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.
More: Honda Two-Mode Hybrid Promises to be World's Most Efficient, Headed to Production in 2012