Chronologically, this interview happened yesterday, but Honda had kindly asked us to keep mum about it until the launch of the Jazz Hybrid took place.

So here is it, the brain-picking session with Shingo Nagamine, the Large Project Leader of the Honda Jazz Hybrid. We asked him about the Jazz Hybrid, how it compares to the current petrol model and how does the battery fare in our climate. Enjoy.

With the battery, how much heavier is the Jazz Hybrid compared to the standard Jazz?

It is about 70 kg heavier.

Won’t that jeopardise the efficiency of the Jazz Hybrid? More weight usually requires more effort to run, does it not?

The Jazz Hybrid features better aerodynamics as well as low resistance tyres and low drag brake calipers to negate the weight increase. The low drag calipers are only fitted to the rear.

Can you elaborate further on the aerodynamic improvements to the Hybrid? I see that the grille and the front bumper are different.

The bumper is made sharper, especially on the sides, and we have closed most of the holes and smoothed them over, so that more air flows around the car rather than into the car. The grille, which is larger, also directs more air over the bonnet. In short, the only holes that we have left open are the necessary ones. The resulting improvement in aerodynamics is 3%.

What about fuel efficiency? From the slide, you’ve quoted a consumption of 21.3 km/l. In what cycle was the fuel consumption tested?

The Jazz Hybrid has 25% to 30% better fuel efficiency compared to the petrol-engine version. As for the fuel consumption, it was tested using the Euro ECE 101 cycle.

What about the chassis? Has anything been changed to accomodate the additional weight of the IMA and the battery?

Yes. We have made the rear axle beam stronger and stiffer. Plus, we have increased the damping and spring rate for the front and rear suspension. Handling performance is not compromised though.

Traditionally, the spare tyre is placed underneath the floorboard of the boot area, which is now totally being occupied by the battery.

The Jazz Hybrid does not come with a spare tyre. Instead, it comes with an emergency puncture kit as a substitute. You can find it on the right side of the boot.

These days, floods are frequently plaguing Malaysia. Is there any worry that floodwater will damage the battery?

Since the battery is placed within the car, it is protected from the water; hence it will not cause any problem. However, if water level reaches higher than the chassis, then there is a possibility that the water might seep into the battery and damage it. In any case, should the water get in, the battery will automatically shut down to prevent any electrical shocks.

What about heat and humidity? Will it affect the battery adversely?

There is a vent that takes in air from the car. It will be drawn in by a fan placed in the vent, closer to the battery. As for humidity, we have tested the Jazz Hybrid extensively in Thailand, which has about the same climate in Malaysia, and found no problems.

The recent launch of a hybrid car from a close competitor has made hybrids even more accessible to the public. How is the Jazz Hybrid different?

The Jazz is already known for its easy handling, large luggage space and smart storage solutions in a compact body. The hybrid engine adds more fuel efficiency features that will further enhance the daily usability of the Jazz, which means added value for our customers.