600 HP Honda Hybrid Rallycrosser is Our Kind of Hybrid
The car comes from a team at the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research in South Carolina.
By: Evan Williams
October 11, 2018
The Honda Civic Hybrid was a 110 hp fuel sipper that while it might have briefly had a manual transmission was never going to inspire an enthusiast. This Honda Civic Hybrid, however, is a 600 hp rear-engine monster built by a handful of students.
The car comes from a team at the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research in South Carolina. The team built a race car that’s designed to change the way you think about electrification. And does it ever. Deep Orange 9 started off as a Honda Civic sedan and then underwent some massive changes.
It’s been stripped, because this is intended to be a rallycross car. But stripping a car doesn’t normally mean removing the engine too. The Civic’s standard gas engine is gone. In its place is an electric motor that supplies somewhere around 200 hp to the front wheels. Along with the motor controllers to go with it, this is still a crowded engine bay.
The batteries that keep the motor spinning are placed in the passenger compartment. The motor provides regenerative braking to help keep the cells topped up.
At the back is a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that adds the remaining 400 hp to the party. It sends power to the rear wheels. The through-the-road hybrid system gives the car all-wheel drive, too, which is exactly what it needs to make it at rallycross.
The students say that fuel economy is improved 30 percent compared with a conventional rallycross car. That makes sense since about 30 percent of the power is now electric instead of coming from gasoline. 0-100 km/h comes in at around two seconds meaning that it’s quick enough for rallycross as well.
To improve turning, the students added a four-wheel steering system. Turning the rear wheels helps the car go around corners without sliding like a conventional rally car. That can make it quicker on course.
The car also gets a semi-active suspension. The system is designed to let the car handle the dirt stages of rallycross, with jumps, bumps, and mud, as well as corner well on the pavement parts too.
This is the ninth Deep Orange project, an ongoing part of the University’s master’s program. This project is sponsored by Honda as well as Aisin, BF Goodrich, and Red Bull. Previous versions of the project have looked at improving mobility and connectivity. This is the first that’s a more practical application than a look to the future.
Because hey, there’s no better way to defend your thesis than with faster lap times. Right?