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Honda Reveals 2005 Hybrid Accord Plans at Detroit Auto Show
Honda Motor Company, Ltd., announced last week that it will introduce a hybrid-electric version of its mid-size Accord later this year, as a 2005 model. The Accord Hybrid will combine a V6 engine with Honda's Integrated Motor Assist technology, making it the third hybrid electric vehicle offered by Honda. It will also be the first production vehicle to employ Honda's Variable Cylinder Management technology, in which three of the engine's six cylinders can be deactivated when they are not needed. According to Honda, the combined technologies will allow the Accord Hybrid to achieve a fuel economy "equivalent to a four-cylinder Civic." Today's Civics achieve gas mileages in the mid-30s (in miles per gallon); the six-cylinder Accords achieve mileages in the mid-20s. Honda made the announcement at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), now underway in Detroit.
The concept behind Honda's Variable Cylinder Management technology was first introduced in 2001 by General Motors Corporation, which calls it "Displacement on Demand." But the first company to offer the technology in a U.S. production vehicle will be the Chrysler Group, which will offer its "Multi-Displacement System" on the 2005 Chrysler 300C and Dodge Magnum RT starting this spring. The system will allow the vehicles to switch between eight- and four-cylinder modes of operation, cutting fuel consumption by about 10 percent on average. See the Chrysler Group press release.
Honda accompanied its Accord Hybrid announcement with news that it has developed its own fuel cell stack, which the company will incorporate into its FCX fuel-cell vehicle next year. According to Honda, the new fuel cell stack is "a remarkably compact unit that delivers higher performance with increased range and fuel efficiency" and is designed to operate at temperatures as low as minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit. Honda claims it is the world's first fuel cell stack to feature a stamped metal separator structure combined with newly developed electrolyte membranes. See the Honda press release.