What is it? Honda’s first plug-in hybrid is a well-equipped Accord sedan that can run electric-only for 10 to 15 miles, at speeds up to 60 mph. It can also operate, as demand arises, in combined gas/electric mode, like a regular hybrid, or gasoline-only.
Power comes from a 137-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine and/or a 124-kWh electric motor. When running in gas/electric mode, combined power reportedly tops out at 196-hp. Although relatively small, the 6.75-kWh lithium-ion drive battery pack still takes up about a bit of trunk space.
Honda says that the car can cruise 500 miles on a full charge and full tank. One benefit of the somewhat modest-sized drive battery is that charging times are short: Using a 220-volt Level 2 charger, Honda claims that a full charge takes less than an hour and less than three hours at 120-volts. Reportedly, a Level 2 charger will provide about eight miles of EV driving with just a half hour charge. Unlike the Prius plug-in, the Accord system has an “HV Charge” mode, which uses the gasoline engine to recharge the drive battery while moving, if desired.
CR’s take: The plug-in Accord poses a credible threat to the Prius plug-in, albeit in a different form. Overall fuel economy is apt to be better than the non-hybrid, which is pretty good to start with.
When will it be available? Early 2013.