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The Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid is on display at Honda Malaysia’s KLIMS13 display. The hybrid Accord can be distinguished from a regular Accord by the different front grille, where the centre grille is larger and extends lower into the front bumper. There are blue accents in the grille and headlamps. Of course, it also has alloy wheels with an aerodynamic design, further reinforcing the car’s efficiency theme.

Honda Malaysia is currently studying whether to introduce a hybrid Accord into our market or not. With an engine size of under 2,000 cc, it would certainly qualify for duty exemption under the current NAP rules. As for the new rules expected to be announced in January, it’s anybody’s guess for now, but if rumours are correct, Honda would have to CKD the car as it did with the Jazz Hybrid to enjoy duty exemptions.

It’s worth noting that there are actually two different versions of the hybrid Accord. There is the Honda Accord Hybrid, and there is the Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid. These two cars use different hybrid systems under the hood, with more differences than just the plug-in capability. Although the car on display at KLIMS is the Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid, Honda Malaysia says it are studying the introduction of the Accord Hybrid, not the plug-in version.

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Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid – note the charging socket lid near the A pillar

The Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid shown here is powered by a special 2.0 litre Atkinson-cycle engine, producing 137 hp at 6,200 rpm and 160 Nm of torque from 2,500 rpm. It has VTEC and e-VTC on the intake valves, a high compression ratio of 13.0:1. This engine is combined with an e-CVT transmission, which is not a CVT gearbox but a package of various components acting together to work like a CVT. Total system output is 196 hp.

The e-CVT package consists of a 166 hp (124 kW), 307 Nm traction motor with a maximum speed of 12,584 rpm, and a generator motor. It has a three shaft configuration with input, counter and output shafts. A clutch allows the engine to drive the wheels directly, but the hybrid system’s software only does this under scenarios where it determines an engine driving the wheels mechanically would be more fuel efficient, which is usually at highway speeds.

Because of that, the engine is connected to the wheels with a single ratio that is similar to a regular Honda six-speed gearbox’s 6th gear. Under normal situations, the engine only drives the generator motor, which produces electricity either to recharge the battery or to drive the traction motor, which then drives the wheels.

The car has a 6.7 kWh lithium-ion battery which allows electric-only operation up to 16 to 24 km. The battery can be charged via a 120 V charger in under three hours and with a 240 V supply, in less than one hour. The Accord Plug-in Hybrid is said to be able to achieve an average fuel consumption of 30 km per litre. Under the MPGe rating system, it is rated at 115 MPGe, compared to 100 MPGe for the Ford Fusion Energy Plug-In, the Chevy Volt’s 98 MPGe and the Prius Plug-In’s 95 MPGe.

So essentially there are three modes – an EV mode where the traction motor is powered by the battery, a hybrid mode where the traction motor is powered by electricity produced by the combustion engine driving the generator motor, and an engine drive mode where the engine drives the wheels directly.

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Honda Accord Hybrid – no charger lid near A pillar

The Honda Accord Hybrid has a similar two-motor system as the Accord Plug-in Hybrid, but of course with a smaller capacity 1.3 kWh battery and without plug-in charging ability. The Accord Hybrid’s lithium-ion battery uses different cells – 3.6V 4.6Ah versus 3.2V 20.8Ah.

Naturally, EV range is much shorter than the plug-in car. The on board battery is charged purely by the generator motor, driven by the Atkinson-cycle engine.

Other than a lower price tag, the other obvious reason for picking to introduce the Accord Hybrid instead of the Accord Plug-In Hybrid would be the fact that Honda Malaysia wouldn’t have to tackle educating customers on what that separate SAE J1772 charger near the A-pillar is for, or handle things like home-based charging stations.