Honda Unveils the Hybrid-Electric Accord
July 7, 2004
American Honda released the first images of its 2005 Accord V6 Hybrid on June 28th, and although it may not look much different, the new vehicle packs a lot of technology under its hood. Using what Honda is calling a "next-generation hybrid powertrain," the new vehicle delivers more than 240 horsepower. It also takes advantage of the electric motor's high torque at low speeds, delivering "near-peak torque" across the engine's entire operating range, according to Honda. The Accord Hybrid will be Honda's first vehicle to incorporate Variable Cylinder Management technology, which deactivates three of the six cylinders during cruising and deceleration. Honda claims the Accord Hybrid will deliver more power and performance than the current Accord V6, while achieving the fuel economy of a four-cylinder Civic. The new Accord Hybrid goes on sale this fall. See the Honda press release.
Automakers are introducing a number of hybrid vehicles this fall, and the market for them appears ripe. Honda has sold more than 14,000 Civic Hybrids in the first half of this year, a 24.8 percent increase over sales in the first half of 2003. Better yet, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. has sold 21,783 Prius hybrids, an increase of 119.4 percent over last year. And that doesn't tell the whole story: Toyota announced in late June that its current U.S. order backlog is at 22,000 vehicles, and the company is trying to increase its U.S. allocations from the factory in Japan. Only the Honda Insight is lagging, with weak sales: Honda sold only 485 Insights in the first half of this year, a drop of 39 percent compared to the first half of 2003. See the Honda press release and the June 22nd and July 1st press releases from Toyota.