Will the CR-V be the next electrified Honda

By Robert Duffer, Chicago Tribune

Imagine a crossover like the Honda CR-V getting 63 mpg. That’s what the UK will be getting this fall with the 1.6-liter i-DTEC diesel engine Honda CR-V. Clean burning diesel has come a long way. By comparison, the 2.4-liter gasoline engine in the 2wd 2014 Honda CR-V gets 26 mpg combined, which is still in the higher range of fuel economy for gas-powered non-hybrid CUVs.

With so many German and even a few American automakers offering more and more diesels—13 models for 2014—we were hopeful Honda might consider our diesel ineptitude a thing of the past.

“Honda has always produced vehicles to local market requirements,” said Dev Mistry, a spokesperson for Honda UK. “We have no current plans to bring a diesel engine CR-V model to North America.”

In a well-reasoned statement, Honda went on to say that its strategy in the US has been to constantly improve efficiencies of its gas engines. “Our focus [in the U.S.] is to expand our petrol hybrid line-up and look towards EVs and plug-in hybrids.”

With its demographic crossover appeal, the CR-V is the ideal class for a powertrain that maximize fuel efficiencies. Honda’s been electrifying compacts for years so electrifying a compact SUV seems a reasonable leap.

In 1999, Honda produced the ugly Insight, the first mass produced modern hybrid in America. Honda’s alternatively-fueled, hybrid and electrified family continues to grow. In addition to the second generation Insight without that ridiculous rear wheel half-cover, Honda offers the sporty compact CR-Z hybrid and the Civic hybrid. The 2014 Fit EV has been plugging into eight states on the West and East Coasts and is expected to grow. Honda recently announced pricing and specs for the 2014 Accord plug-in, to be sold only in California and New York.

This fall Honda will introduce the all-new Accord Hybrid without a plug. The two motor hybrid system will achieve class-leading fuel economy, says Marcus Frommer, spokesperson for Honda North America. 

How far off is an electrified CR-V?

With the Honda Accord plug-in vying for market share against the Ford Fusion Energi plug-in, will Honda take similar competitive leaps in the booming crossover class?

“We believe the two-motor system has the potential for a broader application in our lineup,” Frommer says. 

The CR-V’s head-to-head competitor, the Toyota RAV4, is electrified in California only. The Ford C-Max crossover is offered as a hybrid or as a plug-in hybrid. The competition is there, the technology is there, the infrastructure is getting there. For the Honda CR-V hybrid or plug-in, the most urgent question is not what if but when.  

rduffer@tribune.com

Twitter: @ChiTribuneAuto

 

Louisville Kentucky Honda Dealer, Bob Montgomery Honda, http://www.bobomontgomeryhonda.com

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