Honda Provides Glimpse of Future Products That Could Help Future Mileage, Emission Mandates
29 December 1997Honda Provides Glimpse of Future Products That Could Help Future Mileage, Emission Mandates
Reducing Greenhouse Gases Won't Eliminate Performance and Styling in Future Hondas LOS ANGELES, Dec. 29 -- Honda is showcasing a gasoline- powered, internal combustion engine that achieves nearly zero tailpipe emissions and a stylish sports car that gets up to 70 miles per gallon (mpg) at a press conference today for the Los Angeles Auto Show. The engine and concept sports car represent the next engineering steps in the company's efforts to reduce emissions and improve fuel efficiency. "We've been working on developing cleaner and more fuel efficient vehicles that won't sacrifice the performance and quality our customers expect from a Honda," said Robert Bienenfeld, Honda's manager of alternative fuel vehicles. "The J-VX sports car and ZLEV engine are the result of our efforts to develop near-term, practical solutions for emission reductions, using the most prevalent engine on the road today -- the gasoline-powered, internal combustion engine." The futuristic and aerodynamic J-VX sports car has the looks, handling and performance of a sports car with gas mileage exceeding 70 mpg. Improving a vehicle's fuel efficiency is critical to reducing carbon dioxide -- the most common greenhouse gas and contributor to global warming. To achieve its optimum fuel efficiency, the J-VX uses a new Honda Integrated Motor Assist System (IMA) hybrid drivetrain, which connects an electric motor to a gasoline-powered internal combustion engine. The electric motor is installed between the engine and a fuel-efficient continuously variable (CVT) automatic transmission. When the brakes are applied, the energy previously wasted in the form of heat is now captured and stored as electric power in a specially equipped ultracapacitor, a high current, electrical energy storage device similar to a condenser. When accelerating, this stored energy is accessed, providing increased vehicle performance and reduced fuel consumption. The heart of the IMA System is a 3-cylinder, 1.0-liter gasoline engine. When paired with the electric motor, the performance is the equivalent of a 1.5-liter engine. Honda also displayed in Los Angeles its Zero Level Emission Vehicle (ZLEV) prototype engine that is based on the current 2.3-liter, 4-cylinder engine found in the new 1998 Accord. Using an innovative Three-Stage Emission Management System, featuring the first use of a Honda-developed "dual function" catalyst, the ZLEV engine achieves zero level tailpipe emissions, and in some high smog areas like Los Angeles, can achieve smog-related emissions that are cleaner than the surrounding air. Honda's Three-Stage Emissions Management System controls exhaust emissions during all three stages of engine operation, including cold-starts, warm-up and normal driving. During Stage One, the critical period immediately following engine startup, Honda's patented VTEC (Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control) engine allows for a leaner air/fuel mixture than other engines in cold-start conditions. At this point, the dual function catalyst serves as a trap for hydrocarbons while the catalysts are warming up to operating temperatures. Stage Two provides for quick catalyst warm-up through the use of a close- coupled catalyst and electric heating of a portion of the underfloor catalyst. All of this takes less than a minute, after which the trapped hydrocarbons are released for cleaning and the dual function catalyst begins to operate as a typical, although highly efficient, catalyst. During Stage Three, the regular driving period, a powerful 32-bit Risc computer and VTEC engine design provide for stable and precise combustion, combining with the two high efficiency catalysts, to maintain emissions at virtually zero. Honda's J-VX and ZLEV engine are still several years away from production. Honda is focusing on reducing production costs and confirming the long-term durability of the systems before bringing them to market. The Honda J-VX and ZLEV will be on display in the Honda booth (W-107) at the Los Angeles Auto Show, L.A. Convention Center -- West Hall, from Jan. 3 through Jan. 18, 1998. Honda also will display its complete lineup of clean- air vehicles, including the EV PLUS electric vehicle, Civic Low-Emission Vehicle, Accord Low-Emission Vehicle and Accord Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle. SOURCE American Honda Motor Co.