Mugen 2011 Honda CR-ZEnlarge Photo
Automotive News has interviewed the Honda CR-Z chief engineer Norio Tomobe about the latest hybrid. Apparently the CR-Z almost didn’t make it to production.
Tomobe said during the interview that he had issues with coming up with a purpose for the concept car, which was holding back production. By giving it a hybrid drive-train, allowed him to find a niche in Honda’s line-up. This change allowed the blessing of the Tetsuo Iwamura, president of American Honda Motor Co.. Iwamura prevented the production go-ahead until he drove the hybrid version.
However, the article points to what all car enthusiasts think. They write, “Yet going hybrid brought its own problems. Today critics assail the CR-Z as neither especially fuel-efficient nor sporty. And Tomobe is quick to admit at least one thing he wishes the CR-Z had: ‘more horsepower.’ ”
The article brings up another issue that Honda is covering up the performance of the CR-Z. Apparently the car’s 0-62 mph time of 9.7 seconds and mileage of 36/38 mpg, numbers leaked from an early production catalog, are being covered up by Honda for not being either fast (about the same as the Prius) or economical (the Prius gets 51/48)
Tomobe would also like to make a Type-R version of the CR-Z by reducing the weight of the car. This is hinted at later in the article that some serious weight reduction could occur by using a lighter version of the motor and inverter and installing fewer, but more efficient, batteries.
As for those holding out hope for a gasoline only version of the Honda CR-Z, prepare for your dreams to be crushed. The article states, “Critics say Honda could score by offering a gasoline-only CR-Z. But Tomobe said the company has ruled that out. The car's identity is too closely linked to being a hybrid, he said.”
The public will have to wait for a tuning company to do the work Honda refuses to.
There is a classic line created by Alfred Lord Tennyson, “Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”
In the case of the Honda CR-Z, maybe it would have been better if it remained a prototype.
[Source: Automotive News, Subscription Required]