Honda India is about to officially bring the all-new CR-V in the country and while it will be available in both petrol and diesel power, there is also a hybrid version that will be launched in Europe early next year. Here’s how the all-important hybrid powertrain works for optimum efficiency.
The hybrid setup of the CR-V features multiple drive modes thanks to the two electric motors, an Atkinson-cycle petrol engine and a direct transmission. In fact, the car gets a 2-litre i-VTEC petrol engine, an electric motor and a lithium ion battery pack. The maximum output is 185bhp with torque of 315Nm. Rather than using a conventional transmission, a single fixed-gear ratio creates a direct connection between moving components, resulting in a smoother transfer of torque. This format means Honda’s system is more refined than a planetary e-CVT typically found in other hybrid vehicles.
The multi-drive system automatically switches between three driving modes to provide the highest possible efficiency. These modes include EV Drive which draws energy from the lithium-ion battery pack to power the electric propulsion motor and drive the wheels (with the petrol engine turned off). Meanwhile, in Hybrid Drive mode the petrol engine powers a second motor/generator that supplements electrical energy from the battery pack. Lastly, in Engine Drive mode, a lock-up clutch mechanism creates a direct connection between the petrol engine and the wheels.
In most urban driving situations, the CR-V hybrid will automatically transition between Hybrid Drive and EV Drive for optimum efficiency. In Hybrid Drive, excess power from the petrol engine can also be diverted to recharge the battery via the generator motor. The Engine Drive mode is the most efficient set-up for high-speed highway cruising. At a moderate cruise, the car will typically run in EV Drive for more than half of the time, while at faster speeds, it will be in EV Drive for approximately one third of the time. The control software will constantly decide when to shuffle between these modes to maximise efficiency dependent on the situation, without input from the driver.
Production of the 2019 Honda CR-V hybrid for European markets is set to start in October 2018, with the first customer deliveries in early 2019. The India-spec new CR-V, on the other hand, will be available in petrol and diesel versions only. Click here to read our first drive review of both the powertrain options.