Honda, already on American roads with one of the most fuel efficient electric vehicles out there, is now aiming to up its game in the hybrid space as it tries to take back market share from Toyota.
The Japanese automaker recently announced plans for a revamped hybrid system in its Fit small car that’s said to offer the highest fuel economy among all hybrid models in Japan.
The Fit Hybrid, scheduled to drop in Japan this September, reportedly will have a fuel economy of 36.4 km/L, or around 86 MPH, according to the Japanese fuel test cycle. That tops the Toyota Prius c, which currently is the best hybrid out there in terms of fuel economy. Sadly though you likely won’t see this version of the Fit coming to American shores, though Honda does still have some plans to fortify its hybrid offerings here in the States.
What’s being offered in the Japanese version of the Fit Hybrid is the company’s new Sport Hybrid Intelligent Dual Clutch Drive (i-DCD) system. It is a lightweight, one-motor design targeting small sized vehicles, and adopts a a newly developed inline 4-cylinder 1.5L Atkinson cycle (high expansion ratio cycle) engine. It also consists of
a 7-speed DCT system with a built-in high-output motor, and IPU (intelligent power unit) equipped with a built-in lithium-ion battery. Moreover, adopting an electric servo brake system that increases electrical regenerative efficiency and a fully-electric compressor that reduces engine load, the Sport Hybrid i-DCD improves the vehicle’s fuel economy by more than 35% compared to a current IMA hybrid system.
This system is automatically capable of changing into one of three driving modes “by engaging and disengaging the engine and motor depending on driving situations.” These modes include electric only, hybrid (gas/electric) and gas only.
As for what will be coming to us here domestically, it is reported by Automotive News that “hybrid versions of a Fit-based small crossover and sedan are planned for the United States. Those vehicles are expected to arrive as early as next year.” We also may see a redesigned, conventional gas engine version of the Fit by 2015.