Mike Stevens | Nov 13, 2012

Honda is developing a new hybrid system that will replace the Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) setup currently featured in the CR-Z and Insight, and hybrid versions of the Civic and Jazz.

Dubbed 'Sport Hybrid i-DCD', the new system features an intelligent Dual Clutch Drive (forming the initialism in the system's name) and a new 1.5 litre four-cylinder petrol engine.

The new engine now runs on the more fuel-efficient Atkinson cycle, and an electric motor. The package is mated to the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

The system will allow propulsion in three modes, depending on conditions and requirements: petrol only, electricity only, or both combined.

Honda says the system will offer an electric-only driving range between 1.5 to 3km at around 50km/h, with a maximum electric-only speed of 70km/h.

Combined with a stop-start system, Honda says the Sport Hybrid i-DCD will offer as much as a 30 percent improvement in fuel efficiency, compared to the existing IMA system.

The new system should shunt the likes of the Civic Hybrid to the top of the class, with the current model already listing fuel consumption figures of just 4.4 l/100km.

Honda justifies the 'Sport' component of the new system's name with the move from a CVT automatic transmission to a dual-clutch arrangement, and the promise of a 15 percent improvement in acceleration.

Launch timing for the Sport Hybrid i-DCD system is still to be revealed, but it is likely that it will surface in production form with the next-generation Insight hatch.

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