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Hybrid Honda Jazz for Australia by end of year

New greenie: Honda will add a fourth hybrid to its Australian line-up when the Jazz version joins the existing Civic, Insight and CR-Z.

Honda Australia to tackle Toyota Prius C with new hybrid Jazz by year’s end

1 Mar 2012

HONDA Australia has confirmed it will launch a hybrid version of the Jazz light car by year’s end in a bid to tackle the forthcoming Toyota Prius C.

This petrol-electric Jazz will become the fourth hybrid model in the Honda Australia range, behind the second-generation Insight hatchback, the CR-Z coupe and the Civic Hybrid – a new generation of which was released earlier this week (see separate story linked below).

Honda pioneered hybrid motoring in Australia when it released the oddball first-generation Insight in March 2001, and Honda Australia director Stephen Collins told GoAuto this week that Jazz was an important part of its hybrid strategy.

“We’re planning to add Jazz hybrid to the line-up towards the end of this year,” he said.

“It is an important model for us in the light segment. We’re pretty happy with where Jazz is positioned for us at the moment, and adding the hybrid adds another string to our bow.”

While Honda currently offers Australia’s cheapest hybrid car in the form of the $29,990 Insight VTi, Toyota last month revealed it would undercut this by “thousands of dollars” when it launched the Yaris-sized Prius C later this month.

15 center imageFrom top: Jazz EV, Accord Coupe concept, new Civic Hybrid, new Civic hatch and new CR-V.

But with Jazz hybrid now confirmed, Honda has a chance to reclaim the title, with the Japanese-built car sure to slot in under the larger Insight in the range.

Powered by the same Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) petrol-electric drive system as the Insight, the Jazz hybrid combines a 65kW/121Nm 1.3-litre i-VTEC engine with a 10kW/78Nm electric motor for total outputs of 75kW and 199Nm.

This powertrain drives the front wheels through a CVT transmission and offers fuel economy figures of 3.3L/100km (Japanese combined cycle). CO2 emissions are also extremely low at 77g/km.

However, while the hybrid is confirmed, Honda has re-iterated that it will not introduce the all-electric Jazz EV to Australia any time soon, and will instead concentrate on hybrids as well as continuing to make its petrol and diesel engines more efficient.

Honda has never offered a diesel model in Australia, but the brand has plans to introduce oil-burning versions of the forthcoming new Civic hatch and new CR-V compact SUV models in 2013. Mr Collins told GoAuto that the lack of EV charging infrastructure in Australia was “clearly an issue”.

“There are a few companies that are trying to pave the way there but I think it’s going to be pretty hard yards for a while,” he said.

The Jazz EV is powered by a Toshiba-sourced 20kWh lithium-ion battery and a 92kW high-density coaxial electric motor derived from the FCX Clarity fuel-cell electric vehicle.

The estimated driving range is 198km on a single charge using the US EPA city cycle test method, although the Japanese manufacturer also quotes a combined-cycle city/highway EV range of 122km.

The Jazz EV will be available for leasing in the US from the middle of this year.

Mr Collins also confirmed to GoAuto that the next-generation Accord mid-sized car would arrive locally in the first half of next year, but said the brand was not likely to introduce a diesel version.

Honda previewed the next-generation Accord at the Detroit motor show in January in the form of a muscular coupe concept. The brand promised a plug-in hybrid version of the car and also revealed the sedan variant will be slightly smaller than before.

This prompted speculation that the brand might have bitten the bullet by merging its dual Accord variants – the American-designed Accord and the smaller Japanese-developed Euro – but Mr Collins told GoAuto that the brand was keen to continue with split-model strategy in Australia for the next model.

What’s coming from Honda:
Civic hatch petrol – July
CR-V petrol – Q4
Jazz hybrid – Q4
Civic diesel – Q1 2013
CR-V diesel – Q1 2013
Accord – Q2 2013

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