Since 1999, Honda has used its Integrated Motor Assist system in its hybrid fleet, along with nickel-metal hydride batteries. They are contemplating replacing their aging IMA system with a more modern hybrid system utilizing lithium-ion batteries.
Everybody is getting in on the hybrid act, and while Honda was one of the first companies to hit the hybrid market, it hasn’t exactly met with massive success. The Insight has come and gone and come back again, and yet it hasn’t come even close to the success of the Prius. Honda has the new CR-Z, which also uses the IMA system, but according to a report from the Detroit Free Press, they are seriously considering an update to something more modern.
The hot commodity among hybrid car makers right now are lithium-ion batteries. The “mild hybrid” system Honda uses right now can’t be used with lithium-ion batteries, and as seen in the Insight and CR-Z, it isn’t really all the beneficial to the fuel economy either. The CR-Z doesn’t even break 40 mpg on the highway, yet cars like the Cruze and Fiesta manage to do so without any hybrid system whatsoever.
If Honda does go to a new system, we’d likely first see it in Honda’s luxury brand, Acura, before it filtered down to cheaper cars. About time I say. I wasn’t at all impressed with the CR-Z’s EPA numbers, and a new hybrid system may be just what they need to kickstart their hybrid program.
Source: Detroit Free Press
Chris DeMorro is a writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to Hemis. You can follow his slow descent into madness at Sublime Burnout.