Those waiting for a new Honda CR-V Hybrid won’t be kept for long, as production of the SUV’s latest iteration has commenced in North America. Honda’s Canadian plant is the first to churn out the new CR-V, while Indiana and Ohio will follow suit in the coming months.
For Honda, it’s a crucial milestone, with the CR-V being America’s best-selling crossover for the last 25 years. It could also be an important model in Honda’s electrification plans, with the brand pinning hope on the CR-V Hybrid to drive home change.
Primed For EV Adopting Folks
The 2023 CR-V Hybrid follows the standard ICE version into production, but crucially, is expected to account for 50 percent of all CR-V sales. As such, the CR-V Hybrid is not only an essential piece of Honda’s American strategy but also one the Japanese carmaker is betting will lead customers into the EV age.
When the 2024 Honda Prologue EV was revealed, it was announced that the company expects customers from the CR-V Hybrid to be the first to make the switch — so much so, that shorter two-year leases will be offered, just in time for hybrid drivers to shuffle into the GM co-developed all-electric crossover.
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“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 Mfg. team as we lead the start of global production of CR-V hybrid,” said Clement D’Souza, senior vice president of HCM.
A New Electrified Powertrain
CR-V Sport and Sport Touring models will be powered by a 2.0-liter Atkinson cycle four-cylinder engine coupled to a pair of electric motors. The three plants responsible for CR-V production in North America (Canada, Indiana, and Ohio) are said to have worked closely with the Anna Engine Plant (AEP) and the Honda Transmission Plant in Ohio (TMP-O).
The CR-V Hybrid’s petrol engine is Honda’s first unit to combine high-pressure direct injection with multistage injection for a cleaner burn. It’s the largest-ever cylinder head made by AEP, and the engine requires new sound insulation that’s applied to the engine in three different places.
On the transmission side of things, the associates at TMP-O had to prepare for increased output for both the 2023 CR-V and the upcoming new Accord. There was also an increase in parts sourced from local suppliers — 80 bits and pieces were ordered, versus the outgoing transmission’s 20.
Finally, the hybrid motors themselves have changed in design, switching from coaxial motors to a two-motor parallel-axis system. High and low-speed lock-up ratios are also new, which combined with the other changes, improve gas mileage and the driving feel, creating a more relaxed driving environment at highway speeds.