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CR-z Idle

Winston my 2014 Honda CR-z sits idle now, its 151R battery hooked up to a Deltran Battery Tender + 1.25 amp maintainer. Topped of the fuel tank, turned off the insurance & will let the newly overpriced registration expire (thanks Wa. DOT) 

The story of Winston started back in 2014 when Meg & I were in the possession of a 2013 Nissan Leaf S. Knowing the lease was going to come to an end after 24 months, the search for a replacement vehicle had already begun. Without children & no plans to bring any new people into the world via our genomes, I knew I could make use of a smaller fun vehicle, but wanted something ATPZEV with a manual transmission. Jaeson Long, a long time friend of mine told me about the CR-z back in 2011, noting that it would be a cool vehicle to own. I had passively learned about it, including the 2013 spec update on Autoblog/green. I watched some youtube reviews of the 2013 CR-z and went to the Honda of Japan website to do a deep zoom & wrote up a blog posting about my findings.

One early April 2015 morning, I had but 7 days left to turn in the Nissan Leaf at the end of its lease. I had found a black Honda CR-z 6sp EX for sale at Honda of Marysville (Smoky Point). It was listed for $26,995 online. I called the dealer & offered $22,000 out the door & they went for it, agreeing to let me leave my Leaf S there charging on their car washing garage external 20amp GFI waterproof outlet overnight. I had to make it back to work later this day, and was ultimately 2 hours late as a result of pulling the trigger on the CR-z. Fortunately my boss at the time, Jim Deeken was understanding about the issue. With about 80% charge on the Nissan Leaf S & the drive from downtown Bellevue to Marysville on the highway at freeway speeds would surely drain the battery to a very low state of charge. On the closing 2 mile stretch to the Honda Dealer, the dashboard of the Leaf went full on Disco strobe mode with warning light as I had depleted the battery to a critically low state. Experience a full episode of range anxiety, my butt was puckered as I barely made it to the Honda Dealer with the remaining charge.

A french man who's name I am forgetting helped me to complete the transaction, while Joe the finance manager who had previously worked at Lexus of Bellevue sealed up all the paperwork at closing. The slick talker convinced me to add an extended warranty & service package, both of which I later revoked for a partial refund having considered their value of lack thereof more carefully as service agreements.

Winston is a CR-Z 2014 Model with a 6 speed manual transmission in EX trim! With a curb weight of 2670 lbs, the hybrid drive-train produces peak torque of 140 foot pounds at 1000-2000 rpms, while peak power is rated at 130HP @ 6000rpm. The steering wheel mounted spot plus button adds 5 seconds of electric boost if the battery is 30% or greater state of charge & the vehicle is traveling 18 mph or faster. The rear view mirror conceals a cleaver hidden until activated back up camera display, the corresponding wide angle camera is mounted above the license plate holder near the hatchback trunk lid handle.

When the CR-z was under development, the CEO Fukui intended for it to be a sport, exceptionally efficient & inexpensive fun car with "Compact Renaissance Zero" styling, reflecting a design focus of a compact car of newer styling from fundamental bases design echoing back to the original 1980'z Honda CR-X hatchback!

The 6speed manual in the 2013-16 CR-z was designed by the same team that worked on the Civic Type R and Acura NSX manual transmissions. The body frame structure design emanates from a 600 lb chop shrink of the second generation Honda Insight, while the engine motor hybrid system represents Honda 6th major unique IMA architecture. ]

IMA stands for Integrated Motor Assist, whereby an electric motor mounted in a "Flywheel" configuration that can inject power for acceleration and torque assist between the engine and transmission, or collect power from the transmission during deceleration for the accomplishment of brake energy recovery, storing energy in the IMA battery that would normally be lost as friction in the brake pads of a normal vehicle. This energy recovery and injection system known as IMA makes the weak hybrid configuration of a Honda superlatively efficient, with extremely low emissions, low end torque similar to a diesel vehicle but better, and fuel efficiency that is only matched or exceeded by other hybrid or electric vehicles.

The 600 watt hour IMA battery combines with the IMA motor to add up to 15,000 watts of power to the drive-train during acceleration. The IMA motor can function as a similarly powerful generator during brake energy recovery events. The IMA system in the CR-z also feature auto-stop, where the computer turns the engine off during low or no load events when the car is slowing down at low speeds approaching a stop, coasting at low "parking lot" speeds or stopped at traffic signal.


I am still paying off the loan for Winston, having financed the majority of its cost, minus my $5000 down payment. If I stick to the original plan, I will own the CR-z in 2021 or about 4 more years. I went with a longer low interest loan to keep the monthly payment low, $345.91 : so you might wonder why leave it sitting idle. I inherited a 1993 Subaru in relatively good mechanical shape and started using it as my rent-a-dent commuter vehicle. Then I got a notice in my email from the Washington State Department of Licensing notifying me that my normal $120 annual plate tabs was going to be $298 because of an RTA tax to pay for a light rail system I may never make good or regular use of. Considering this to be a bogus ripoff, I turned off the car insurance on the CR-z, plugged it into a tender, and will let the tabs expire. The state of WA DOT can lick my shoe. It is highly unethical to make car drivers pay for the light rail with their plate tag fees. The people who make use of the light rail should pay for it as ticket fee's. If the system cannot pay for itself then it does not make sense to install.


The idle storage program intent based on a 1 year projected use case avoidance principle developed per the utilization of semi-free asset principle established to make use of the Subaru that we inherited. $900 was embedded into the Subaru for new wheels, tires & an alignment. It has a transmission issue that keeps it from shifting into 5th gear until it has been driven about 10 miles at freeway speeds: correspondingly the net fuel economy for my 12 mi one way work commute is hovering near a rolling average of about 22 MPG. The CR-z driven the same casual way was achieving 38-42mpg. Doing the fuel cost analysis at $2.70/gal (dominate 2 year price trend nearby) given my roughly 24mi per day driving route + weekend means about 150mi per week or 600 mi per month or 8000 mi annually: means the Subaru will use 364 gallons or $1000 worth of gas annually vs 205 gallons or $550 worth of gas. While the Subaru uses $450 more fuel, the Subaru costs about $250 less to insure & $200 less to license per year : or a wash : push : what ever you want to call it! To conclude the year will be considered "2017 Subaru 1993 Flashback CR-z Hybrid Hibernation"

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