At last week’s Frankfurt auto show, automakers vied to show that Tesla won’t overtake them by introducing a passel of battery-electric vehicles themselves. Here’s a look from Clean Fleet Report of one of those new electrified cars that you could be driving by the end of this decade.
Honda Joins the Compact SUV Hybrid Club
Last week, Honda unveiled its CR-V hybrid prototype at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show. Featuring some new styling changes, reminiscent of the new Civic Type-R, the CR-V hybrid boasts an Intelligent Multi-Mode Drive system, dubbed i-MMD. The system (based off the current Accord Hybrid) is comprised of a 2.0-liter i-VTEC four-cylinder gasoline engine, an electric motor and a separate electric generator.
Rather than using a normal automatic transmission, the system uses a single-ratio direct drive transmission. This allows for seamless transition between three driving modes: EV Drive, Hybrid Drive and Engine Drive.
In EV Drive mode, power is drawn solely from the batteries and sent to the electric motor, allowing for emission-free driving. When in Hybrid Drive mode, the gasoline engine supplies power to the electric generator, which in turn delivers power to the electric motor. In Hybrid mode, any unused power from the gasoline engine can be redirected to recharge the batteries. In Engine Drive mode, the wheels are driven by the gasoline engine, with ‘on-demand’ boost available from the electric motor.
While it has not yet been announced that the CR-V Hybrid will come to North America, it will reach Europe sometime in 2018 and is likely to find its way to the U.S. after that.
Crossovers Get Electrified
But does Honda’s Frankfurt reveal also tell us something about global auto-market trajectory?
While Honda’s CR-V Hybrid is still one of only a few crossover vehicles to be electrified, it seems to be the beginning of a larger trend. As the market moves away from sedans in favor of lifted “lifestyle” hatchbacks, it is only a matter of time before hybrid and electric crossovers become the leading segment.
In fact, Toyota’s RAV4 Hybrid has already raced past the clearly aging Prius V in sales numbers. Admittedly, Subaru’s XV Crosstrek Hybrid did not last long, Nissan’s Rogue Hybrid has followed a similar trajectory. Kia added the hybrid Niro. Ford has followed the trend, announcing an electrified version of its Escape (to replace the departing C-Max Hybrid), while Chevrolet dropped a diesel engine in the Equinox to maximize fuel economy. The race is on.
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