In September this year, the new 2008 Honda Accord will hit showrooms. The hybrid version of the popular midsize sedan though will not be making an appearance as Honda announced that it will be discontinuing the production of its Honda Accord Hybrid units. A spokesman for the company announced the news following the sales report of the company in the United States which reflected the dwindling sales figures of the hybrid.
“We have found that our hybrid system works better on smaller cars,” says Chris Naughton speaking for the second largest Japanese car manufacturer.
The use of hybrid technology became popular when the price of gasoline started skyrocketing. Hybrid cars use an electric motor to provide assistance to an internal combustion engine. For smaller cars, the use of electric motors means that during low-power operation, the engine is turned off while the electric motor powers the car. This translates to increased fuel economy as the electric motor gets its power from a high power output battery pack.
For larger cars though, the use of a hybrid powertrain is mainly to give the car a better performance. The additional power provided by an electric motor increases the power and torque output of a car. But with this application, the electric motor is not used alone. This means that the fuel savings is less than when a hybrid powertrain is used on a smaller car.
The slight increase in fuel economy led Honda car buyers to opt for the conventional Accord than the Accord Hybrid. Owing to the added electric motor, battery pack and modified engine parts, the Honda Accord Hybrid is priced more than the conventional Accord. With a difference of 6 miles in terms of gas mileage rating, the higher price of the Accord Hybrid does not justify its fuel economy according to Honda car buyers.
Honda though promised that they will be coming up with a hybrid vehicle which is not a version of their popular car models such as the Civic Hybrid. The company announced that the hybrid car will be released in 2009. According to Honda, the vehicle will be smaller and less expensive than the current Honda Civic Hybrid.
The Honda Accord is a bigger than the Civic and is equipped with a bigger engine than its direct competitor, the Toyota Camry Hybrid. The Accord hybrid uses a V6 engine unit with an electric motor which produces 253 horsepower. This increase in power though is second only to the consideration of car buyers as they are looking for fuel efficient cars which can justify the higher price of hybrid vehicles.
The Toyota Camry, on the other hand, is equipped with a smaller four-cylinder engine which returns more miles for a gallon of gasoline. This makes the Camry a better choice for many car buyers. Last month, 14 percent of all hybrid vehicles sold in the United States auto market were Camry Hybrids. The Honda Accord Hybrid only managed to corner 1.4 percent of the hybrid vehicle market.
After the announcement that the Accord Hybrid will be dropped from Honda’s lineup, there were speculations that Honda will be introducing a diesel version of the Accord. According to auto industry experts though, Honda will likely wait for Volkswagen or Mercedes-Benz to test the United States auto market for its reception of diesel cars.