Honda already showed production-ready versions of its 2013 Accord coupe and sedan, but it hasn’t shown the finalized version of the new 2014 Accord Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV). No worries: our spy photographer recently caught an Accord Plug-In Hybrid completely devoid of camouflage.
Thanks to Honda’s Earth Dreams PR offensive, we already knew a considerable amount about the 2013 Accord Plug-In Hybrid’s powertrain, but we didn’t know what cosmetic tweaks were in store for the plug-in midsize sedan. The Accord Plug-In hybrid receives an unique front fascia, complete with a larger grille opening, a chrome grille garnish with blue accents (a nod to the 2012 Civic Hybrid, perhaps), and a new lower grille opening, whose swollen fog lamp surrounds remind us of those shown on this year’s Accord Coupe concept.
Revisions made elsewhere on the car are rather minute. A blue-ringed flap ahead of the driver’s door appears to give access to the Accord Plug-In Hybrid’s charging port, while other modifications – notably the odd sawblade-shaped wheels, sharper corner edges on the rear bumper, and modest decklid spoiler – appear to be aerodynamic aids, helping the Accord efficiently slice through air as it rolls down the road.
As we’ve previously reported, the 2014 Accord PHEV pairs an Atkinson-cycle 2.0-liter I-4 with two electric motors, one tasked with regenerating electricity for the lithium-ion battery pack, and another primarily assigned to propelling the vehicle. Honda’s preliminary specs suggest that drive motor is rated at close to 161 hp, and acts as the primary means of propulsion if the battery is fully charged. On start-up, the Accord Plug-In Hybrid functions as a pure EV, and can provide a pure EV range of 10-15 miles before using the 2.0-liter I-4 to generate additional electricity. At speeds over 40 mph, the engine can directly drive the front wheels through a fixed gear ratio – a feature that seems to be unique to Honda’s PHEV system.
Honda began building non-hybrid 2013 Accord models in September, but we’ll have to wait a little longer to see the 2014 Accord Plug-In Hybrid arrive in our showrooms. Honda’s initial estimates suggest the Accord PHEV will likely go on sale in our market in early 2013.