Lift off the gas, and the regeneration starts right away, instead of when the brakes are applied, as on most other hybrids. Once the brake pedal goes down, Honda introduced a unique electric servo-braking system that holds off on using the hydraulic brakes to push the maximum amount of regeneration as possible. Because this could have the strange feel of little resistance at first, Honda has included a system it calls the pedal feel simulator to normalize pedal feel.
At least, that’s the theory. From the driver’s seat, there’s still some lumpiness involved in the brake pedal feel, most often once the actual hydraulic brakes kick in when coming to a stop, but also occasionally at higher speeds, when even pressure on the brake pedal can still come with the odd slight spikes in retardation. This is nothing new in hybrid vehicles, and found in some plug-in ones as well, as the car shifts braking from between regeneration mode of the motor and the actual hydraulic brakes.
But this system, like most hybrid systems to a lesser extent, should help save on brake wear, as the electric motor’s regeneration mode is enough to often brake the vehicle entirely down to about eight km/h, outside of hard or emergency stops, when full hydraulic pressure is used. Where did this system debut? On the Accord Hybrid in Canada, but in reality, said Mori, the Honda Fit EV.
The engine itself is a 2.0L Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder, and with the 124 kilowatt electric motor, puts out a combined 196 hp, that electric motor putting out a total of 226 lb-ft of torque just on its own, while the gas engine helps out with 122 lb-ft. The overall effect on acceleration on the road is not in sports sedan territory, but it’s enough to make the Accord Hybrid a responsive mid-size sedan that’s electric initial oomph does a fairly good impression of a V6, while the fuel consumption numbers suggest closer to subcompact (or mid-size Prius hatchback) efficiency.
Impressive Yet More Realistic Fuel Consumption Numbers for 2015, Though less so in Deep Winter
Speaking of which, a quick look at the official fuel consumption numbers of an Accord Hybrid versus its family sedan rivals shows the effectiveness of all these systems. Though Honda Canada originally quoted a super low average of 3.8 L/100 km when the Accord Hybrid hit the market in 2014, those were using the old and very optimistic Canadian two-cycle fuel efficiency figures. Using the updated five-cycle 2015 figures, it still lands at a very respectable 5.0 L/100 km, which outdoes the Ford Fusion Hybrid, Camry Hybrid and even the Toyota Prius V crossover, the Accord Hybrid landing just above the regular Prius model’s 4.7 figure.
And the upcoming 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid is said to receive similar drivetrain technology and a fuel efficiency average of 5.0 L/100 km as well, using technology borrowed from the Volt plug-in hybrid.