5.
||Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport figures.
||According to independent Honda measurement standards.