Presenting the Honda FCV Concept at 2015 North American International Auto Show in January, Honda announced that it will launch a new battery-electric model and plug-in hybrid model by 2018. Almost nothing was known about these two products, until credible reports started emerging recently alongside the world premiere of the Honda Clarity Fuel Cell.
So far, we’ve known that the 2018 Honda EV and the 2018 Honda PHEV will be based on the Honda Clarity Fuel Cell‘s platform, and also the reasons behind this move, but more about that later in the story. A new report from Autoblog suggests that the forthcoming plug-in hybrid vehicle may have around 40 mile (64 km) electric range. The report says that Honda engineers have set a target of offering electric range three times higher than that of the Honda Accord PHEV (13 miles/21 km). This should allow the driver to do most of the city driving in all-electric mode.
The American publication got to drive a ninth generation Accord development mule that was powered by a prototype of the future plug-in hybrid model’s powertrain. According its report, the plug-in hybrid powertrain revs loudly under hard acceleration. Wakashiro Teruo, a Honda representative who was present during the drive, said that more or less the only common things between the Accord PHEV and the forthcoming PHEV are the dual-motor configuration and the clutch. The electric motors are more efficient and powerful, and the software has been updated.
[Unrelated – A quick round-up of the 2014 Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid’s features]
Coming to reasons why Honda decided to use the Clarity Fuel Cell’s platform for the 2018 Honda EV and 2018 PHEV, it’s mainly about saving on development and production costs, as per a recent report. And resultantly, the company will also be able to build all vehicles on the same production lines.
Moreover, Mr. Teruo indicates that the Clarity Fuel Cell’s chassis can be most flexible to make changes required for different countries and the infrastructure available there. Making different chassis would lead to significant increase in costs. Mr. Teruo confirmed that using the same chassis for the next electric vehicle is also possible, but didn’t confirm if the company has decided to do so. However, the aforementioned recent report did confirm that the EV will have the same chassis.