Will Honda’s Earth Dreams engines make fuel efficiency more than a dream?

Acura Honda NSX Concept SideAt the Geneva Motor Show, Honda revealed details about its new, more fuel-efficient powertrains. These new engines, collectively known as Earth Dreams, will power most Honda vehicles in the near future, including the next NSX sports car. “We aim to be number one in fuel economy in each sector within three years,” said Honda’s European CEO, Manabu Nishimae. “Through Earth Dreams Technology, Honda will continue to minimize our environmental footprint.”

Like Ford’s EcoBoost and Mazda’s Skyactiv, Earth Dreams is a brand name for engines upgraded with new technology. Honda will add VTC (Variable Timing Control), direct injection, and will build conventional gasoline-powered cars with Atkinson-cycle engines, even though that setup is usually found in hybrids. Adding direct injection, which shoots a precise amount of fuel into the combustion chamber, is an important step if Honda wants to compete with Ford and Mazda, let alone Hyundai and Kia.

Honda will also improve its diesel range under the Earth Dreams banner, reducing its engines’ displacement and weight to cut emissions and improve fuel economy. Honda will also replace its mild-hybrid IMA (Integrated Motor Assist), with a new system that features lithium-ion batteries and plug-in capabilities. Because IMA only allows drivers to use electric power for brief periods, Honda’s hybrids have never been able to compete with the Toyota Prius on fuel economy. The new system should remedy that.

To put its engines’ green power to the road, Honda will rely more on Continuously Variable Transmissions (CVT). Enthusiasts may not like the CVT’s eerily linear power delivery, but some kind of transmission upgrade was necessary. Honda offers a five-speed transmissions in the Accord, while most of the competition offers six.

The U.S. Will get its first Earth Dreams engine, a 2.4-liter inline-four, in the 2013 Accord. Europe will get a 1.6-liter diesel in the Civic. Honda says the diesel is the lightest of its kind and produces an extremely low 95 grams of CO2 per kilometer.

Earth Dreams technology will also be incorporated into the new Honda/Acura NSX’s V6. That engine, combined with the NSX’s three electric motors, will provide “supercar acceleration and outstanding efficiency,” Honda says. The NSX will go on sale in Europe by 2015, badged as a Honda. There was no update on the car’s U.S. launch.

“The NSX is the ultimate top-line sports model,” Nishimae said, “could we develop a smaller one?” He noted the EV-STER, an electric roadster concept making its European debut at Geneva, as an example of how green powertrain technology could be applied to a small, fun-to-drive package. Such a car would make a great replacement for the S2000.

With Earth Dreams, Honda is making a concerted effort to upgrade its basic engines and transmissions, something it will need to do to remain competitive. By starting from the bottom, Honda hopes to see improvements across its entire lineup, everything from sedans to sports cars.

News

Ford has a plan to future-proof the hot-selling F-150 pickup truck

Worried about the threat of rising gas prices, Ford will add the F-150 to its growing portfolio of electrified vehicles. It is currently developing a hybrid F-150, and it will release an electric version of the next-generation truck.
Cars

Muscle cars, trucks, and EVs roared into the subdued 2019 Detroit Auto Show

The 2019 Detroit Auto Show was the quietest edition of the event in recent memory, but that doesn't mean nothing significant happened inside the Cobo Center. Here are the new cars and concepts we saw at the show.
Cars

2020 Ford Explorer branches out with sporty ST, efficiency-focused hybrid models

The 2020 Ford Explorer gets two variants never before seen on Ford's stalwart family hauler. The ST focuses on performance, while the hybrid aims for decent gas mileage. Both models will debut at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show.
Cars

See the hotly anticipated 2020 Toyota Supra in motion before its unveiling

Toyota's plan to once again lure enthusiasts into showrooms involves bringing back the Supra, one of its most emblematic nameplates. Here's what we know so far about the upcoming coupe, which Toyota is developing jointly with BMW.
Cars

China’s GAC Motor cruises into Detroit with all-electric Entranze concept

Chinese automaker GAC Motor brought its all-electric Entranze concept to the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. This is the third straight year that GAC has appeared in Detroit, and the company has established a design center in California.
Cars

Some of Volkswagen’s electric models will wear a ‘Made in the USA’ label

Confirming earlier rumors, Volkswagen has announced it will build electric cars in its Chattanooga, Tennessee, factory. The facility currently produces the Passat and the Atlas. Production will start in 2023, Digital Trends can reveal.
Cars

Infiniti previews its leap into one of the hottest industry segments

Infiniti will unveil the QX Inspiration concept at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The design study is an electric crossover shaped by Infiniti's newest design language that may point to a future production model.
Cars

Hyundai’s Veloster N hot hatchback will prove its mettle on the track

The Hyundai Veloster N will go racing to prove the credibility of Hyundai's new N performance division. Unveiled at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Veloster N race car will compete in a class with other small cars.
Cars

Nissan IMs concept teases a future long-range, autonomous electric car

Debuting at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Nissan IMs is an electric car with a 380-mile range, autonomous-driving capability, and a backseat designed for being chauffeured. Too bad it's just a concept car.
Cars

The 2020 Lexus RC F goes on a diet to run faster and hit harder

The Lexus RC F has been one of the heavier cars in its competitive set since its introduction. The Japanese firm's engineers set out to shed weight as they gave the model a mid-cycle update.
Cars

Lexus LC convertible concept teases a new open-air flagship

Debuting at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Lexus LC convertible concept adds open-air motoring to the sleek LC's resume. But Lexus won't commit to a production version of the car just yet.
Cars

Fast and Furious fans get revved up: Toyota’s Supra sports car is back

The 2020 Toyota Supra made its long-awaited debut at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The resurrected sports car, famous for a role in The Fast and the Furious, goes on sale in the U.S. this summer.
Cars

Big tech, bigger grille: BMW updates its 7 Series flagship for 2020

The BMW 7 Series will enter the 2020 model year with a host of updates inside, outside, and under the sheet metal. The new-look nose with a jumbo grille hides updated engines, while passengers benefit from smart tech features.
Emerging Tech

Ford’s sweaty robot bottom can simulate 10 years of seat use in mere days

Ford has developed 'Robutt,' a sweaty robot bottom that's designed to simulate the effects of having a pair of human buttocks sitting on its car seats for thousands of hours. Check it out.