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Along with a new lineup of direct-injection gasoline engines and a performance-oriented electric SH-AWD equipped V6 hybrid model, Honda has announced a new two-mode hybrid system that will come paired with a 4-cylinder engine. Replacing the brand’s out-dated Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) single-mode hybrid system it will allow for an electric-only range at low speeds, as well as a full gasoline mode and a combination hybrid mode.
Using an electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack mated to a new 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine Honda is promising it will be the world’s most efficient hybrid drivetrain, while also making the bold statement that it will deliver “enhanced driving performance.” Whether or not that means it is capable of topping the Prius’ 50-mpg rating and offer reasonable power remains to be seen.
Regardless, we’re not likely to see the system used in a small hybrid with Honda creating the two-mode hybrid to first be used in mid-sized vehicles. We saw the first example of this with the new two-mode hybrid (a plug-in version) being used in an Accord model (above) during a technical presentation and driving event held at the company’s Twin Ring Motegi race facility.
A new Honda hybrid system has been rumored and reported on for quite some time, but now the wait is over – almost. Honda has announced a car using the new plug-in hybrid powertrain will begin production next year, with a non plug-in version arriving 12 months later in 2013.
Chrysler finally brings two Hybrids to market, but with 5.7-liter Hemi engines…
For 2009, Chrysler has announced it will offer it’s first production Hybrids, the Dodge Durango and Chrysler Aspen Hemi Hybrids. As the name would suggest, both are powered by environmentally-friendly gasoline-electric hybrid engines. Ironically, however, the gasoline engine is a 385hp 5.7-liter V-8.
40 PERCENT BETTER FUEL ECONOMY IN THE CITY
Chrysler doesn’t seem to see the irony, however, and is more interested in promoting the idea that it is possible to have a fully-functional SUV with a 6,000 lb towing capacity that is not AS bad for the Earth. And they do have a point, as the Dodge Durango and Chrysler Aspen Hemi Hybrids are designed more for reduced fuel economy in the city. The Hybrid models are expected to have a 25 percent increase in fuel economy overall with a 40 percent increase in the city.
Of note, the two SUVs use a new two-mode full hybrid system, which was developed in partnership with General Motors, Mercedes-Benz and BMW.
In the first mode, the engine can operate in any of three different ways: electric power only, engine power only, or a combination of both. In the second mode, used for highway speeds, passing or towing, the full engine power is enabled as well as an electric assist.
Both the Aspen and Durango Hemi Hybrids will use a variable automatic transmission that automatically switches between the two modes.
One innovation that Chrysler has added to the two-mode system is that it can function with the company’s MDS system, which allows the engine to operate using all eight or just four cylinders.
Chrysler Aspen Hemi Hybrid
Official release after the jump: