The brand anticipates the Hybrid to hold a 50% market share of total CR-V sales.
The all-new Honda CR-V Hybrid has officially entered production as the Japanese manufacturer begins its transition into an electrified-only car manufacturer. This new variant will be assembled at three of the brand's production facilities in North America, the first of which is its Canadian facility, making it the first hybrid car to be assembled there.
Honda's current EV production hub will be located in Ohio, which recently benefitted from a $700 million investment strategy. For the CR-V Hybrid, the dual-motor drivetrain is being put together at the Ohio Transmission Plant, while the 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle gas engine will be assembled at the Anna Engine plant. The company's Indiana Auto and East Liberty plants will start production of the CR-V Hybrid in the next few months.
Honda is pushing for the production of the CR-V Hybrid because it anticipates that 50% of its sales will be for this drivetrain which comes standard on the Sport and Sport Touring trims. Clement D'Souza, senior vice president of HCM explains, "Knowing the importance CR-V Hybrid is set to play to our overall electrification strategy, this is a proud moment for the Honda of Canada team as we lead the start of global production of CR-V hybrid,"
Considering this and the Accord Hybrid aim to take up 50% of Honda North America's total sales, the aforementioned Anna plant is running at full capacity to ensure that enough powertrains are assembled. To streamline this process, more parts are being sourced locally rather than imported from Japan. As for the transmission plant, workers are poised to ramp production up by 300% so that 1,500 hybrid units are readily available each day.
The 2.0-liter Atkinson engine is a revolutionary gas unit that has been built with electrification in mind. This is the first engine from the brand to feature high-pressure direct-fuel and multistage injection. The cylinder head also has a two-piece water jacket, gas-cooling exhaust ports, and a large capacity cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) valve. These work together to lower emissions from the ICE more than before.
Furthermore, the new engine benefits from the largest cylinder head the company has ever made to fit the EGR valve. This is coupled with a more rigid and locally sourced crankshaft and the secondary balancer, which work together to reduce vibrations. Working with this to improve sound insulation is a new lightweight fiber-foam compound positioned throughout the engine bay.
Honda is going all-out on the development of its CR-V Hybrid because it will be a gateway product to its fully electric Prologue crossover, due to hit the North American market by 2024. When it arrives, this brand-new product will sit next to the Passport, which was recently handed a trim reshuffle.
Gary Robinson, vice president of automobile planning and strategy at American Honda, explains, "We are not going to wait until 2024 to attract EV buyers because we see a natural progression for a CR-V customer to Prologue with its slightly larger size, a larger interior, and capable handling. We will support that transition now by putting smart strategies in place with the CR-V Hybrid that will enable our customers to transition to an EV. "