NEW CAR PREVIEW: 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid: 50 mpg

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The Honda Accord Hybrid, with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $29,155, will use a gasoline-electric powertrain to achieve an EPA rating of 50 mpg city, 45 mpg highway and 47 mpg combined.

The 50 mpg standard is a milestone and it leads the mainstream sedan segment against primary hybrid competitors, the Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion and Hyundai Sonata. And it’s only 1 mpg behind the Toyota Prius — the country’s dominant best-selling hybrid.

The new Honda Accord Hybrid, scheduled to go on sale in late October 2013, is closely related to the 2014 Accord Plug-In Hybrid, announced earlier this year. Its 1.3-kWh battery is smaller than the plug-in’s 6.7-kWh battery, which has a 13-mile all-electric range.

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The 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid will be rated at 50 mpg.
The 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid will be rated at 50 mpg.

The plug-in Honda Accord can be recharged; The conventional hybrid doesn’t have the recharge capability.

Honda reached the 50-mpg milestone with a combination of all-electric, hybrid and engine-only driving modes.

Consider the driving modes:

All-electric. The Accord’s 124-kW electric traction motor turns the wheels and power from a 1.3-kWh lithium-ion battery for the first few miles.

Hybrid. When the battery is quickly depleted, the Accord transitions into hybrid mode, using its gasoline engine to power a generator, which feeds current to the electric motor to drive the wheels.

Engine-only. At approximately 40 mph, the electric motor is decoupled and a clutch engages the crankshaft of the two-liter gasoline engine. In this “direct-drive” mode, the car uses only its engine for power.

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