It’s been years since Honda gave up on its Accord hybrid, but it appears the Japanese company might be ready to give it a second chance sometime next year.
Honda Motor President Takanobu Ito was on hand at the Tokyo Motor Show earlier this week and told Bloomberg that the company is working on a hybrid powertrain specifically for mid to large-sized vehicles. Ito didn’t say what those vehicles would be, but the logical choices would be the Honda Pilot SUV and Odyssey minivan.
The Accord hybrid, however, is confirmed for the Japanese market. Honda hopes to have hybrids account for half of its sales in Japan by March 2012. There’s no word if Honda will export the hybrid to the United States or other markets. Honda previously offered an Accord Hybrid from model year 2005 to 2007. That model’s powertrain consisted of a V-6 engine mated to a 16-hp electric motor for a net rating of 255-hp, which was 15-hp more than the regular V-6 model. It was marketed as a performance hybrid that achieved a respectable 0-60 mph time of 6.6 seconds, compared to the V-6’s time of 6.5 seconds. And most importantly its EPA fuel rating was 23/31 mpg (city/highway), which was a big improvement over the V-6’s 18/21 mpg.
Sales, however, never really took off, likely due to its price premium of more than $3,000 over the V-6. Honda will likely take a more conservative route with the upcoming Accord hybrid, focusing on fuel economy rather than performance. Honda has yet to release details on the powertrain, but the company will likely combine an electric motor with a four-cylinder, rather than the V-6 used in its first attempt.