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    Honda Announces Development of New Honda Hybrid System with 3-Stage i-VTEC + IMA
    New Civic Hybrid powertrain scheduled for fall 2005 introduction

    July 5, 2005 — TORRANCE, Calif. — American Honda Motor Co., Inc., will introduce a New Honda Hybrid System in the 2006 Civic Hybrid that features a 3-stage i-VTEC engine that employs Honda’s “intelligent” VTEC (Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control) system to provide three stages of valve timing (low-rpm, high-rpm and cylinder idle mode), combined with a significantly more compact and efficient Honda IMA (Integrated Motor Assist) system. The New Honda Hybrid System will be introduced in the all-new Civic Hybrid, to be launched this fall, and will offer significantly improved performance and fuel economy over the current system.

    The New Honda Hybrid System employs intelligent engine functions and a more efficient IMA system to achieve an approximate 20 percent increase in system output over the current system and performance similar to a 1.8-liter engine while improving fuel economy by about 5 percent , reducing the system size by 5 percent and attaining a world-leading level of emissions performance.

    The 3-stage i-VTEC engine employs three hydraulic pathways to couple and uncouple five rocker arm assemblies, providing three stages of valve control depending on the driving conditions to achieve a combination of responsive driving and high fuel economy. During deceleration when the cylinders are idle, combustion in all four cylinders is halted and the cylinders are sealed shut, reducing pumping losses caused by engine aspiration for a 10 percent improvement in recovery of braking energy compared to the current model. To reduce friction, Honda is using aluminum die-cast pistons (which feature low thermal expansion for less friction under high-temperature conditions), ion-plated piston rings and plateau honing of the cylinder walls for a smoother surface.


    Honda’s independently developed electric motor employs coils with high-density windings and high-performance magnets to attain output 1.5 times that of the current model while maintaining the same size. The inverter used to control motor speed–also independently developed and manufactured by Honda–is integrated with the motor’s ECU for more precise digital control, contributing to even greater motor efficiency and fuel economy. Battery output power has been increased by around 30 percent over the current model, while a more compact, custom designed battery storage box offers increased cooling performance and vibration resistance for enhanced long-term reliability.

    A dynamic regenerative braking system is employed that hydraulically controls the brakes based on the amount of brake regeneration. This permits maximum braking regeneration along with smooth deceleration that conforms to brake-pedal pressure.

    The air conditioner features a hybrid compressor unit powered by either the engine, an electric motor, or both. When the engine is in Idle Stop mode, the motor powers a small compressor. If rapid cooling is required, an additional compressor powered by the engine engages also. When the interior temperature is stable, air conditioning is provided by the motor alone for both improved comfort and fuel savings.

    New Honda Hybrid System Modes of Operation

    • Vehicle stationary

      • The engine is turned off and fuel consumption is zero.

    • Startup and acceleration

      • The engine operates in low-speed valve timing mode with motor assist.

    • Rapid acceleration

      • The engine operates in high-speed valve timing mode with motor assist.

    • Low-speed cruising

      • The valves of all four of the engine’s cylinders can be closed and combustion halted, the electric motor alone can power the vehicle.

    • Gentle acceleration and high-speed cruising

      • The engine operating in low-speed valve timing mode powers the vehicle.

    • Deceleration

      • The valves of all four of the engine’s cylinders are closed and combustion halted. The motor recovers a significant portion of the energy normally lost during deceleration and stores it in the battery.

    Specifications* for the New Honda Hybrid System

    Power source Engine Engine type and
    Number of cylinders
    Water-cooled in-line 4-cylinder
    Displacement (cc) 1,339
    Bore x stroke (mm) 73.0 x 80.0
    Electric motor Electric motor type AC synchronous drive (Ultra-thin DC brushless motor)
    Rated voltage (v) 158
    Performance Engine Max. output
    Max. torque
    Electric motor Max. output
    Max. torque

    (Engine +
    Electric Motor)
    Max. output
    (horsepower /rpm)
    Max. torque
    (lb-ft. @ rpm)

    *All values according to Honda in-house calculations
    **Horsepower and torque calculations reflect new SAE J1349 procedures revised August, 2004
    High-resolution graphics for download by the media are available at www.hondanews.com. Consumer information is available at www.honda.com.
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