Honda Civic Hybrid

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Honda Civic Hybrid
Body and chassis
ClassCompact car
Body style
LayoutFront-engine, front-wheel drive
RelatedHonda Civic
Jump to: navigation, search
Honda Civic Hybrid
Body and chassis
ClassCompact car
Body style
LayoutFront-engine, front-wheel drive
RelatedHonda Civic

The Honda Civic Hybrid is a variation of the Honda Civic with a hybrid electric powertrain. Honda introduced the Civic Hybrid in Japan in December 2001. In the United States, it was the first hybrid automobile to be certified as an Advanced Technology Partial Zero-Emissions Vehicle (AT-PZEV) from the California Air Resources Board.

The Civic Hybrid uses an Integrated Motor Assist hybrid system similar to that of the Honda Insight. Early models from 2001 to 2005 used a 5-speed manual transmission, whereas later models feature a continuously variable automatic transmission. The Civic Hybrid was only marketed in sedan configurations until 2013, when Honda introduced a hatchback version.

In February 2009, Honda reported that since 2001 they had sold more than 255,000 Civic Hybrids, including more than 190,000 units sold in North America.[1] For a time, the Civic Hybrid was the second-best-selling hybrid electric car in the U.S.[2]

First generation (2001–2005)[edit]

First generation
2003 Honda Civic Hybrid -- 03-21-2012.JPG
Model years2003–2005 (U.S.)
Body and chassis
RelatedHonda Civic
Engine1.3 L LDA series I4 SOHC
Transmission5-speed manual
Wheelbase103.1 in (2,619 mm)
Length2003: 174.6 in (4,435 mm)
2004-05: 175.4 in (4,455 mm)
Width67.5 in (1,714 mm)
Height2003: 56.7 in (1,440 mm)
2004-05: 56.3 in (1,430 mm)
2004-2005 Honda Civic Hybrid (US)

The Civic hybrid, based on the seventh generation Civic, was first introduced to the Japanese market in December 2001. Honda claimed it was the most fuel efficient 5-passenger gasoline-powered production vehicle in the world at the time.[3] It was introduced to the U.S. in spring 2002 as a 2003 model. It is the first hybrid vehicle to be certified as an Advanced Technology Partial Zero- Emissions Vehicle (AT-PZEV) from California's Air Resources Board.[4]


The first generation of the Honda Civic Hybrid was based on the seventh generation Honda Civic. It was the first mainstream vehicle from Honda equipped with a gasoline-electric hybrid system and became the second hybrid model of the company after Insight. Model with manual transmission was rated city 46 mpg-US (5.1 L/100 km; 55 mpg-imp) / highway 51 mpg-US (4.6 L/100 km; 61 mpg-imp) according to United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fuel mileage estimates,[5] about the same combined mileage as for the Toyota Prius, and became the most fuel-efficient five-passenger sedan ever sold in North America at the time.[6]

The following is a list of its technical features[7] [8]

Hybrid badging used in the 2001-2005 generation

An electric motor is sandwiched between the gasoline engine and the transmission, providing up to 13 horsepower. The motor also acts as a generator, to recharge the car's nickel-metal hydride battery located between the rear seat and the trunk, and as a starter motor.

The motor in Civic hybrid is about a quarter-inch (6.4 mm) thicker than that of the Insight. Through improvements to the magnetic coils of the DC brushless motor, it achieves 30 percent greater assisting and regenerative torque than the previous model without increasing the size.

It generates more torque (46 versus 36 pound-feet) than the motor in Insight. The electricity is stored in a battery consisting of 120 1.2-volt Ni-MH D-cells wired in series. The battery can charge and discharge more rapidly and efficiently though the total capacity is reduced from the Insight's (6.0 versus 6.5 AH). Efficiency of the battery modules is increased, through a reduction in energy losses. The battery is housed with the electrical controller in a package called the Intelligent Power Unit (IPU). The new packaging reduces the size of the system by 50 percent and allowed to place the IMA equipment behind the rear seat in the trunk. The unit weighs only 63 lb (29 kg) and is one-third smaller than that of the Insight.

The two spark plugs in each cylinder can fire either sequentially or simultaneously, enabling more efficient burning during lean-burn mode and more often lean-burn operation. The engine can operate at a lean 22:1 air-to-fuel ratio more than 60 percent of the time on a flat road. The VTEC cylinder idling system of the engine closes the valves in three of the four cylinders when the car is decelerating, reduces the power lost to the engine by 50 percent and allows the IMA to extract more electrical energy during braking. The rocker arms operating the intake and exhaust valves have two modes: valve-lift mode or idle mode. They are engaged via a synchronizing piston. During deceleration, the synchro piston disengages the lift-mode rocker arm so that the valves remain at rest, effectively sealing off the cylinder.

An idle stop feature shuts off the engine automatically when stopped, then restarts immediately when the driver removes their foot from the brake. This auto idle stop system contributes to both greater fuel efficiency and lower emissions. During stop and go driving, the engine will turn off when the car comes to a stop for the first time, however, if the car does not go above 10 mph (16 km/h) and stops again, the engine will not turn off unless the car is stopped for more than 15 seconds.[10]

With assistance from the electric motor, the combined torque at below 3,700 rpm is greater than that available from the non-hybrid Civic's 1.7-liter engine.

Fuel efficiency further improved by six percent by utilizing: a new front air dam and rear spoiler, along with revised underbody panels, reducing the drag coefficient from 0.30 to 0.28; replacing traditional power steering with electrical power result as reduction in parasitic losses and special lower rolling resistance tires. The Dunlop tires improves ride quality and reduces road noise compared with other hybrids like Insight and Prius. When compared with Insight, a wider tire improves stability at highway speed. Car and Driver reported that the car can accelerate 0–60 mph (0–97 km/h) in 10.9 seconds.

Fuel economy[edit]

The Civic hybrid is estimated to be 40 percent more fuel efficient than its non-hybrid counterpart.[11]

Award and recognition[edit]

Second generation (2006–2011)[edit]

Second generation
2006-2008 Honda Civic Hybrid -- 03-21-2012.JPG
Model years2006–2011
Body and chassis
RelatedHonda Civic
EngineGasoline: 1.3 L LDA series I4 SOHC
Electric: 158 volt 15 kW
Wheelbase106.3 in (2,700 mm)

2006-08: 176.7 in (4,488 mm)(USDM)
2006-08: 4,540 mm (178.7 in)(JDM)

2009: 177.3 in (4,503 mm)
Width69.0 in (1,753 mm)
Height56.3 in (1,430 mm)
Curb weight2,877 lb (1,305 kg)(USDM)
1,260 kg (2,778 lb)(JDM)

The second generation Civic Hybrid is based on the eighth generation Civic. As with other Civics, there are some styling differences to the exterior between the North American and the Japanese market models.


The powertrain of the second generation Civic hybrid is similar to that of the first generation.

The following is a list of major changes:

2009-2011 Honda Civic Hybrid (US)
Honda Civic Hybrid (Asian Model)

By using high-performance magnets and high-density windings, Honda is able to increase the power output of the electric motor by 50% to 20 hp (15 kW) at 2,000 rpm when compared with the first generation. The inverter that controls motor speed is integrated with the motor's ECU for more precise control, resulting in greater efficiency and fuel economy. The output of battery is increased by around 30 percent to 158.4 V. The battery storage box is designed for better cooling performance and vibration resistance to enhance long-term reliability. The higher output of electric motor enables the car to run on electricity only, at a steady 15–20 mph (24–32 km/h) when cruising on a flat surface.

Hybrid badging used in the 2005-2011 generation

An internal electric motor is added to the air-conditioner, so it can be powered by either the engine, an electric motor, or both. At a stop, the compressor powered by the battery keeps the cabin cool. An additional compressor that is powered by the petrol engine also engages if rapid cooling is required. When the interior temperature is stable, air conditioning is provided by the battery solely. As soon as the brake pedal is lifted, the petrol engine comes back to life again.

The new three stage i-VTEC valvetrain has low-rpm, high-rpm and cylinder idle mode. High output valve timing help the engine to increase its output by 9 percent. During deceleration, the engine is kept idle. There are no combustion in all four cylinders and the cylinders are sealed shut, reducing pumping losses by engine. As a result, recovery of energy wasted during braking is improved by 10 percent.

A digital display is incorporated in the instrument dash showing how much electricity is sent to the battery or how much is used. When the car is braked moderately, maximum number of green LEDs light up showing energy recaptured. When the car is braked harder, the conventional brakes are activated.

Car and Driver found the car, when compared with previous generation, faster, offered greater refinement, quieter at highway speed, has a stiffer body and a revised suspension that handles bumps better and quietly.

Fuel economy[edit]

It is estimated that, when compared to a gasoline engine only Civic sedan of 2006 with an automatic transmission, the Civic hybrid provides an increase of fuel economy in city driving of about 63 percent and an increase of fuel economy in highway driving of about 27 percent.The CVT transmission is designed to achieve the highest efficiency for a given RPM.[15]

A class-action lawsuit filed in 2012 alleged that Honda falsely advertised the fuel economy of the Civic Hybrid and that owners were getting significantly lower mileage.[16] The Los Angeles Times reported in May 2012 that at least 36 small-claims lawsuits had also been filed against Honda over alleged false advertisement of gas mileage.[17]

Some users reported that the fuel economy of the Civic Hybrid was reduced after Honda installed a software update to prolong the life of the hybrid battery by reducing the electric motor's output and putting more reliance on the gasoline engine.[18]

Battery life[edit]

A Consumer Reports survey found a very high rate of battery failure in Civic Hybrids 2nd-generation Civic Hybrids, describing the failure rate for 2009-2010 models as "shocking", with over 30% of responders reporting they had needed a battery replacement within the last 12 months.[19] Honda acknowledged problems with the 2006-2008 models which could cause the batteries to "deteriorate and eventually fail";[17] software updates were issued to prolong the life of the battery, but some owners reported these updates led to reduced fuel economy and power.[18] The 132 NiMH cell pack suffers from imbalance as individual cells can't be monitored or charged. Monitoring is available at a 12 cell sub-pack level, but charging isn't. After years/miles of use, the cells become imbalanced as the cells charge/discharge at slightly different rates from one another. Eventually, strong cells are limiting the upper capacity of the pack and weak cells are limiting the lower capacity of the pack thereby reducing the usable capacity of the pack. There are higher capacity non-OEM packs available for less than the OEM price, and many owners have achieved years-long extensions of usable battery life by utilizing a grid charger. A grid charger is a home-made or purchased charger that connects your car to the power-grid. These devices impart a long, slow "balancing" charge where all cells are gently charged to their maximum capacity. This can temporarily restore balance an dramatically improve usable capacity for months at a time.

Market reception[edit]

The Civic hybrid ranks as the second best selling electric hybrid car in the U.S.[2]

Cost of ownership[edit]

Consumer Reports ran an article in April 2006 stating that hybrid vehicles would not pay for themselves over 5 years of ownership. However, there was an error in the calculation of depreciation for the hybrid vehicles. It resulted in overstating how much extra money the hybrids would cost their owners during the first five years of ownership.[20] When corrected, the Honda Civic Hybrid did have a payback period of slightly less than 5 years.[21] In October 2010 Vincentric performed a hybrid cost of ownership analysis for USA market. In this analysis it compared hybrid's 5 year cost of ownership to their all-gas counterparts. The analysis showed that 2010 Honda Civic Hybrid costs an additional $1830 over a 2010 Honda Civic EX 2D Coupe with an Automatic Transmission (the report assume 15,000 miles are driven annually and fuel prices are based on a weighted average over the five months prior to October 2010).[22]

In August 2010, Autoblog reports that a replacement battery for Civic hybrid retails at $2,100.[23]

The first race-ready hybrid vehicle.
Honda Civic Hybrid race car.

Other markets[edit]

The Civic hybrid was introduced to Malaysia in August 2007.[24] It was launched in China in November 2007 and in India in June 2008.[25]


The Honda Civic Hybrid has competed in 24 Hours Nürburgring in 2007, with the car finishing 108th. The twenty-four hours race is held around the Nürburgring, one of the world's most grueling courses. To race successfully in that course is considered a testament to the capability of Civic's hybrid powertrain.[26] A Group N spec Honda Civic hybrid raced in the Jim Clark rally and took second in class.[27]

Awards and recognition[edit]

Third generation (2011- )[edit]

Third generation
2012 Honda Civic Hybrid -- 05-20-2012.JPG
Model years2012–present
Body and chassis
RelatedHonda Civic
Engine1.5 L Water-cooled 4 Stroke SOHC i-VTEC+IMA
Hybrid drivetrainHonda (Integrated Motor Assist) with Eco Assist
Wheelbase2,670 mm (105 in)
Length4,525 mm (178 in)
Width1,755 mm (69 in)
Height1,430 mm (56 in)
Curb weight1,280 kg (2,822 lb)

The latest Civic Hybrid was launched during 2011 in the U.S. and Canada as a 2012 model. It has a larger 1.5-liter i-VTEC engine that produces 90 horsepower and 97 pound-feet of torque[32] and a lithium-ion battery pack instead of nickel-metal hydride. The larger engine replaces the 1.3-L engine for better mid-range torque.[33] The DC brushless permanent magnet motor, which is placed between the engine and continuously variable transmission, provides 17 kW (23 hp) and 78 pound-feet of torque and weighs 0.7 kg (1.5 lb) less.[33] The 2012 Civic Hybrid has an EPA rating of 44 mpg-US (5.3 L/100 km; 53 mpg-imp) for the city and highway driving cycles, an improvement from 40 mpg-US (5.9 L/100 km; 48 mpg-imp) city and 43 mpg-US (5.5 L/100 km; 52 mpg-imp) highway for the previous generation.[34]

The Civic Hybrid has the latest Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) parallel hybrid system, with a new 20 kW lithium-ion battery — a first for a Honda hybrid vehicle.[33] The new battery is 5 kW more powerful, 9 kg (20 lb) lighter and takes up 36% less space.[33] Battery capacity is increased from 35 kAh to 100 kAh (4.5 Ah).[33]

It comes with improved aerodynamics and Honda ECO Assist technology.[35] The ECO Assist technology is an information system to help the driver adopt a more fuel-efficient driving style,[36] and is proven to improve fuel economy by about 10% for Honda's hybrid vehicles in Japan.[37]

Production of the Civic hybrid sedan was moved from Suzuka, Japan to Indiana, USA in early 2013, following the production of the Acura ILX hybrid commenced at Indiana plant in April 2012, after production capacity was expanded to 250,000.[38]

2013 Honda Civic Hybrid (Southeast Asia) 
Rear view of 2012 Civic Hybrid (US) 


Cumulative sales by region (as of the end of January 2009)[39]
RegionStart of salesCumulative sales
JapanDec 200122,899
North AmericaMar 2002191,493
EuropeMay 200334,757
Asia/OceaniaFeb 20045,514
ChinaNov 2007280
OthersMay 2006306
Total 255,249

It is reported that over 50,000 Civic Hybrids were sold during 2007 worldwide.[40]

Legal actions over mileage claims[edit]

In January 2012, Heather Peters was awarded $9,867 by a Los Angeles Superior Court small-claims commissioner after alleging that her 2006 Civic Hybrid did not meet mileage claims advertised by the manufacturer.[41]

Honda won an appeal against this decision when a judge ruled that the vehicle’s fuel-economy ratings complied with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's requirements, and that such ratings are for the purpose of comparison among vehicles.[42]

Consumers who purchased or leased a 2003 through 2009 Honda Civic Hybrid have until April 19, 2013 to claim a cash payment and Rebate Certificate from the class action lawsuit settlement. However, the Settlement Administrator has already begun to review claims and began mailing checks last month to those with validated claims. 40

In March 2012 Honda Canada issued a release pledging to honor the USA class action settlement with owners and lessees in Canada when it was finalized in the USA. To date there has been no follow up to parties concerned, but shortly after the Honda release a class action was launched in Quebec courts on behalf of Quebec and Canadian owners and lessees.(41)(42)


  1. ^ "Honda Reaches 300,000 Units in Cumulative Global Sales of Hybrid Vehicles" (Press release). Honda Motor Co. 2009-02-18. Retrieved 2010-01-14. 
  2. ^ a b "Alternative Fuel Vehicles (AFVs) and Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs)". U.S. Dept of Energy-Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center. Retrieved 2010-08-01.  Click and open the Excel file for the detail by year for each hybrid model (Sales 1999-2009)
  3. ^ Honda Announces the New Civic Hybrid Sedan --- The World's Most Fuel-Efficient 5-Seater Production Gasoline Vehicle
  4. ^ Civic Hybrid First Hybrid Vehicle To Earn Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emissions (AT-PZEV) Status
  5. ^ EPA fuel estimate 2003 Civic hybrid
  6. ^ 2002 Honda Civic Overview
  7. ^ 2003 Honda Civic hybrid
  8. ^ Honda Creates New IMA System For 2003 Civic Hybrid
  9. ^ 2003-05 Honda Civic hybrid
  10. ^ "2003 Honda Civic Hybrid". Ars Technica. 
  11. ^ Green Autos In the Showroom, But Few on the Road
  12. ^ Greenest 2003 Cars and SUVs
  13. ^ 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid EPA Ratings
  14. ^ New MPG Ratings
  15. ^ From i-VTEC® to iPod®, the All New 2006 Honda Civic Brings the Latest Technology Into the Mainstream
  16. ^ Road Worrier: Some hybrid owners are dissatisfied with their vehicles
  17. ^ a b
  18. ^ a b
  19. ^
  20. ^ Consumer Reports (7 March 2006). "Consumer Reports Revises Financial Analysis In Report on Ownership Costs for Hybrid Cars". Consumers Union. Archived from the original on 2007-09-21. Retrieved 2007-04-27. 
  21. ^ "The dollars & sense of hybrid cars". 
  22. ^ Vincentric. "Hybrid Comparison". Retrieved 2011-02-01. [dead link]
  23. ^ Sam Abuelsamid (2010-08-16). "Honda's fix for Civic hybrid batteries". Auto Blog. Retrieved 2010-08-16. 
  24. ^ "Civic Hybrid Fast Gaining Acceptance". Honda Malaysia (Press release). 2009-06-26. 
  25. ^ "Honda begins sales of all-new Insight dedicated hybrid vehicle". Honda Motor Co. Worldwide site. 
  26. ^ y Wayne Cunningham (2007-09-11). "Civic Hybrid completes 24-hour race". cnet Reviews. 
  27. ^ Franca Davenport (Oct 21, 2008). "Lotus accelerates hybrid rally car development". Daily Telegraph. 
  28. ^ "Honda Sweeps 'North American Car and Truck of the Year' Awards 2006 Honda Civic and 2006 Honda Ridgeline Take the Top Honors" (Press release). Honda Motor. 2006-01-08. 
  29. ^ "Motor Trend Announces 2006 Car Of The Year". 
  30. ^ Honda Civic hybrid awarded the Best New Alternate Power Vehicle for 2006
  31. ^ 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid Wins 'World Car of the Year Award' for Greenest Car
  32. ^ Sutton, Mike. "2012 Honda Civic Hybrid - Instrumented Test". Car and Driver (Nov 2011 issue). 
  33. ^ a b c d e Ryan Gehm. "Fuel economy the focus for Honda Civic engineers". SAE International. 
  34. ^ Christopher Jensen (2011-09-23). "Keeping Hybrid Weirdness at Bay". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-09-25. 
  35. ^ "New 2012 Honda Civic lineup boosts fuel economy in all models; Hybrid and HF offer 40+ mpg". Green Car Congress. 2011-02-18. 
  36. ^ "Honda Civic Si Concept coupe and Civic Concept sedan debut at NAIAS; hybrid and natural gas variants". Green Car Congress. 2011-01-12. 
  37. ^ "Honda Study Finds Insight’s Eco Assist System Results in Average 10% Improvement in Fuel Economy After 300 Drives, Up to 20% Max". Green Car Congress. 2010-02-12. 
  38. ^ Honda to build Civic Hybrid in Indiana, will boost plant capacity by 25%
  39. ^ "Honda Reaches 300,000 Units in Cumulative Global Sales of Hybrid Vehicles" (Press release). Honda Motor Co. Ltd. 2009-02-18. Retrieved 2010-08-02. 
  40. ^ Hiroko Nakata (2008-07-06). "Toyota leads charge for new 'green' power source". Japan Times. Retrieved 2010-07-22. 
  41. ^ Associated Press, "Woman wins small-claims suit over Honda Civic Hybrid", Yahoo! News, 2 February 2012; retrieved 2 February 2012.
  42. ^ Edvard Pettersson and Maurice Possley (May 9, 20112). "Honda Wins Reversal of Small-Claims Loss Over Hybrid Mileage". Bloomberg.  Check date values in: |date= (help)

External links[edit]