If the combination of Honda Civic and hybrid technology wasn’t the best-integrated auto-technology back in 2007, the mush awaited self-driving cars will also not be. To the fast auto riders, Civic Hybrid does not count in their list of the best Honda models listed by Autofun. But since harsh economic times call for hard decisions, some fast riders have fallen for the hybrid cars especially the average priced sedans like Honda Civic Hybrid.
How Honda Civic Hybrid works are quite simple. First, Hybrid, in this case, refers to the combination of electric motor and a gasoline engine to propel the car. To move the car, the gasoline will at times work alone, and in other times the electric motor. When the demand for strong revving calls, both the gasoline and electric motor works simultaneously to move it faster. The hybrid system recaptures energy through regenerative braking.
For many years, Honda has remained true to its calling – to produce high revving engines that are fuel-efficient and reliable. During its first generation of Civic hybrid cars, the hybrid engine was estimated to be 40% more fuel-efficient compared to its non-hybrid engines.
But to realize this efficiency, you had to adapt to the grandmothers slow driving fashion since full-throttle opens the sealed cylinders and a lot more gasoline is used to give the car all the power the car needs.
Honda Hybrid Engines and the Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) System
Civic hybrid employs the parallel hybrid system like the competitor Toyota Prius. The parallel system comprises of a tank supplying gasoline to the engine and a set of batteries supplying power to the electric motor. Power from the engine and electric motor is transmitted to turn the wheels.
All hybrid engines operate under the principle of Integrated Motor Assist (IMA). In this system, the electric motor is sandwiched between the transmission and the engine.
How Honda Civic Hybrid Works
Once the Honda Civic Hybrid engine is started, the electric motor powers the car- just at low speeds. As the car accelerates, the need for more power kicks in thus automatically prompting the fuel system to start injecting fuel into the combustion engine. With both systems working simultaneously, less fuel is used.
The whole effect of integrating the two systems is to save fuel.
Just like any other hybrid car bearing the Honda brand, Honda Civic Hybrid comes with a 4-cylinder engine with a three-stage version of the VTEC (variable valve timing and lift electronic control). VTEC otherwise known as i-VTEC (intelligent-VTEC) system uses three separate stage valve controls for fuel optimization at idle, low-rpm and high-rpm.
Talking of the 2009 Honda Civic hybrid, the three-stage i-VTEC utilizes 5-rocker arm assemblies. During rotation, the computers analyze the variables to balance the camshaft profiles. When idle, the computer brain shuts down thus closing the combustion changers for every cylinder. This significantly reduces fuel consumption by nearly 10%.
Friction is a great contributor to the high fuel consumption rate in a vehicle. Civic Hybrid uses die-cast aluminium crafted pistons to withstand extreme temperatures and thus keep expansion at its lowest level and minimal friction.
For smooth combustion operations, the cylinder walls are plateau-honed while the piston rings are iron-plated.
Civic hybrids 1.3-litre engine has the capacity to provide 110 horsepower and 167Nm of torque to the front wheels.
How Honda Civic Hybrid’s engine and Electric Motor Works under Different Conditions
The computer brain always keeps analyzing the engine power and electric power to balance fuel consumption when driving under different conditions.
At stop: Neither fuel nor the electric power is consumed. The combustion engine is shut.
Initial acceleration: At this stage, electric motor kicks in. The electric motor pulls the car from a stop and propels the engine at low rpm. With Civic hybrid, many have claimed the pounding force from the electric motor cannot pull it from a stop but can steadily move at an average speed of 15-20km/h.
Hard acceleration: It is at this stage when more power is needed. Both the engine and electric motor combine power at high rpm stage.
At low speeds: All combustion chambers are sealed thus bringing the engine to a halt. Honda Civic is at this low rpm valve timing stage operated by the electric motor only.
Deceleration: This is the battery charging time. Again, the combustion chamber in every cylinder is sealed. An electric motor is a sophisticated machine that produces power and in other times, takes the power back to the battery. During deceleration, the electric motor starts regenerating power that’s stored in the battery.
The most astonishing part is when cruising. To reduce friction from rotating engine parts and safe fuel, the engine’s combustion process stops. This means valves stop opening, the cylinders remain sealed and the fuel is cut off. At this cruising moment, the engine goes silent as it’s powered by the electric motor.
How to Charge Honda Civic Hybrid Battery
Immediately you apply some force on the brake pedal, Civic starts decelerating and the electric motor changes to a generator. The now acting generator dissipates heat produced from the brakes and turns it to energy.
The energy generated is stored in the batteries for later use and the process is termed as regenerative braking. On hitting the brakes, the digital display lights up the green LEDs to show the amount of charge driven to the battery. The quantity of charge is shown by a number of green LEDs lighting.
If buying a hybrid vehicle like Honda Civic Hybrid is a price you should pay to help reduce carbon emissions and save some money intended for fuel consumption, then do it.
Even though the Civics hybrid system isn’t as effective as its counterpart – Toyota hybrid system, their operation mechanisms are the same. Honda Civic Type-R is one of the best resemblance hatchbacks anyone can opt for instead of the Honda Civic Hybrid.