The new Honda Jazz, inspired by Formula 1 Hybrid Power Unit (PU)

With the upcoming launch of the new Jazz, the latest Honda hybrid technology will be shifted from the racetrack to the road. Experience in motorsport enables Honda to use its Formula 1 Hybrid Power Unit (PU) expertise to improve the efficiency of the Honda e: HEV hybrid system.

All-new Honda Jazz, inspired by Formula 1 hybrid expertise – (photo credit: Honda)

The current Honda F1 Hybrid Power Unit RA620H is based on a highly efficient 1600 cm3 6-cylinder internal combustion engine in combination with an energy recovery system. The modern electrified hybrid systems use the energy generated during braking and through exhaust gases for additional acceleration and to reduce the turbo lag. In the past F1 season, the Honda Hybrid Power Unit supported the partner teams Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso (now Scuderia Alpha Tauri) on their way to three race wins and six podiums.


During a race, the energy efficiency gained and provided by the hybrid system is continuously monitored and adjusted by the Honda engineers to ensure optimal performance. The competence to always operate a hybrid power unit in the area of ​​optimal efficiency and performance is now used in the advanced e: HEV drive of Honda series vehicles.

The latest production model equipped with this technology is the new jazz. The e: HEV hybrid system uses recovered energy to charge the lithium-ion battery and thus ensures strong performance. It switches seamlessly between the driving modes and always ensures maximum efficiency.

Yasuaki Asaki, Head of PU Development, explains: “On F1 race weekends, teams have to carefully weigh the amount of fuel to comply with the applicable rules of the sport. In the course of the race, we can distribute the total fuel consumption over the number of laps – in some situations, however, more fuel is needed and used for more power, while in other situations fuel is saved for later. In the race, coordination between the lead designer and the driver is essential to achieve the optimal balance. We use this experience for our series vehicles with e: HEV hybrid drive to ensure that all driving modes offer the best possible ratio of performance and efficiency. ”

The e: HEV hybrid system has been redesigned for jazz, with the aim of simultaneously providing an optimal driving experience with maximum efficiency. It consists of two compact, powerful electric motors in combination with a 1.5 liter DOHC i-VTEC petrol engine, a lithium-ion battery and an innovative direct drive controlled by the Intelligent Power Control Unit (PCU). Together they enable a gentle and direct response.

In order to guarantee such a convincing driving experience and efficiency in a class of its own, the e: HEV hybrid system ensures a seamless change between three different drive modes:

Electric drive: In EV Drive mode, the lithium-ion battery supplies the electric drive motor directly with energy.


Hybrid drive: In hybrid mode, the internal combustion engine supplies energy for the electric generator motor, which generates electricity for the electric drive motor.

Motor drive: The petrol engine is connected directly to the wheels via a torque converter.

In most inner-city traffic situations, optimal efficiency is achieved by seamlessly switching between electric and hybrid drives. For driving at high speeds on motorways, the conventional drive is used, which is supported by the electric motor with a power boost for immediate acceleration if necessary. In hybrid mode, excess energy is also used to recharge the battery via the generator motor. EV Drive mode is also active when the vehicle is decelerating, generating energy to charge the battery through regenerative braking.

Instead of a conventional transmission, the Honda Jazz has the newly developed Electronically Controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (e-CVT) – a fixed gear for a direct connection between the moving components, which ensures low-friction torque transmission as well as more direct response and acceleration.

Honda’s racing tradition goes back to 1958, in 1965 the brand celebrated its first F1 victory. In all the years in which Honda participated in the F1, the brand achieved a total of 74 Grand Prix victories and six constructors’ titles. Participation in the supreme discipline of motorsport has enabled Honda to keep its impressive engineering performance at the highest level and to incorporate the expertise it has gained in the field of motorsport into the development of production vehicles.

Contact the author: cassandravega@wheelsjoint.com


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