The new for 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid goes on sale today, with a reasonable pricetag, a 50 MPG EPA rating, an almost impossibly low-emissions 4 cylinder engine, a torquey electric motor, and withOUT a conventional transmission.
As I mentioned in my initial review of Honda’s 50 MPG Accord Hybrid earlier this month, this new Honda is different from other hybrids. Instead of an engine connecting to a conventional gearbox or CVT, the new Honda’s engine is directly connected to the drive wheels. The torque multiplication of lower gears is simulated with variable input from the electric motors at low speeds. As before, the best way to sum it up is like this: the 50 MPG Accord Hybrid drives exactly, precisely, and inimitably like a slot-car.
The batteries, electric motors, and Earth Dreams engine inside Honda’s new hybrid are definitely awesome, but the real magic to the car is in its ECU …
… which is massive.
The 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid’s driving dynamics and fuel efficiency all come down to that box up there. Much more than a conventional ECU, the Honda unit acts as a voltage converter and capacitor, handling how much juice goes from the battery to the motor and back into the battery during regenerative braking and engine braking. It’s a marvel, and it’s complicated enough that the three Honda reps I was listening to describe all did so using slightly different, equally simple, deceptively confusing analogies. Still, the system works- the implication there being that Honda’s engineers are smarter than me … and I can live with that.
You can buy the 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid today for as little as $29,155, which climbs to $34,905 with all the digital, leather, and sliding see-through roof goodies tacked on. So, that’s it. Go out and get you one.
Source | Photos: Honda.