While we wait for Honda India to officially launch the all-new CR-V in the country, the model has been upgraded with a new hybrid drivetrain for the European markets. The system includes two electric motors and an Atkinson-cycle petrol engine.
Speaking of the petrol motor, there’s a 2-litre petrol motor which is paired to an electric motor and a lithium ion battery pack. The maximum output is 184bhp 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.
Honda’s i-MMD technology automatically switches between three driving modes to provide the highest possible efficiency. These modes include EV Drive, Hybrid Drive and Engine Drive. In EV Drive, the car draws energy from the lithium-ion battery pack to power the electric propulsion motor and drive the wheels (with the petrol engine turned off). In Hybrid Drive, the petrol engine powers a second motor/generator that supplements electrical energy from the battery pack. Lastly, In Engine Drive, 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 highway cruising.
At a moderate cruise, the CR-V Hybrid will typically run in EV Drive for more than half of the time, whilst at faster speeds, the car will be in EV Drive for approximately one third of the time. The control software of the i-MMD system will constantly decide when to shuffle between these modes to maximise efficiency dependent on the situation and environment, without input from the driver.
Engineers on the CR-V Hybrid programme have worked hard to ensure that the transfer between power sources – including the engine stop-start function when stationary – is virtually imperceptible to the occupants. The i-MMD system has been tuned to provide a linear feel through acceleration, with optimised calibration between throttle input and powertrain response, to ensure the engine noise matches the driver’s expectations.
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.