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|Honda at The 76th Geneva Salon
|Civic Type R Concept promises driving thrills
The iconic and hugely popular Honda Civic Type R owed its success to an unbeatable combination of high performance and affordability that instantly captured the hearts and minds of driving enthusiasts. At the 76th Geneva Motor Show Honda will be presenting the world debut of the Civic Type R Concept, which forms the basis of its successor.
Based on the new Civic 3-door which will appear in Europe later this year, the Civic Type R Concept adopts the bold and emotional styling of the widely acclaimed 5-door hatchback. The power comes from Honda’s 200 PS 2.0-litre, DOHC i-VTEC unit, the same competition-proven, high-rev pedigree engine as used in the out-going model. That means it will be as exciting to look at as it will be to drive.
The production version, like its predecessor, will be built at Honda’s Swindon, UK, plant and is due to go on sale in early 2007.
The new European-specification Legend, combining outstanding luxury and world-first technology, is also to be unveiled at Geneva.
Its 3.5-litre, 24-valve, V6, all-aluminium VTEC engine generates 295 PS at 6,000 rpm and 353 Nm of torque at 5,000 rpm for effortless performance matched to low emissions. Inside, Honda’s flagship saloon is as luxurious as it is sporty, and features rich leather and wood trim.
A technological tour de force, the Legend features a wide array of safety-enhancing driving aids. Standard on all models is Honda’soriginal Super Handling All-Wheel-Drive system (SH-AWD) which complements the Vehicle Stability Assist programme. SH-AWD is more than just a conventional four-wheel drive system with front-to-rear torque variation and, by means of a pair of electromagnetic clutches in the rear axle, is capable of proportioning the torque between left and right rear wheels.
When accelerating during cornering, SH-AWD accelerates the outer rear wheel, which helps the car to turn in more readily. If the car is decelerating during cornering, the torque balance is controlled to counteract oversteer. The result is extremely neutral handling and outstanding vehicle stability.
Other features fitted as standard include the dual stage front airbags; side and curtain airbags; a Bose premium audio system; AudioPilot active noise cancellation, which neutralises road, wind and other intrusive noises by sending out an opposite phase signal through the audio system; Active Front Lighting System (AFS) featuring directional lighting; keyless entry; satellite navigation with a voice recognition function and RDS-TMS to help the driver plot a route around traffic congestion; and a rear view camera to assist parking.
The Legend’s pedestrian protection measures include a standard pop-up bonnet, one of the first of its kind on the market. Activation by a pyrotechnic device, in the event of an impact, occurs in milliseconds and its effect is to help cushion the pedestrian’s body.
Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) is available as an option. The system uses information from a grille-mounted radar system to measure the distance to a vehicle ahead and, via the cruise control system, regulates vehicle speed and vehicle distance.
ACC is supplemented with the Collision Mitigation Brake System (CMBS), which predicts potential collision situations and reacts to reduce the impact on occupants and vehicle damage by activating driver warnings, initiating braking and, via E-Pretensioners, retracting seatbelts in readiness.
In addition, right-hand drive models can also be specified with Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), another device already seen on the new Accord. This system uses a camera mounted behind the top of the windscreen to identify the lane in which the vehicle is travelling and to correct any deviation via an appropriate input to the steering.
FCX Concept – a vision of the next generation fuel cell vehicle
The nature of current fuel cell technology has typically placed constraints on vehicle design, but the Honda FCX Concept, first revealed at the Tokyo Motor Show and now making its European debut, provides a first glimpse of how the next generation production fuel cell car might appear. The sleek, premium four door sedan features a unique, low-floor fuel cell platform permitting the kind of driving pleasure and roomy interior previously unimaginable in a fuel cell vehicle.
Oxygen and hydrogen flow from top to bottom (vertical gas flow) in Honda’s V Flow fuel cell stack, therefore, solving the problem of cold-weather start-up. The V Flow fuel cell stack’s ultra-low-temperature start-up performance is on par with that of petrol engine. Furthermore, with the fuel cells arranged vertically in the centre tunnel for new high-efficiency packaging, Honda was able to achieve a compact yet robust fuel cell stack, enough to put out 100 kW of power.
The FCX Concept drive train features three energy-efficient motors: one 80 kW unit in the front; and a 25 kW motor in each rear wheel. A newly developed hydrogen absorption material in the tank doubles storage capacity to 5 kg, extending cruising range to 560 km (350 miles), thereby greatly enhancing practicality.
Notable features include driver recognition using sensors and intelligent cameras; an instrument panel able to tilt up and down by 45 degrees in response to vehicle speed to give either a sense of security or a relaxed feel; and a system that recognises the driver’s line of sight to allow hands-free operation of controls.
Honda plans to begin production in Japan of the next generation FCX in three to four years.
Home Energy Station: powering both car and home
Refuelling infrastructure will be a key issue in the progress of fuel cell vehicles and, as well as pioneering fuel cell developments, Honda is intensively researching home refuelling systems. The Home Energy Station, which will be displayed at the Show, is a comprehensive system designed to not only supply hydrogen fuel for vehicles, but also meet home energy needs by supplying electricity, heat and hot water.
Generating hydrogen from natural gas supplied for residential use, the Home Energy Station is equipped with fuel cells that generate and supply electricity to the home, and is configured to recover the heat produced during power generation for domestic water heating. In addition to reducing carbon dioxide emissions by some 40%, the Home Energy Station system is expected to lower the total running cost of household electricity, gas and vehicle fuel by 50%.
Simulators demonstrate safety technology
The Honda stand at the Geneva show will feature two Advanced Technology Simulators (ATS) which allow visitors to experience for themselves some of the new technologies fitted in the new Legend, including, SH-AWD system, Intelligent Night Vision System and E-Pretensioners.
Honda Formula One machines, past and present
In commemoration to Honda’s return to F1 circuit this season as a 100% Honda racing team, the Honda booth at the 76th Geneva Motor Show will feature three all-Honda machines—a 2006-liveried machine flanked by Honda RA271 (1965) and RA272 (1966), both from an era when Honda last participated in the championships as a full-factory team.