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Honda At The Frankfurt Motor Show
|September 11, 2007– Honda is presenting the world debut of the exciting Accord Tourer Concept at this year's Frankfurt motor show, which provides a strong indication of the design direction of the forthcoming, all-new generation Accord range. A press conference will be held on the Honda stand in Hall 5 on the first Press Day, 11th September, between 13.15 and 13.45.
The stand focuses around the twin themes of "Sports" and "Environment" on the ground level and a comprehensive line-up of car, bike and power equipment products. The "Environment" area centres upon Honda's ground-breaking environmental technology including the Small Hybrid Sports Concept, Honda's i-DTEC next-generation clean diesel engine and the production Civic Hybrid. The FCX Concept with its fully-functioning fuel cell technology is also on display.
The "Sports" area of the stand includes Honda's current F1 racing car, the RA107 piloted by Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello, alongside Civic Type R and Honda S2000 production models.
To emphasize the major contribution made by motorcycles towards Honda's sporting prowess and reputation there are examples of both the Repsol Honda RC212V from this year's MotoGP series and one of the HM Plant Honda CBR1000RR Fireblades which so successfully contested this year's Isle of Man TT races.
The extensive line-up of production motorcycles also includes the world's first production motorcycle airbag system, available on the new Gold Wing.
Strong sales performance
Honda's participation at Frankfurt takes place against the backdrop of a particularly successful period for Honda, with its European operations enjoying record sales this year. Over the first seven months of 2007, 235,523 cars were sold - up 22.9 per cent on the same period the previous year in a market that remains fairly static. Over half of those vehicles were produced within the European region..
The CR-V and Civic have been particularly strong performers and over the first seven months CR-V was up 81.7%, to 54,006 and the Civic up 41.2% to 91,029 units. Honda's award winning diesel engine continues to take an increased share of total sales - above a quarter - with sales up to July of 61,860, up 22.2%.
The Accord Tourer Concept
The premiere of the Accord Tourer Concept provides a strong indication of the design direction of the all-new generation Accord Tourer set to debut in mid-2008. The wider, lower look signals a sportier, more emotional styling approach, and while the design of the current Accord Tourer maximises its load-carrying capability, the new model goes for smarter, sleeker proportions while retaining a strong degree of versatility and practicality.
The Concept's greater width makes for a more spacious cabin and also allows an increased track for enhanced handling characteristics.
The all-new Accord range will boast one of the first all-Euro 5-compliant engine line-ups. Two petrol engines of 2.0 and 2.4-litre capacities and a 2.2-litre i-DTEC diesel engine mirror those in the current Accord range, but power output will be boosted and emissions and fuel economy significantly improved.
The latest engines will be complemented by innovative new chassis technology that will deliver exceptional handling, greater linear stability and a more involving driving experience without compromising ride comfort.
The all-new Accord will debut in Sedan and Tourer forms at the 2008 Geneva motor show.
i-DTEC - Honda's Next-Generation Clean Diesel Engine
Honda's development program for its next-generation diesel engine, which uses world-first technology to reduce emissions to a level equal to that of a petrol engine, continues apace.
The first phase of the program - compliance with the forthcoming Euro 5 legislation - has already reached fruition, and an example of the new engine, which makes its first appearance in next year's Accord range, is being shown on the stand.
Using a combination of the latest injection technology, more efficient exhaust gas recirculation and a diesel particulate filter, the 2.2 liter i-DTEC engine comfortably exceeds the Euro 5 requirements. This achievement has not been at the expense of engine performance, however, and both power and torque levels have been increased and fuel economy improved compared to the current 140 PS unit.
Euro 5 compliance is required for all new type approvals from September 2009 and for all new cars from January 2011. Under the requirements, emissions of particulates from diesel-engined cars are reduced by 80 per cent compared to Euro 4 (down from 25 to 5 mg/km), while NOx levels are cut from 250 to 180 mg/km.
Meeting US Tier II/Bin 5 requirements
Honda continues to work on the second phase of development of its latest diesel engine and has already achieved compliance with the stringent US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Tier II/Bin 5 emissions requirements. This is of particular significance to the European market in that the Tier II standards are even more demanding than the Euro 6 requirements which remain at the proposal stage.
Tier II is the second stage of US emissions standards and is split into eight permanent and three temporary certification levels called ‘bins' to which vehicles are certified. When fully implemented in 2009, a manufacturer's light-vehicle fleet has to meet the average NOx standard of approximately 43.5 mg/km (0.07 g/mile) - the Bin 5 level (and equivalent to California's LEV II standard).
The Bin 5 43.5 mg/km NOx level compares to the less stringent proposed Euro 6 limit of 80 mg/km for diesel engines from 2014.
A key feature of this second phase of engine development is an innovative catalytic converter that uses the reductive reaction of ammonia to 'detoxify' NOx by turning it into harmless nitrogen. However, unlike Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) systems that use urea injection supplied from a storage tank, Honda's innovative technology uses ammonia generated directly within the catalytic converter.
It features a two-layer structure: one layer adsorbs NOx from the exhaust gas which, during periodic rich burn controlled by the engine management system, reacts with hydrogen obtained from the exhaust gas to produce ammonia; the latter is then adsorbed by the second layer. During lean burn operation, the ammonia is used to convert the remaining NOx in the exhaust, since ammonia is a highly effective reagent for reducing NOx into nitrogen in oxygen-rich, lean-burn atmospheres. The system also provides enhanced NOx reduction efficiency in the most critical temperature range of 200-300°C for diesel engine exhaust gas systems.
Petrol engines presently employ three-way catalytic converters that offer NOx reduction rates as high as 99 per cent, but this performance is possible only at the stoichiometric air fuel ratio. In the oxygen-rich environment of a lean-burn diesel engine, three-way catalytic converters only reduce NOx levels by approximately 10 per cent. Honda's new technology efficiently reduces NOx in a lean-burn atmosphere, enabling diesel engines to rival gasoline engines in cleanliness. The system's compactness also means it can easily be installed downstream of the standard diesel oxidation catalytic converter and diesel particulate filter (DPF).
Alongside its development of exhaust gas cleaning technology, Honda also plans to address other technical challenges in developing clean diesel engines, such as handling diesel fuels with different cetane numbers (a problem in some markets) and meeting US On-Board Diagnostic System requirements.
Diverse Line-Up Reflects Breadth of Honda's Expertise
The Honda stand is focused around the twin themes of "Sports" and "Environment" on the ground level, as well as a comprehensive line-up of car, bike and power equipment products.
The "Environment" area centres upon the FCX Concept with its fully-functioning fuel cell technology. The car recently made its European driving debut on the Swedish island of Gotland, in Sweden, an area of striking natural beauty which the local authorities are working to protect. Such environmental considerations made it an ideal venue for the European debut of a fuel cell vehicle whose only "exhaust" emissions is water. Limited marketing of this new vehicle is on target to begin already next year, 2008, in Japan and the U.S.
Small Hybrid Sports Concept
The "Environment" area features Honda's ground-breaking environmental technology and includes the Small Hybrid Sports Concept developed at Honda R&D Europe's design studio based in Offenbach, Germany. Demonstrating a unique fusion of advanced hybrid technology and fun-to-drive sports car characteristics, it's being presented in the blue and green hues of the myearthdream.com colour scheme of Honda's Formula 1 car.
The Small Hybrid Sports Concept explores the idea that a car can have a low environmental impact, yet still deliver all the driving enjoyment expected of a compact sports car. Its IMA petrol/electric hybrid system drives through the front wheels and the two-door sports coupe design features short front and rear overhangs, an accentuated, arrow-like nose and a one-piece glass roof which terminates in a concave full width glass element forming an additional vertical window.
Compact dimensions help deliver nimble, agile performance and a good power-to-weight ratio, while a 2350 mm wheelbase in conjunction with a sports suspension, delivers stable and predictable handling characteristics.
Thin film solar cells
Solar energy is one potential source for the generation of electricity which in turn can be used to produce the hydrogen required for fuel cells. Honda continues to research solar cell technology and has just begun mass production of thin film cells at its wholly-owned solar cell subsidiary, Honda Soltec Co., Ltd. Examples are displayed on the stand.
The thin film cell - developed by Honda Engineering Co., Ltd - is made from a compound of copper, indium, gallium and selenium (CIGS), which generates less carbon dioxide during the production stage than conventional technologies.
The "Sports" themed area of the stand includes Honda's F1 racing car, the RA107 currently being campaigned by Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello and, underlining the company's strong motorsport heritage, alongside the latest F1 car is one of Honda's first, the 1967 RA300. They're joined by the Civic Type R and Honda S2000 production models.
A natural link between the two zones is the Civic Hybrid which was entered into and successfully completed this year's ADAC 24 hour race at the Nürburgring, finishing ahead of many conventional entries.
To emphasise the major part played by motorcycles in establishing Honda's enviable sporting record, examples of both the Repsol Honda RC212V from this year's MotoGP series - raced by Dani Pedrosa and Nicky Hayden - and one of the HM Plant Honda CBR1000RR Fireblades which contested this year's Isle of Man TT races are on display. The Fireblade allowed John McGuinness to record the first 130mph lap of the circuit and take victory in the Senior TT Race.
There is also a wide range of power equipment products on show demonstrating how widely used they are in daily life and underlining the diversity of Honda.
Motorcycle airbag enters production
Naturally, safety research also plays a key role in motorcycle design, exemplified by the world's first production motorcycle airbag system now available on the new Gold Wing motorcycle shown on the stand.
By conducting extensive crash tests at its indoor omni-directional Real World Crash Test Facility, applying advanced computer simulation technology, and leading the way with the introduction of motorcycle rider test dummies, Honda has gathered and analysed a wide array of data on the behaviour of motorcycles during collisions. The motorcycle airbag is the result and it can help lessen the severity of injuries caused by frontal collisions.
Also on display are two further examples of Honda's expertise in advanced mobility.
Reaching for the skies there is an example of the company's jet engine which is due to enter production in 2010 at a new manufacturing plant in Burlington, North Carolina.
With its feet firmly planted on the ground, ASIMO, Honda's humanoid robot, is also on display, explaining all the developments that it has gone through and even hinting at what lies in store for its future.