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Frankfurt show: Honda CR-V Hybrid a chance for Aus

Electrified: The CR-V Hybrid Prototype will have its public debut at the Frankfurt motor show and is a ‘maybe’ for the Australian market.

Honda Australia is still looking at the business case for the CR-V hybrid

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Honda logo6 Sep 2017

By TIM NICHOLSON

HONDA Australia says it is still looking at the business case for importing the petrol-electric hybrid version of the CR-V SUV, but a decision is yet to be made on its future Down Under.

The Japanese car-maker has released a series of images of the CR-V Hybrid Prototype ahead of its public debut at the Frankfurt motor show next week.

At the Australian launch of the CR-V in late July, Honda Australia product-planning manager, Chander Balasubramanian, said a petrol-electric CR-V was the preferred choice over diesel variants that are offered in other markets such as Europe.

“We are looking at that (CR-V hybrid) option,” he said. “But it is currently not available out of Thailand.

“Globally many manufacturers are moving towards hybrids, so I believe the hybrid has a good chance in Australia. We are working on it constantly but I cannot say when we will make that decision… and we are trying to understand how we can position that and once we finalise that we can work out the sourcing issues.”

A Honda Australia spokesperson told GoAuto today that the business case was still open and an outcome was yet to be reached.

“As we indicated at the CR-V launch recently, the hybrid is an option but clearly we need a good business case going forward.”

The CR-V Hybrid Prototype uses a two-motor Intelligent Multi-Mode Drive (i-MMD) system with an electric motor combined with a 2.0-litre i-VTEC four-cylinder Atkinson cycle petrol engine, paired with a single fixed-gear ratio instead of a traditional automatic transmission.

Honda says the i-MMD system determines how to use petrol and electrical energy in the most efficient way, meaning the driver is not required to swap between the three driving modes that include EV Drive, Hybrid Drive and Engine Drive.

As expected, EV Drive uses the batteries for electric only drive, while in Hybrid Drive the engine supplies power to the electric generator motor, which then delivers power to the electric propulsion motor.

For Engine Drive, the CR-V is driven by gasoline engine, with an ‘on-demand’ peak power ‘boost’ available from the electric propulsion motor.

Honda Australia discontinued a number of petrol-electric models in the past three years including the Accord, Jazz and Civic Hybrid and the CR-Z sportscar, leaving the $420,000 NSX supercar as the company’s only hybrid offering.

If it does get the go-ahead for an Australian launch, the hybrid-powered CR-V would have few rivals in the mainstream mid-size SUV segment beyond the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV that arrived in facelifted guise in April this year priced from $50,490 to $55,490 plus on-road costs.

The CR-V was launched in late July and had a strong first full month of sales in August with 1168 units shifted, representing a 66 per cent hike over August 2016 and ensuring the nameplate’s best month of sales since June 2014.

It was enough to outpace the monthly figure for the increasingly popular Kia Sportage (1059) and Nissan’s X-Trail (1008), but still trailed the big-hitting Mazda CX-5 (2048) and Hyundai Tucson (2206).

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