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CR-z Revisited

Lovely Meg w/ Winston the 2014 Honda CRz EX 6sp Manual
"You have already made the choice, now you have to understand why" reflecting on 3 years with a 2014 Honda CR-z EX manual 

It all about the technology! Electric motors & a battery energy storage system with the best of engine designs transmitting motive power through a superlative 6 speed manual tranny; a hybrid system that yields longer range with less fuel & lower emissions. A system of systems that puts a smile on my face because it is fun drive! The tight handling makes twisty roads enjoyable, even at low legal speeds! The fun hybrid with sporty dynamics that echo back across the History of Honda, emblematic of the zeal that Honda's founder had for vehicle technology!

Regular Gas Required 

Simply add regular gas & experience exceptionally long range per tank, owing largely to the efficiency of the powertrain, a 1.5L Honda LEA SOCH 16 valve 4 cylinder V-TEC engine combined with an integrated motor assist permanent magnet brushless IMA motor generator & and a battery energy storage system that captures regenerative braking energy to inject back into the drivetrain later during acceleration as e-boost. The hybrid vehicle computers manages all the components automatically. The S+ button makes this one a hoot to drive ^^ No charging required, the hybrid obtains battery energy from regenerative braking & from excess energy created by the engine.

Brief Hybrid History

The founder of Porsche, Ferdinand Porsche created the Mixte in 1900. The electric motors in each wheel hub produced 1.9 to 2.6 kW, able to operate in short bursts at 5.2kW of output peak :) Using a spring suspended 44 cell lead acid battery of 80v & 270 amps hours, weighing 1.8 tonnes, power was delivered to the 4 wheel motors that weight 1280 lbs, yielding a net vehicle mass of over 4 tones. With a net system total of 56 HP, it cost 15,000 Austrian crowns. 1 USD in 1900 was equal to 2.1375 Austrian crowns. 1 USD in 1900 is worth 27.45 USD in 2017 : to calculate the price of the Porsche Lohner Mixte in USD2017 we take 15,000 Austrian Crowns / 2.1375 (AC/USD1900) = $7017 USD1900 x 27.45 (2017USD) = $192,631.57 2017 USD making even the topped out P100D Tesla Model S look affordable in its fully loaded configuration!

First car produced by F. Porsche, the Lohner Porsche Mixte
This 4 ton Hybrid cost almost $200,000 in 2017 USD
In the mid 1960's AMC was doing research & development on hybrid vehicle technology when they created "brake energy regeneration" technology that is now know as "regenerative braking" This is where the automaker combines electric motor generators with battery energy storage systems that can extract or inject energy into the drivetrain, and a fuel powered engine that creates all the base energy to power the vehicle. These components working together create a hybrid electric system that is greater than the sum of the components.

Battery Advances Enabled 

Electromotive Vehicle Technology to Flourish

The 1859 Lead Acid or PBA batteries do not have energy properties conducive to a hybrid vehicle operation of contemporary standards. It was ultimately commercial large volume production of NiMH batteries that enabled Honda & Toyota to mass produce modern hybrid vehicles around the turn of the last century (aka the year 2000) : I spent the millennium change from 1999 to 2000 in Paris France ^^ It was there that I saw a turbocharged Subaru Imprez
a that spiked my interest in advanced vehicle energy technologies. 

In the case of the CRz the 2010-2012 MY variants contain a 101vdc 5.75 Ah NiMH hybrid battery connected with a 10kw brushless DC IPM IMA motor generator via a battery PCU & IMA motor controller. The 2013-2016 MY CRz's utilizes a lighter 48lb more powerful 144v 4.7 Ah eco friendly ROHS Lithium Ion battery made by BlueEnergy, paired with a 15kw IMA motor generator.

The Honda technology in the CRz started development in the early 1990's when Honda designers were secretly developing the first Hybrid Vehicle sold in the USA, the 1999 Honda Insight. The following year in 2000 Toyota launched the first generation Prius. Many millions of hybrids are operating in the world today as a result.

Affordable Constraints

$25,000 USD2017 cars cannot contain enough battery energy storage to build a long range electric car like the Tesla Model 3. To achieve the affordable goal of the Honda development team behind the CRz, they looked to existing technologies that were able to produce something practical for more people to actually buy! 

The world is not full of rich people who can buy Tesla Model S's. Of the 7.4 billion people living right now, most are so impoverished that a $10,000 car is outside of their buying power. In China for example, they have more car buyers lined up to buy cars than there are cars to be sold. More that a billion cars are operational in the world today. Developing countries like India are the largest emerging markets for new cars.

Bad Drivers vs Autopilot

Sadly the lack of car culture in these new car emergent market countries gives rise to driver errors that senselessly harm other people, animals, person & property & more. Fortunately the migration of vehicle power technology to electromotive means that more computer can be integrated into each new vehicle, paving the way for self driving autopilot technology present in many luxury cars today. It is foreseen that autopilot level 5 autonomy superior to that of any human pilot will become a common feature in many new vehicle sold in the 2030 model year worldwide.

Manual Tranny Defense

The CRz EX manual is a drivers car, something that only a driving enthusiast can fully appreciate. To enjoy the chore of shifting, the driver must want to become an interactive part of the powertrain that moves the vehicle. 
The reason that cars have multiple gears stems from the fact that the engine can only produce useful power over a set range of operating rpms. If you were to directly attach the CR'z motor to the output shaft of the transmission it would at the 6600 RPM redline at about 27mph. The reason for second gear, third gear and so on stems from the need to keep the engine within its operation rotation speed limits. Higher number gears allow the engine to spin slower while moving the wheels faster. 6th gear is fully locked up meaning the engine can not spin any slower to move the wheels faster; namely at 60mph the CR'z's engine is at about 2700rpm.

More Gears 

Engines only make efficient energy during a very specific band of the power range. Thats why many automakers are putting more gears in automatic transmissions. Some luxury cars now ship with 10 speed automatics. In relative terms most early automatic transmissions were 4 speeds. Even the 2015 Toyota Corolla shipped with a 4 speed automatic originally developed in 1994/ the aforementioned tranny was so reliable that Toyota continued integrating despite its technological obsolescence.

Simple Reliable Manual 

Sandly many newly designed automatic transmissions like the CVT's from Subaru and Nissan are horribly unreliable. The Toyota Power Split Device is technically called a CVT, but actually an orbital gear assembly that represents the most reliable transmission technology ever produced. Manual transmissions are extremely mechanically simple, and Honda makes some of the nicest ones. Take for example the image of the 6 speed manual transmission of the CRz. A compact beautiful work of extensive racing optimization in the NSX and Civic Type R, build upon a legacy of giants that came before it. 
2011+ Honda CR-z 6sp Manual Transmission 
Honda CRz was the world's 1st Hybrid vehicle with a 6sp manual transmission. The 1.5L engine + Integrated IPM Motor Assist produces 2.0L like performance with ample quasi-diesel like torque from 1000-2000RPM, while riding lower in the chassis than the similar 2009 era 1.3L motors of the original Honda Insight while returning fuel economy of around 40MPG. Try to exercise exceptional foot throttle input self control to obtain the lowest fuel consumption. Driving in a fuel efficient steady smooth way also reduces wear on your vehicle, enhancing the life of your tires & brakes while lowering emissions of brake dust, tire dust & tailpipe fumes.

2011 Honda 1.5L LEA + IMA IPM Motor Cutaway

With 3 driver selectable driver modes, Eco, Normal & Sport, the platform was designed to prove that hybrids can be fun to drive. the 2013-16 models feature a motor powerful IMA motor, larger clutch, motor torque & horsepower, better performance & improved fuel economy. 

2011 Paris Launch of CR-z 

July 19, 2011 - Repsol Honda MotoGP riders
Dani Pedrosa, Andrea Dovizioso & Casey Stoner
show their support for the new sporty Honda CR-Z
by displaying the logo on their racing leathers.

Intelligent Engine Management

When the CR-z is driven at low speeds, the 16valve engine idles half of the intake values, producing better torque sooner while enhancing fuel economy with lower emissions. Idle Stop further enhances fuel economy by turning the engine off when the vehicle stops at a traffic signal or comes to a stop during a traffic jam. With millions of new drivers all around the world, traffic jams have become increasingly problematic.

The 2010 era powertrain design exhibits stronger power at lower speeds utilizing torque from the integrated permanent magnet brushless IMA motor generator to assist the recently optimized i-VTEC 1.5L engine, while the system continues providing electric boost to high RPM's for enhanced performance.

Driving Impressions

This not a sports car by any reasonable definition, it is a sporty hybrid. The small engine and relatively weak IMA system give reasonable performance for sane driving in real world traffic conditions that most drivers regularly encounter.

Electro-Torque Boost

Early torque is the main perk in the performance department. It pulls like turbo diesel from 1000RPM onward thanks to the IMA motor assist injecting nearly 40ft-lbs of torque throughout the engines rev range. No towing & if you do tow something it has to weigh less than 800lbs. Taking the CR-z over a steep mountain pass shows the weakness of such a small 1.5L motor. The only driving mode appropriate for high speed long trips is Sport, especially in mountain passes.

The Tachometer Illumination Changes Color Based on Mode
Driving Modes

There are 3 user selectable driving modes, Eco, Normal & Sport where the CR-z defaults to Normal on Startup. The CRz will shift the color if you are in ECO and give it more throttle. First it will go to 'blue Normal' and under full throttle or with a click of the Sport + button it goes "Red Sport"

Eco Mode

Eco mode has the IMA motor capturing & injecting energy into the drivetrain more of the time, while the engine operates on a fuel economy map that minimizes fuel consumption, performance & emissions. ECO mode makes a for blunted dull driving feel that make the CR-z feel poky, slow & medicore. The throttle response curve of ECO means you have to really step on it to make it go. Eco is optimized for stop & go traffic, driving in areas with lots of stop lights, and other congested conditions that exploit the full benefits of the Auto Stop engine idle stop system that turns of the gas engine when the CR-z comes to a stop.

Normal Mode

Normal mode has a nice balanced character good for mixed traffic conditions like those that you might encounter on a Saturday in mixed city & highway driving with variable conditions from congested to wide open. The throttle response & ECO mapping are balanced, giving it the feel of a decent car, nothing exceptional.

Sport Mode

Sport mode is where the fun happens. The shift light comes on much later in the rev range, encouraging you to spin up the happy Honda motor. Honda's small motors are notorious for singing at higher RPMs with very little power delivery early on. The IMA motor helps to make up for engines lack of low RPM torque in a very fun way in the Sport mode. Sport optimizes all aspects of the system to make an engaging driving experience.

This is where you can feel the pep, spunk, zeal, quickness of this 130HP 2670lb 6sp manual hybrid coupe. If you really want to feel the CR-z pull, OEM Honda dealer installed upgrades include a $5000 super charger that increases the engines power to 197HP, with more torque across the power curve. Upgraded wheels, tires, brakes & other HPD themed performance items are available from your Honda Dealer. I will stick to the OEM basic configuration that shipped with my 2014 Honda CR-z EX man.

S+ Button

IMA boost injects 20hp & 58 pound feet of torque for 5 seconds when you hit the S+ button, providing that the hybrid battery is at least 30% charged and the CRz is going at least 18mph. A freeway onramp is a good place to apply the S+ button!

Honda Legacy Build

The 2000 Honda Insight : Aluminum 65 MPG w/ 5sp Man
The build of the CR-z is really the spiritual successor of the 1999 original Honda Insight, loosely based around earlier driving experience principles of the Honda CRX. The CRz is based on a highly optimized 600lb shink of the second generation Honda Insight. The CRz drivetrain represent the 6th generation of Honda's IMA system in the 2013 and latter CRz.

1988 Honda CRX SI classic epic marvel von awesome! 
2013 Honda CRz II Hybrid 6sp Manual 
Fun Hybrid

The goal of the designers was to create an affordable hybrid sports coupe that could dispel a myth that hybrids are boring. If you look at the real world fuel economy data on Fuelly, you can see that most CRz drivers achieve 34-46 MPG, the moving average of the entire fleet hovering near 40MPG. In my personal experience I am able to get around 42MPG if I try to be efficient. Oddly leaving the car in sport mode allows me to achieve better fuel economy when I am trying to drive efficiently.

Extension + Waxing

To connect the dots between the Honda Civic Type R, the Acura NSA, the Honda Insight II & the Epic CRX we find the the CRz at the intersection of many ideas, earth dreams & auto sports teams, it is something magical if you know how to drive a manual. Driving the CRz brings me happy tears of enjoyment, something almost spiritual in nature. Call my phrases a hyperbole or not, the truth is that driving the CRz in sport mode connects me to the freedom of experiential choice more than any other vehicle, save for that special 240SX that I lost through a wall of tears after drifting it into a large rock.

Zoom Zoom Feeling

To say that purchasing the CRz was emotional was an understatement. Befuddling to logic itself, the rationale was thrown out the window. Pure clean tech sport hybrid tech as at the core of a feeling so deep and connect that I almost connect to the soul of Honda's founder Soichiro Honda. To be enamored by the power of engines * technology. I feel the freedom of being moved by a machine that you can connect with directly through the manual transmission. The sound of explosions of gasoline resonating through engineered metal exhaust pipe systems, the rumble * buzz of internal combustion, something mechanical that is alive, movement is life itself! A vehicle is a force multiplier like a gun! Often deadly, sometimes fun!

Optimal Wheels

The 16inch wheel size seems perfect given its practicality in terms of balancing cost, size, weight & real world performance. Racing wheels are rarely larger than 16inch for engineering reasons that support this size. Similarly lots of tires are available for 16inch wheels ^^ I will end up putting nice Michelin LRR tires when the OEM lot give up their tread. The OEM aluminum alloy wheels are light for 16in at 16.5lbs or 35.1lbs with the OEM dunlop tires. That makes a wheel upgrade to anything lighter very expensive. The lightest 16inch wheels with good real world strength bottom out around ~14lbs in forged machined metal alloys & ~12.5lbs in carbon. Basically the default Honda CRz 16 alloy wheels are fresh, tight & awesome!

2014 Honda CRz Aluminum Alloy 16in Wheels
The 10.3in brake rotor is visible too ^^ 
Super Suspension

Despite the boring sedan suspension platform, Honda extensively tuned the system in Europe throughout the CR-z development to give it amazing handling. Nimble, firm, tight, it feels dialed without any harshness, offering amazing grip with balanced compliance for smooth ride quality. It borders on feeling like a large go-kart without any of the harshness. I am remind of a Mazda Miata by the handling, which is very good thing. Steering is remarkable responsive with good feedback.

Honda CRz suspension configuration layout 
MacPherson struts in front with an unusual torsion beam setup in back. The extensive handling tuning by Honda results in remarkable suspension from a setup renowned from mediocrity in other platforms. Honda tweaked the torsion beam rear by mounting the shocks further back to improve compression damping geometry. The ride resulting gives confidence inspiring newbie drivers wiggle room if you enter a corner too fast without breaking traction during the over correction to keep it on course.

Dreamy Manual

The coolest manual tranny I have ever had the pleasure of driving, the short throw has nice clicky quick shift that feels solid & nimble. The clutch is tricky & if you do not execute a perfect launch the IMA system throws a warning error code that requires restarting the CRz to clear. In stop & go traffic you have to be really careful to launch it at a high enough RPM not to cause a torque overload IMA feedback error. Otherwise the clutch feels light & precise & is a pleasure to articulate while driving.

Thinking about the IMA system in terms of transmission means the tranny is getting up to 56 ft pounds of torque at 1000RPM from the IMA motor, something the 1.5L engine cannot do! Actually the CR-z was meant to be powered by a 2.0L K series engine, but the short fron safety gap clearances in the engine bay made crash safety testing impossible to pass with that engine. The engineers went hard to work tuning a smaller 1.5L LEA engine with 6th gen Lithium IMA setup borrowed from the lithium Civic Hybrid models.

Well Made Honda Historical Longevity Quality : 
Enduring : Strong : Tough

The car feels wheel made through & through. Closing the hood could be smoother, you really have to either slam it or push on it hard to get the safety latch to catch & close. The doors have a nice firm feel without seeming heavy. The seats are awesome, but there are only two ^^ Meg & opted not to have children years ago. The cargo carrying capacity of the CR-z is more than enough for our needs. Actually the rear cargo areas are awesome. You can fold down the plastic cover to unlock the full cargo space for larger objects like bicycle, snowboards or luggage!

2013-2016 Honda CRz Headlighting Assembly Drivers Side
Nice Headlights

The HID projector headlights are bright & crisp with good lumen projection & intelligent beam dispersion. Honda obviously put a lot of effort into designing nice forward lighting in the CRz. Meg really likes the tight horizontal projection cutoff that keeps light on the road without blinding oncoming drivers. One of the few cars available of all cars sold with really good OEM lighting!

The stip of segmented LED's beneath the main action provides DRL functionality when the headlights are turned off. The LED strip is disabled when you enable the HID low beams. Sadly you cannot turn off the DRL function. Keeping LED's on constantly shortens their useful life. I imagine changing the LED stip in the headlamps on the CRZ will be no easy task, nor cheap or practical. I am researching a way to add a way to switch the LED' strip on and off without modifying anything that would reduce the electrical integrity of the system.

High RPM & Rev Hang

The engine seems to hover around 2550RPM at 60mph in 6th gear. When you shift the engine rev hangs just long enough to make mental rev matching a little easier. I theorize that the rev hanging originates in the restrictive OEM air intake system. Others who upgraded to an aftermarket air intake noted that rev hang is reduced. The OEM intake does draw in cool air with a special vent pipe whose intake is located near the air intake path of the front bumper. Aftermarket air intakes often make uses of a less restrictive conical air filter located in the engine bay where warm air from the engine ends up entering the intake.

Engine Air Intake Extension

Technically a warm air intake can improve efficiency in colder operation conditions, but that entirely depends on the ECU mapping for fuel injection & ignition timing as well as other variables like the bore & stroke ratio. Prius hypermiling tuning enthusiasts often deliberately increase the intake air temperature. This in turn causes the ECU to lean out the fuel mixture by shortening the pulse width to each fuel injector, saving fuel, resulting in a leaner hotter fuel burn with less energy but more complete combustion + increased nitrogen oxides that the catalytic system must reduce.

It would be nice to have a longer 6th gear & know that Honda did increase the gearing ratio in the 2013 & later CRz vs the 2010-12 models. It makes sense in terms of the power curve to have the engine near ~3000RPM at higher freeway speeds given the way the SOHC 1.5L 6600RPM redline motor spools with its narrow 73mm bore & longer 89.4mm stroke "long stroke" ratio : a configuration lending to improved fuel energy extraction & enhanced efficiency.


Even more responsive than naturally aspirated, the IMA motor allows the system to make more usable torque & power sooner. You can really feel the V-TEC kick in after 3200 RPM. The 1499cc LEA engine produces peak power of 114 hp @ 6000rpm while 107 lb*ft of torque comes @ 4800rpm. The IMA motor can inject 58 lb*ft of torque max at 1000RPM & while achieving ~20HP or 15kw at 1500rpm. The IMA motor can continue adding or harvesting energy at higher rpm's, especially in SPORT mode :)


Forward visibility is fantastic. Side visibility is fantastic. The two stage side mirrors are awesome & the rear view camera system is super cool.

A wide angle digital camera above the license plate feeds imagery to a screen hidden in the rear view mirror that magically appears when you put the tranny into reverse. The on-screen warnings can be language adjusted & you can enable or disable guidance lines that are projected into the image to help you gage distance.

The small vertical window in the hatch helps rear visibility 

The system of mirrors & active backup camera help to make up for terrible rear visibility deficiencies that are emblematic of aircraft.

Seats (interior) 2014 CRz EX w/nav 
Drivers Seat

Speaking of aircraft, calling the driver's seat a cockpit seems totally appropriate, the dash cluster & user controls all aimed at the driver. It feels cool to sit in this one. The dash startup sequence is fresh & interesting. I love that the tachometer is front and center ^^ Brakes are grippy, sensitive and very responsive, creating a reassuring driving feel.

The seats are heavy for non electrically attenuated models. Embedded with advanced safety beam force distribution & airbags, they weigh almost 50 lbs each! I bring up the mass of the seats because this car could easily lose another few hundred pounds if you stripped out all of the nice stuff on the inside to render something more nimble ^^ sadly removing the stuff inside increases cabin noise, reduces cabin insulation for heat & cooling, & worse makes the vehicle less safe in the event of a crash! I will keep it in its OEM flavor to save money & preserve safety! This is not a sports car, its a sport Hybrid! If you wanted a sports car in this price range the Toyota FT86 or Subaru BRZ is more your cup of tea!

Fun, cool & not ideal for 405 dense traffic congestion along my normal daily commute route; that manual transmission is more fun to drive in light traffic, an increasingly rare thing to encounter. I usually leave the CRz in its default Normal Mode for driving in traffic. If I know its going to be really dense traffic I switch to ECO. For highway driving Sport is the way to go! I lights up the road, has comfortable seats, good safety, good fuel economy, is fun to drive, not too expensive & well made! I think the overall value is fantastic as long as you were not expecting a sports car. This is just a sporty hybrid coupe that handles surprisingly well with a sport oriented 6 speed manual that only a real driver can fully appreciate! A rare gem among similarly priced alternative vehicles.

Sales Slowed & CRz was Discontinued in 2016 

The CRz sold well initially after launch, but sales softened and Honda ended up discontinuing it in the 2016 model year to make room for the Accord Hybrid & Clarity Hydrogen models. In an era where SUV models appeal to half of new car buys it's not at all surprising that the 2 seat 130hp coupe CRz failed to gain sale traction throughout its release cycle, though 6 years from 2010-2016 is not bad for a new model in terms of sale longevity. Reviewing the World Wide sales data it seems that Honda was able to move around 50,000 CRz's ~ Glad I was able to capture one for that system!

Mass Reflection 

The original CR-X's weighed under 2000lbs (~1,676–1,896) depending on engine & year

The Honda Insight II weighs 2727 lbs

The Honda CRz Manual weights 2670 lbs

As a general "rule of thumb" anything below 1500 lbs get pushed around at freeway speeds by wind, does not produce enough mass to keep the tires pressed against the ground for good traction, and in order to make a super light vehicle handle correctly it must have special suspension, tires, & impact accident protection safety becomes very complicated.

Removing plastic & changing the hook with carbon fiber, the rear hatch with carbon fiber, the windows with acrylic/ polycarbonate/ bucket racing seats, it is possible to remove over 600lbs from the CRz if you take out all the airbags, the stereo system & subwoofer, the safety oriented factory seats, the cargo container, carpeting & dampening materials : you could strip out all of this stuff to make a nimble go-kart like machine. You can even supercharge the engine or swap it for the 2L K series motor Honda originally intended for the CRz. There are aftermarket turbo kits, brake upgrades and other gear to pimp the CRz into unholy gas hog powersport territory if you want to go berserk and tune one to the moon. That being said it seems like starting with a Subaru BRZ would be a better platform if you want to build a boy racer machine. If you want road legal go-kart with no utility then Mazda Miata would be a good fit! Looking for a rally racer on a budget, Subaru WRX for you!

IMA System Optional / Removable

The CRz exhibits some interesting properties that extend well beyond its slightly bloated weight. The sporty yet comfortable & confidence inspiring chassis tuning produce a fun car that can easily be your daily driver. Consider how the IMA system enhances the small 1.5L motor with early torque at 1000 RPM. The compact, low mounted 1.5L engine exhibits low friction, lightweight, and the IMA helps to produce big torque from 1000 rpm's onward. The 15,000 watt IMA pancake IPM motor generator adds 58 lb*ft of torque early when the small ICE engine is spooling up to a rev range where it produce good power (2000-4600 rpm). The IMA helps the engine, assisting during acceleration and during cruising situations up to 70mph. The IMA motor generates energy to store in the traction battery during braking, when cruising, during gentle deceleration and when coasting. The IMA motor also acts as a rapid engine starter essential to enabling the Auto Start Stop fast restart capacity. The engine has a backup starter if the IMA system is disabled or frozen to an extremely low temperature. If the IMA system is disabled or removed, the engine can still power the CRz like a conventional gas powered vehicle. Some tuners actually remove the ~300lbs of IMA equipment deliberately in order to offset the weight of turbo-charging components they add when performance boost tuning the engine as a sports car platform.

If you remove the IMA system a dash warning will persist, noting that the IMA system is not working. Tuners simply ignore this feedback and focus on improving the engines output, chassis tuning, better tires, wheels and brakes. This means that the IMA system is completely non essential to the vehicle's core operation. In the lifecycle of a CRz this extends its functionality by removing a complex functional dependency tree present in Toyota's stronger more complex hybrids.

Tuners like the CRz as a base because of its high strength advanced steel unibody core, a stable, rugged, well made platform. They like the styling, stance, footprint, feel, look, presence : compact high tech & slightly sport/ aggressive / sleek but angular ~ coolness! I like the Hybrid setup & I am glad that Honda went with the IMA platform & a 1.5L motor instead of another 2.0L K burner. Going the lower displacement with IMA assist means more torque earlier in a system that achieve greatly improved fuel economy in real world driving conditions. Auto-start stop means less air pollution when most normal cars are getting negative gas mileage, burning fuel & not moving, stopped at a traffic light, engine idling away gas making fumes in its inefficient RPM range near idle.

SUV Dreaming / ETC & Commentary 

Lately I have been dreaming of something like an all electric RAV4 or CRV : somehow the SUV culture has infected me with this desire for a micro-SUV as our next vehicle : Probably the Prius V or something like that. Something high tech, clean, reliably with good range, good safety, and good utility. A good balance of future technology when batteries can be rapid charged without damage, when we move beyond the Fragile Limited Lithium Ion batteries of today, a technology that was first commercialized in 1990. An all electric Subaru Forester : in the future all cars will become highly electrified : internal combustion engines will become relegated to a role as a range extender generator.

Tesla & Porsche are already well into developing super high speed 350kw electric vehicle chargers that can add hundreds of miles in 10 minutes at 400vdc. Most electric vehicles have batteries in the 350-500V range. It was because of Tesla that I learned that 1/2 of new car buyers are interested in SUV's instead of sedans. Most cited comfort, safety & utility as reasons for desiring taller, larger capacity vehicles. That inspired Tesla to stretch the design of the Model S into the Model X!

Mercedes, BMW, Audi, VW, Porsche, Ferrari, McLaren, Ford, GM, Fiat, Nissan, Toyota, Honda, Tesla and more : all the automakers are going electromotive with electric vehicles. VW in particular and its German marques in crime are all pledging to go completely electric as the backlash of diesel gate goes deeper. Nissan was the bold one that went with the Leaf in 2010 ^^ Toyota & Honda have resisted going fully electric, fully aware of rapid capacity fade issues with existing lithium ion batteries : waiting to commercialize solid state fireproof battery technology in the 2019+ era when autopilot level 2,3 & 4 starts becoming a standard feature in more models from all the automakers. Companies like Qualcomm, Intel, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Nvidia and Google are all partnering with the automakers to bake in more intellectual digital information processing technology for advanced driver assists features that are paving the way toward complete autonomous driving.

There are 5 levels of autonomous driving. Each stage of autopilot development requires more computation processing, machine learning, advanced AI and other state of the information processing techniques and methods. Machine vision to achieve Level 5 for example will require the real time processing of data from multiple HD cameras that see in different frequencies, spanning from deep UV to infrared and covering all visible frequencies. LIDAR, RADAR, SONAR and other synthetic imaging technologies will feed additional information to the autopilot. V2G and V2V technologies will enabled the cars to talk to each other as well as communicating with infrastructure. Super precise location services will enable sub millimeter tracking accuracy, using pixel 3D voxel space analytic in addition to timing signals from GPS, Glonass and Beidou satellites.

Google already produces 3D street view imaging using LIDAR with surround view camera assemblies that collect many gigabytes of data per frame. Huge data sets of information known as big data are being assembled by companies as information assets to sell each other to enhance the AI functionality of drones, self driving vehicles of all kinds and other things like humanoid robots that will play increasingly important roles in the future. The mechanization and automation of everything started a long time ago, way before the era of thinking machines. Today most products are mass produced in systems enhanced with computer data handling, computer data organization, automation, computationally enhanced logistic, supply chain management, billing, accounting, engineering, even core scientific research is greatly influenced in layered ways by information technology. Even homeless people have smartphones, as do small children and other previously technologically disenfranchised segments of the population.

More people in more place, doing more things, in more ways. More of the same too, problems galore hindering mankind as we continue hurting each other senselessly. One human people one one planet earth all fragmented with division today. Eventually technology will connect us all together as we plug our minds directly into network connected computers. Everyone will be constantly aware of the truth about everything therein. For now it is Tobe the 1993 Subaru Legacy & Winston the 2014 CRz with Astro the 05 Prius II and Howard the 2013 Honda PCX150 scooter!!

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