By Kathy Jenkins
The 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid has improved its gasoline economy from 41 mpg to 44 mpg and is now using a lithium-ion battery for energy. For automobiles that do not plug into the power grid, the Civic Hybrid has solidified its second-place position with the improvement in fuel economy. The rise in gas mileage helps make the Civic closer to the Prius and ahead of the Lexus CT 200h. Because the Civic Hybrid is not really a hatchback, Honda claims that it is the most fuel-efficient sedan on US highways.
The Integrated Motor Assist is going to be the fifth released hybrid powertrain system that the 2012 Civic Hybrid uses, which is thin, pancake like electronic motor/generator. The system is similar to Ford and Toyota where it assists the gasoline engine by being sandwiched between the transmission and engine. Even though the car can be operated by just electric power, it usually uses a mixture of both electric and gasoline engines. All engine parts still keep moving even when the car runs for a while on electric power. If the car stops the engine shuts off, and then starts up again when it is time to go, like other hybrid vehicles.
The new 2012 Civic Hybrid includes a larger gasoline engine, along with the shift to lithium-ion batteries. In spite of the boost from 1.3-liter engine to 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine, the horsepower from both electric and gas continue to be the same. The engine works by using the electric motor more often because the engine runs at a lower RPM due to the larger displacement, which results in a quieter ride. Every element of the hybrid system was modified, like the increase of the motor output from 15kw to 20kw. To better take care of temperature, it now uses plastic spacers, together with using more coils and magnets that are widely spaced. The horsepower with the motor has been accelerated simply by three horsepower to 23 horsepower.
The 20-kw Li-ion battery is a major advancement over the nickel-metal hydride battery that was used in the previous model, providing an extra 5kw of power with 30% less weight. Together with the battery’s 35% improvement in efficiency and the IMA system’s greater power, the Civic Hybrid is now offering the capability of using only electric motor power more often, in certain times of cruising at low speeds. Considering the move to lithium battery, the problems that affected the previous battery should now be resolved. Finishing the IMA system is going to be the continually variable transmission. The transmission works similar to a 10-speed bicycle which comes with a drive pulley and a driven pulley which are linked with a steel belt. It is a combination of a manual transmission and also a conventional geared automatic transmission.
With reliable advancements in fuel-efficiency and battery, the 2012 Civic Hybrid has certainly earned its honors. It is definitely giving the Prius a run for its money.