Honda has announced plans of a new engine family and engineering philosophy called 'Earth Dreams Technology'. It promises to introduce a new range of engines boasting class-leading fuel economy.
The new engine family will consist of sizes ranging from 660cc and 1.3 litres, to 1.5, 1.8, 2.0 and 2.4. All will feature double-overhead cams and direct injection, as well as variable valve timing and a new construction design which will see class engines drop around 15 per cent of their weight.
Honda says the new engines will feature high thermal efficiency through reducing the bore pitch and reducing the thickness of the cylinder block. Overall fuel efficiency is also set to improve by 10 per cent compared with the current crop of engines.
A 1.6-litre diesel is also being planned to replace the current overseas-only 2.2-litre diesel. Power output is said to match the 2.2 thanks to an efficient turbocharger. The new diesel unit will be more thermally efficient and be the lightest weight diesel in its class thanks to an aluminium deck for the engine block. Carbon emissions will also improve by 15 per cent compared with the current 2.2.
A new 3.5-litre V6 will also be part of the Earth Dreams Technology, featuring direct injection and an efficiency increase of over 10 per cent compared with the current V6 variants. The new engine will be used in Honda's upcoming flagship models, and produce 231kW of power and 359Nm of torque.
Honda is also developing a new SH-AWD hybrid package to be used in conjunction with the new 3.5-litre V6. The electric motors will provide a power boost of over 70kW to the rear wheels. Honda says this will help the powertrain offer V8-like acceleration and performance with the fuel economy of a four-cylinder engine.
The technologies will kick off in 2012 with the introduction of a plug-in hybrid mid-sized model, and 2013 for a hybrid version.
Honda hopes to achieve "top-of-industry fuel efficiency for every category within three years", and has set a target of reducing its overall emissions by 30 per cent by 2020 (compared with 2000 figures).