Not to be left out of the raft of plug-in hybrid electric midsize sedans (PHEVs) hitting the market, Honda announced this week sales have begun for its PHEV Accord…but only in select New York and California markets.
According to a Honda press release, the Accord Plug-In is “the most fuel efficient sedan in America,” achieving a rating of 115 MPGe in electric mode and a city/highway/combined rating of 47/46/46 in hybrid mode. According to the release, that electric mode performance is 15 MPGe better than the Ford Fusion Energi, 17 MPGe better than the Chevy Volt, and a whole 20 MPGe better than the Toyota Prius PHEV, all of which are the Accord Plug-In’s prime competition. In hybird mode, it achieves better scores than two-thirds of that competition, with the Fusion Energi scoring 44/41/43, the Volt scoring 35/40/37, and the Prius PHEV scoring 51/49/50.
The Accord Plug-In will be one of the first Hondas sold in America with the automaker’s Earth Dreams engine technology. With a two-motor hybrid system, the drivetrain features a 124-kW electric motor that also acts as a continuously variable transmission (CVT). That motor is joined with a 2.0-liter i-VTEC Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine. The car can seamlessly transition between electric-only, hybrid, and direct gasoline engine power, Honda says. According to Honda’s spec sheet, the Accord Plug-In can pump out a maximum combined power of 196 horsepower– 141 from the gasoline engine and another 55 from the electric motor.
Drivers will be able to select whether they want the Accord Plug-In to use up all its battery juice in the beginning of their drive, as is the default, or if they want it to act as a normal hybrid to conserve battery charge later. This should come in handy for drivers who regularly have to do a lot of parking-garage or city street crawling at the end of their commute, or those who routinely hit a traffic jam on the way to work. The car can travel a maximum of 13 miles on battery power alone, Honda says, and has a total combined driving range of 574 miles.
The Accord Plug-In has a 6.7-kWh lithium-ion battery pack that can be fully charged with a standard 120-volt outlet in less than three hours, or in less than an hour with a Level 2 quick charger port. The HondaLink smartphone app can help owners keep an eye on the batteries’ state of charge.
If you’re fortunate enough to live in those “select markets” in New York and California where the car is available for purchase– and if you just happen to have nearly $40,000 burning a hole in your pocket— the Accord Plug-In could be yours. Not that it’ll save you $40,000 worth of fuel unless you’re setting some kind of average yearly mileage record, but then again, the car is based on the top-shelf Touring trim of the regular Accord, which MSRPs at north of $33,000 and gets a lowly 21/34/25 city/highway/combined rating in EPA fuel efficiency testing. It’s no stretch of the imagination that a 21-MPG difference in combined fuel efficiency ratings could quickly add up to $7,000 or so in fuel savings over the Touring. Depending on where your priorities lie, that may make doing without the Touring’s V6 a bearable trade-off.