The CR-Z may look nothing like the Honda Civic, but its insides are a bit more comparable. The new hybrid will have a 140-horsepower, 1.8-liter, single overhead cam (SOHC) i-VTEC engine which comes from the Civic and would be much bigger and more powerful than most current hybrid gasoline engines. The gasoline engine alone, according to Honda's Web site, gets 25 miles per gallon (10.6 kilometers per liter) in the city and 36 miles per gallon (15.3 kilometers per liter) on the highway for a combined average of 29 miles per gallon (12.3 kilometers per liter). That, coupled with an electric motor that would presumably power the car at lower speeds and assist during uphill climbs, will most likely further increase the fuel efficiency of the CR-Z. Executives also plan to offer both automatic and manual transmissions, and the throttle system for the SOHC i-VTEC engine uses drive-by-wire technology.
The system that includes the electric motor and battery will come from the Honda Insight and is called the Integrated Motor Assist system, or IMA. The IMA's design is thin, allowing it to fit between the engine and transmission to allow for more space, a boon for compact hatchback cars like the CR-Z. Another option taken from the Insight is a continuously variable transmission, or CVT, which would be coupled with the drive-by-wire technology.
By taking these various elements from other vehicles and combining them into one package, Honda is attempting to reduce costs. Honda has also cut down on weight: the CR-Z weighs just 2,800 pounds (1,270 kilograms) -- fairly light for a hybrid car. This is mainly due to a lighter body and a smaller battery. Many older hybrids are weighed down by extremely heavy battery packs, which, ironically, results in poor fuel economy.
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