Honda is using racing experience to improve energy efficiency of the e:HEV hybrid system fitted to the all-new Jazz.
The Formula 1 Hybrid Power Unit, named RA620H, uses a 1600cc six-cylinder internal combustion engine combined with an energy recovery system. Electrical systems recycle energy produced by the brakes and exhaust gases to improve acceleration and reduce turbo lag.
In the 2019 season, Honda powered Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso to three race wins and six podium places. Engineers assess and change energy recovery ratios throughout races, and the expertise is being used in e:HEV powertrains for road vehicles.
In the Jazz, the e:HEV recycles energy to charge the battery and support engine output.
Yasuaki Asaki, head of power unit development, said Formula 1 teams have to manage fuel usage, deciding when more can be used and when fuel needs to be saved: “In a race, the communication between the race engineer and the driver is key to achieving that best balance. However, in our road-going e:HEV hybrids we apply our expertise to ensure the powertrain control units deliver the best possible power to efficiency ratio for the driver, in any required driving mode.”
The e:HEV system has two electric motors connected to a 1.5-liter DOHC i-VTEC petrol engine, a lithium-ion battery and a fixed-gear transmission via an intelligent power control unit.
It has three drive modes. In EV Drive, the lithium-ion battery supplies power to the electric propulsion motor directly; in Hybrid Drive, the engine supplies power to the electric generator motors; and in Engine Drive, the petrol engine is connected directly to the wheels via a lock-up clutch.
In urban driving, the Jazz switches between EV Drive and Hybrid Drive, and for highway speeds, Engine Drive is used.