UPDATE: Disregard what The Asahi Shimbun said on this. The paper apparently conflated the upcoming Clarity-based PHEV and the non-plug Accord Hybrid and has since updated its article. We got an email from Honda clarifying the situation:
The refreshed Accord Hybrid, slated to launch in the middle of this year, will not have a plug-in variant. Honda will bring a new, dedicated plug-in hybrid to market by 2018 that leverages the same platform that underpins the upcoming Clarity Fuel Cell. This new PHEV will feature more than triple the 13-mile electric range of the last generation Accord Plug-in Hybrid.
We apologize for the error.
Honda’s next-generation Accord Plug-in Hybrid could triple the previous model’s electric driving range when the new one debuts in the US in 2018. To achieve such a significant improvement, the company would equip the PHEV with a higher capacity battery of the same physical size and more efficient electric motors, according to the The Asahi Shimbun.
The next Accord PHEV could drive the equivalent of 68 miles in EV mode, the newspaper claims. However, we believe this figure comes from the Japanese test on electric models, which produces higher figures than the US evaluation. Tripling the 2014 Accord Plug-in’s EPA-estimated 13-mile range suggests a number closer to 39 miles when the new generation reaches this country.
A figure around 39 miles would still make the 2018 Accord a contender among the current PHEV sedans. For example, the EPA rates the Hyundai Sonata Plug-in at a 27-mile range and estimates the Ford Fusion Energi at 20 miles. The latest Chevrolet Volt, which would likely be smaller than the Honda, wins out with 53 miles of driving distance, though.
Honda plans a new pure EV and PHEV in its US lineup by 2018, and the plug-in shares a chassis with the upcoming FCEV fuel cell sedan. The next-gen Accord would give the company another flavor of PHEV to offer customers, too. American Honda Motor Executive Vice President John Mendel told Autoblog last year the company would update the standard Accord Hybrid in 2016 and introduce the next PHEV variant here in 2018.
2014 Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid: First Drive