The 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid doesn't have a transmission, so how does it work?

The Accord Hybrid eschews every form of conventional automatic transmission--from dual-clutch to CVT--known to humanity in favor of a totally-new system.

Honda's confusingly-named Intelligent Multi-Mode Drive (i-MMD) consists of a gasoline engine, two electric motors, and an electronic clutch pack. Here's how they work together to make the car move.

The engine is a 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle inline-four with i-VTEC (naturally). It produces 141 horsepower and 122 pound-feet of torque, but most of the time it's not directly connected to the wheels.

That's where the couplet of electric motors (so named because of their tight packaging) comes in. One motor--the propulsion motor--is used to drive the wheels, while the other is connected directly to the engine and is used primarily as a generator.

Under most driving conditions, the gasoline engine is used to used to generate electricity, which is fed to the propulsion motor by the generator. Weirdly, Honda calls this mode eCVT, implying that there is a continuously-variable transmission at work.

In this mode, the engine will either be off or revving in a way that doesn't correspond to road speed; surely a strange sensation for those who haven't driven a Volt (or, to some degree a conventional CVT powertrain).

Electricity is also provided by a 1.3-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack mounted below the back seat.

During high-speed cruising, a multi-plate wet clutch system connects the engine to the road. At these speeds, the engine is operating in its most economical range and the single available gear is roughly equivalent to top gear in a conventional automatic.

The 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid goes on sale at the end of the month with a base price of $29,954, including destination.

Want to learn more about the Accord Hybrid's unorthodox drivetrain? Head over to Green Car Reports.


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