Honda Cars India has launched their newest iteration of the City, called the City e:HEV for INR 19.49Lakhs. The model comes as a variant of top of the line ZX guise with a premium of over INR 4lakhs on the same.
Revealed last month, the City e:HEV comes with minor feature additions inside-out and of course, a completely new powertrain.
Design of the City e:HEV:
Cosmetically, the Honda e:HEV gets a few subtle differences on the outside. It gets an “e:HEV” badging on the rear, dual tone diamond cut alloy wheels, a mesh front upper grill, claw type fog lamp garnish, and even a trunk lip spoiler and carbon fibre finished rear diffuser, for some reason.
Inside, apart from certain visual updates, there are just minor inclusions of control switches for the new safety systems. The paddle shifters now act as the selector for deceleration regen. The City e:HEV comes equipped with 37 Honda Connect features, namely a better smart-watch and voice assistant (Alexa and Google) integration. The drivers display here also shows e:HEV specific data like energy flow and Honda Sensing data.
Powertrain of the City e:HEV:
Talking of the elephant in the room, City e:HEV gets India’s first mainstream strong hybrid powertrain. It has two kinds of high efficiency electric motors and an internal combustion engine. The electric drive traction motor peaks 109ps of power with 253Nm of torque while the electric generator motor peaks at a max power of 95ps. The 1.5L DOHC i-VTEC fire breather churns out a modest 98ps and 127Nm with its Atkinson Cycle construction, with a total system power output of 126ps.
Honda claims that the setup will provide the “World’s Best Electric-Hybrid performance”. In fact, the City e:HEV gets a claimed class leading fuel efficiency of 25.6kmpl, but do take that with a grain of salt of course.
Another interesting aspect to the car is the transmission, or its lack thereof. It does not get any sort of CVT or torque convertor, nothing. Honda has opted for a system where it is the electric motor that drives the wheels and not the combustion engine.
How does the City e:HEV pull itself?
The powertrain gets only one single gear with a wet clutch for high speed driving, while the car will drive itself in pure EV mode in speeds less than 40kmph and the engine kicking in after that to only generate power for the motor up until 80kmph. After that, the car goes into engine only drive mode up to 120kmph, beyond which it will be both the engine and the motor pulling the vehicle, making it a complete hybrid system. In fact, the engine will be used to charge the battery more often than not. Needless to say, the hybrid system also employs brake energy regeneration.
There will be three drive modes present in the Honda e:HEV, an EV mode, a Hybrid mode, and an Engine mode with Honda claiming a seamless transition between these modes. The car won’t be needing any charging provisions either as it is designed to charge itself up using the ICE.
The City e:HEV also features an advanced Electric Servo Brake system with all four-wheel disc brakes. With the Electric Servo Brake, Electric Regenerative Braking in unison with the Hydraulic Braking brings the vehicle to a quick stop while self-charging the Lithium-Ion battery pack, thereby making the car even more efficient.
The City e:HEV becomes the first Honda in the country with the company’s new Honda Sensing “intelligent safety technology”. It comes equipped with advanced driver assistance tech like AVAS (Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System) at low speed EV Mode, 6 Airbags, Honda Lane-Watch, Multi-angle Rear view Camera (but still the notable exclusion of a 360 degree camera system).
Among other features of Honda Sensing are the inclusions of Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), Adaptive Cruise Control, Road Departure Mitigation (RDM), Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), and Auto High-Beam. Honda has also given the usual suite of feature set as in the Tire Pressure Monitoring System, Vehicle Stability Assist, Hill Start Assist, ISOFIX compatible Rear Side Seats and a few others.
Available in five colour options, the City goes up against the newfound competition of Volkswagen and Skoda in the forms of Virtus and Slavia respectively, albeit at an astronomical premium. The Hyundai Verna and Maruti Suzuki Ciaz are also in the field, although none of the above have a similar drivetrain.
Production of the hybrid had already started off late and deliveries are poised to start immediately post launch.