Honda, determined as are other car makers to get what would have been their Geneva Motor Show news out to the public, has announced the development of what it calls e:Technology for Europe.
Hybrid, electric and power supply
That e:Technology idea will encompass both cars (such as the Honda e electric car and the new hybrid Jazz), connectivity systems for in-car information and entertainment, and the addition of a new e:Progress setup whereby Honda owners will be able to sign up to energy supply tariffs for both home and car from Honda itself.
According to Honda: "e:Progress will offer a smart charger, smart tariff, and a smart charge control system to deliver optimal charging for users. The smart tariff will be the first flexible energy contract specifically tailored to electric vehicle (EV) owners available in Europe, optimising the use of electricity from renewable sources including solar power, wind farms and hydropower. The service also allows charging at the most cost-effective time, relative to grid demand." Honda will partner with smart-charging specialist Moixa and Swedish power company Vattenfall to roll out the new service across Europe.
Part of the setup will include the new Honda Power Charger, a domestic unit that will charge a Honda e from zero to 100 per cent capacity from a 32-amp power supply in just over four hours, significantly faster than a standard domestic wall socket.
Jørgen Pluym, Energy Management Project Leader, Honda Motor Europe, comments: "The introduction of e:Progress marks a key milestone for Honda in the development of our energy management business here in Europe, bringing together all of our work to date to offer real value to EV owners. This is our first move into a service business model in the energy space, and we are committed to continuing to invest and develop in this area as part of the move towards electrification and widespread adoption of electric vehicles."
1.5 hybrid for the new Jazz
As part of Honda's general move towards electrification, the Honda e will be joined this year by the new Jazz, which will only be sold as a hybrid model (the Jazz Crosstar quasi-SUV will also be hybrid powered). The new e:HEV powertrain has been developed specially for the Jazz, and features two compact, powerful electric motors connected to a 1.5-litre i-VTEC petrol engine, a lithium-ion battery and a fixed-gear transmission via an "intelligent power control unit."
Total system output is 109hp, and the Jazz hybrid will hit 100km/h from rest in a reasonable 9.4 seconds. On the WLTP test, it emits CO2 emissions of 102g/km and fuel consumption of 4.5 litres per 100km is quoted.
My Honda+ app connects car to phone
As part of Honda's roll-out of more connectivity options, you'll be able to connect your Jazz to the My Honda+ app. The app allows you to control a number of vehicle functions from your phone, including remote vehicle lock and unlock of the car. For Honda e owners, an additional digital key function allows vehicle access to be securely shared with up to five others. Digital key works via Bluetooth and enables owners to remotely close windows and open the charge flap as well as locking and unlocking the vehicle.
The app also includes integrated roadside assistance callout, with geo-location and E-Call emergency alert too. You can also input a navigation destination into the phone, which can be automatically shared with the car, and for the Honda e there's remote charging and battery status functions.
Added to all of that is a new voice-controlled Honda AI assistant, which can handle complex, natural speech requests such as: "OK Honda, find me an Italian restaurant with free parking and WiFi that is open now." Honda claims that the voice AI system means that it takes 58 per cent less time to find and activate a function in the car, which is a boon to safety.
On top of that, you can now use Apple CarPlay and Android Auto through a wireless connection, and there will be a wifi hotspot too.