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Honda develops new hybrid-drive systems

Three different systems serve vehicles of different sizes and purposes

Published: November 12, 2012, 10:00 PM

Honda Sport Hybrid System

Honda has developed a new lightweight and compact one-motor hybrid system, called Sports Hybrid Intelligent Dual Clutch Drive, for use in small vehicles,

The new hybrid system part of the company's Earth Dreams Technology series of new-generation powertrains and the third type of hybrid to be used in various Honda vehicles.

The other two include the so-called Sport Hybrid Intelligent Multi Mode Drive for mid-sized vehicles and the Sport Hybrid SH-AWD (Sport Hybrid Super Handling - All Wheel Drive) for AWD vehicles.

Sport Hybrid Intelligent Dual Clutch Drive

The new small-car system combines a newly developed inline 4-cylinder 1.5-litre Atkinson-cycle engine with a seven-speed Dual Clutch Transmission and a single high-output electric with a lithium-ion battery.

The combination is said to improve efficiency by more than 30% compared to a conventional one-motor hybrid system.

During start up and low- to medium-speed cruising, the clutches disengage the engine so power comes only from the electric motor. During acceleration and high-speed cruising, the clutches automatically engage the engine to provide additional power.

The clutch system is also used to increase energy regeneration by disengaging the engine during deceleration.

Sport Hybrid Intelligent Multi Mode Drive

Honda says its two-motor Sport Hybrid Intelligent Multi Mode Drive is the world’s most efficient two-motor hybrid system when optimized for mid-sized vehicles, according to the company's Honda’s internal research (as of August 2012).

It combines a newly-developed 2.0-litre Atkinson-cycle engine, using Earth Dreams Technology and dedicated for hybrid vehicles, with an electric CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) coupled with two built-in motors and a lock-up clutch

A smart control system can switch operation among three driving modes depending on driving conditions and the battery charge level, as follows:

- "EV Drive" for using only the electric motor and electricity from the battery and regeneration during deceleration

- "Engine Drive" for medium-to high-speed cruising with the engine and axle directly connected by a lock-up clutch and engine power mechanically transferred to the wheels

- "Hybrid Drive" for urban driving and acceleration using the motor with electricity generated by the engine (series hybrid)

This hybrid system, which is also suitable for use as a plug-in hybrid, will be used in the North American Accord, scheduled to be introduced to the market in January 2013.

Sport Hybrid SH-AWD

The three-motor Sport Hybrid SH-AWD system combines a new 3.5-litre direct-injection V-6 engine with a newly-developed seven-speed Dual Clutch Transmission system with a built-in electric motor.

This unique Honda technology also uses two electric motors installed in the rear to control torque distribution to the right and left rear wheels.

Using independent motors for the rear wheels, positive torque is applied to the outside wheel and negative torque is applied to the inside wheel in a turn, making independent control of torque distribution to the rear wheels possible without relying on engine output.

Depending on the radius of the curve, the energy generated by the inside wheel is recovered electrically and applied to the outside wheel to self-generate torque necessary for the vehicle to make the turn.

Look for the next-generation NSX to employ this system when it goes into production.