At the on-going 2017 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Honda has confirmed that the company will be launching a new dedicated hybrid model in 2018. Honda also said that the model will be made in the US, but of course, this doesn't mean the model will not be produced in Japan or elsewhere.
“To further grow sales of electrified vehicles in addition to the Accord Hybrid and Clarity Plug-in, I'm pleased to announce that Honda will launch an all-new, dedicated hybrid vehicle next year. This model will utilize our innovative 2-motor hybrid system and will be made in the U.S,” said Takahiro Hachigo, President and CEO of Honda Motor Co. Ltd.
Hachigo also added that the dedicated hybrid model will contribute to Honda’s goal of having electrified vehicles contributing two-thirds of their global sales by around 2030.
The last time Honda sold a dedicated hybrid model was in 2016, when the CR-Z was discontinued. Two years earlier, the Honda Insight had also been dropped from Honda’s global line-up.
Both models were slow sellers but it did rather well in spot markets like Malaysia, where imported hybrids were given full tax exemptions between 2011 and 2014.
Elsewhere, Honda’s mild-hybrid Intelligent Motor Assist (IMA) system were less appreciated as they weren’t that economical in the real world, and because it still relied on the petrol engine to drive the car (with the electric motor assisting), it wasn’t very smooth in stop-go traffic and early models (except the Civic Hybrid) shuts down the air-conditioning compressor whenever the engine is shut off.
Now, Honda no longer use IMA and all their hybrid models are powered by full-hybrid systems, meaning that the electric motors are powerful enough to drive the car from standstill, thus they are smoother, and the air-conditioning operates independently off the petrol engine.
The yet to be named dedicated hybrid model will be powered by the same two-motor i-MMD (Intelligent Multi-Mode Drive) hybrid system that’s currently employed in the Accord Hybrid (not sold here but available in Thailand).
Honda didn’t say what body style or size will this dedicated hybrid model be but if you look around the marketplace, all dedicated hybrid models namely the Toyota Prius and Hyundai Ioniq – are more or less within the C/D segment, and often take the form a very predictable low front and hightail Kammback styling for optimum efficiency.