Honda hybrid cars
Based on its vision of "Blue Skies for our Children," Honda is working to help advance technologies that can address society's environmental and energy concerns through a comprehensive 'portfolio' approach that involves both advanced powertrain and energy technologies for the near and longer term. This portfolio approach encompasses more fuel-efficient gasoline-powered vehicles, including the expanded deployment of affordable hybrids and the development of viable alternatives to petroleum, including natural gas, battery electric, plug-in hybrid and hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicles, as well as advanced energy production and distribution technologies such as solar cells, co-generation systems, and more efficient means of producing renewable biofuels.
Honda has steadily advanced and expanded the use of its Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid technology, first introduced in the original Honda Insight in 1999. Today, Honda has three distinct hybrid models - the Civic Hybrid, the first Honda hybrid to utilize lithium-ion battery technology; the Insight, the most affordable hybrid automobile in America; and the sporty CR-Z hybrid coupe.
Integrated Motor Assist
Integrated Motor Assist uses an electric motor mounted between the internal combustion engine and transmission to act as a starter motor, engine balancer, and assist traction motor. The theory behind IMA is to use regenerative braking to recapture some of the energy lost through deceleration, and reuse that energy later on to help accelerate the vehicle. This has two effects: it increases the rate of acceleration, and it reduces the work required of the petrol engine. The acceleration boost is important as it allows the engine to be scaled down to a smaller but more fuel-efficient variant without rendering the vehicle overly slow or weak. This smaller engine is the primary reason cars equipped with IMA get better highway mileage than their more conventional counterparts.
Vehicles equipped with IMA can shut off their engine when the vehicle stops and use the electric motor to rapidly spin it back up when the driver releases the brake pedal. They also have a conventional starter as a backup, making it the only production hybrid system which can operate with its high voltage electric system disabled, using only its engine like a traditional vehicle. However, since the IMA also acts as the vehicle's alternator, eventually the 12 volt accessory battery would require an external charge.
Honda hybrid models