Wow, I am impressed, but not surprised, that Honda has come up with such a fuel-efficient car. I guess until a really viable and affordable EV can be developed (without worry that the Li battery in it will explode or overheat!), cars like this are great options to typical gasoline-powered vehicles. 50 miles to the gallon is nothing to sneeze at.
Cap'n, this is an interesting application of control technology to gain fuel effieicncy. In the mid 1990s I got a car that had adaptive shifting for the transmission. This allowed shift points to be adaptively changed according to how the driver used the gas. Recently, I was looking at vehicles with my son, and we were at one dealer who mentioned that the fuel efficiency of his new car had just been increased by a change in the software in the engine management system. I believe in that case that he said the shift points were modified. The Honda in this article uses control technology to pick the mode adaptively. These are all good examples of how much our fuel efficiency increases have been driven by engine controls. I think that 54.5 MPG number is well within reach.
You're absolutely right, naperlou. Engine management is critical to achieving these numbers. Honda told us that the three modes we mentioned above are dependent on a variety of factors, the main ones being level of load, accelerator position and status of battery charge.
Yes, Liz, 50 mpg is impressive, especially in a car the size of the Accord. As far as pure EVs go, I'm not worried about the overheating batteries. Engineers can always control those issues. The bigger worries will be range and cost.
I didn't think of the size of the Accord but now that you mention it, Chuck, yes, 50 mpg seems more like something a Civic (which I used to own in the early 2000s) could achieve. So now I am even more impressed! I hope you're right about the battery issues...if it's something that can be controlled I wonder why mishaps keep happening.
I agree Chuck. And those developments will probably go hand-in-hand with hybrid developments. Market acceptance, though, will likely depend on economics. If technology can bring down the price of hybrids and EVs, and if oil prices begin rising again, that could drive acceptance. But fracking has created a wave of new oil in this country. When they start fracking around the world. we'll see oil prices come down for an extended period.
A 1.3 kw-hr battery? Really? Why even bother!? It won't be eligible for federal tax incentives with that size battery either!
Other than Nissan, the Japanese carmakers are clearly a follow the leader / let's make sure it works first / never cutting edge / avoid risk whenever possible car manufacturer. We heard just last week that Toyota is sticking to its hybrids because "the world isn't ready for pure electrics yet" . . . I can't wait to watch GM take back the global automotive crown.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.