Honda is no stranger to hybrid drivetrains having dabbled with the technology for more than two decades. Starting with the Insight, Honda has gone and electrified nearly all models in their stable — from the mighty NSX to the humble Jazz. This year, Honda may be introducing the all-new Jazz that first broke cover at the 2019 Tokyo Motorshow. And you can be almost sure that one of the variants will be a hybrid.
Coming with the new Jazz is a brand new hybrid system, called e:HEV, developed with Aston Martin Red Bull and Scuderia Alpha Tauri Formula 1 teams. This Jazz utilises Honda’s newly developed Hybrid Intelligent Multi Mode Drive (i-MMD) system, replacing the current i-DCD. The system incorporates technology found in Honda’s Formula One power units. Jazz’s hybrid system harnesses recycled energy to charge the batteries and support engine output for strong performance and maximum efficiency.
The newly developed system e:HEV system doesn’t function as a conventional hybrid system. Instead, the 1.5-litre DOHC i-VTEC petrol engine works as a generator for the lithium-ion battery pack that connects to two electric motors mounted on the front axle. Total system output is estimated to be 107hp and 253Nm.
Power is delivered via a newly developed Electronically Controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (eCVT) with a single fixed-gear ratio. The powertrain is controlled via an intelligent power control unit that seamlessly integrates the internal combustion engine and electric motor.
The Jazz e:HEV Hybrid comes with three drive modes — EV Drive, Hybrid Drive and Engine Drive. EV Drive supplies power from the lithium-ion battery directly to the electric motors. In Hybrid Drive, the engine provides energy to the electrical generator which in turn powers the electric motors for propulsion. Engine Drive, on the other hand, connects the petrol engine directly to wheels via a lock-up clutch, transferring power straight to the wheels.
Each drive mode also has its own regeneration strategy. EV Drive will automatically engage when slowing down using regenerative braking to harvest energy for the battery. In Hybrid Drive, the petrol engine can be used to recharge the battery pack using the electric generator. Engine Drive mode is suitable for highway driving, with the electric motors supplying a much needed “boost” for a quick burst of acceleration.
Honda Malaysia is said to launch the all-new Jazz this year, but that’s before the new-normal happened. The current Jazz, while still looking good, is getting long in the tooth and it is only a matter of time before it gets replaced — whether its this year or early in the next.