Out of nowhere, Honda just blew my mind away with the Honda Prelude Concept bound for Japan Mobility Show 2023.
Honda Prelude Concept carries the “driving pleasure” into the electrification era according to Honda press release. What astonish me about the concept is that how production ready the concept looks. Just look at the details, the door cut lines looks like a functional door. The concept even has wipers!
The Prelude Concept literally comes out of nowhere because when Honda revealed the concept for Honda e (which is still under Honda Urban EV concept), there’s also a Honda Sports EV concept displayed as well. The Sports EV concept however has that obvious concept car looks, but this… This is production ready, hey, did I tell you guys this concept has wipers?
Anywho, Honda will display the car on Japan Mobility Show 2023 this weekend until November.
Just like Newton’s third law, for every action there’s an equal reaction, in economics we say everything has a price. In economics, a price is not always something of value with a price tag but also something of value to trade. In physics, we trade fuel as energy source, turned into a mechanical action to move the person riding in a particular vehicle. In economics, we spare our hard earned money that we trade our own life time for a work.
Cost of living is something we gloss at as we get busy, and if we are willing to focus on the details of the cost, then we can miss a lot. Transportation cost is something that we have to calculate carefully as it becomes something that we have to do everyday to do our work. For those owning a vehicle, cost of ownership doesn’t just revolves around fuel cost, but also saving for maintenance for said vehicle and hidden costs such as accidental repairs.
Let’s not get too far ahead and let’s do a deep dive to operation cost of a car and compare it to an electric car.
Cost per kilometer (or mile if you live somewhere with imperial measurements) is the easiest metric to calculate your daily commute costs. The formula is simple, calculate your vehicle fuel consumption per kilometer divide it with the cost of fuel per liter. On my car (2015 Honda Brio), I get about 16 Kilometer per liter on my daily commute, and with the price of fuel is at Rp. 13,300 per liter, my cost per kilometer is Rp. 831.25.
Now for electric car, I use Wuling Air EV as comparison and here’s how to calculate its cost per kilometer. I take my home electricity cost which is Rp. 1,669.53 per kWh, multiply by the battery capacity (17.3 kWh) and then divided by the range which results in cost per kilometer of Rp. 192.55
Air EV Standard Range
Cost per kilometer
So why I put asterisk on the table? Because it’s my own worst case estimate as Wuling only said the range of the Air EV Standard Range as 200 Kilometers. As of 2023, Indonesia does not have governmental body who oversees fuel consumption or energy consumption of electric cars, so any figures are manufacturer’s claim which not might be true or at least resulted from the manufacturer ideal testing methodology which often negate real world condition. I put 150 Kilometers adding aircon power draw and/or rough driving which definitely will demand more power from the battery.
In nutshell, even at worst condition at 150 kilometer range, the cost per kilometer of Wuling Air EV is insane. On my daily commute of 60 Kilometers, that means if I drive Wuling Air EV, I only need to pay Rp. 11,600 (rounded) while I have to pay Rp. 49,900 (rounded) on my 2015 Honda Brio. If a cost saving of almost 4x does not open your eyes, hey congrats, you have made it in life and money is not an issue, for me though, that fact alone truly made me consider of buying an electric car.
One thing to note, the cost per kilometer is still very much a theory as I still haven’t confirm it. It might be worse, but still, even at the very worst, 100 Kilometers of range, the cost per kilometer still comes back to Rp. 17,330, more than x2 improvement from the 2015 Honda Brio.
So this is one thing to consider of owning an electric car… And if your only transportation means revolves around using a 4 wheeler, then the cheapest electric car will do… So hello Wuling.
YO! What’s this, long time no update and suddenly I wrote hello Wuling, am I abandoning Honda? Well yes and no. I’m finally in the market for an electric car as I’m badly affected by the city routing restrictions.
My current work place is situated smack dab at the center of Jakarta, a place where crazy traffic met with inadequate public transit. As of this writing, the city government employ routing restriction towards the center of the city with and odd/even number plate. Obviously the restriction isn’t effective enough as people bought second hand or even new cheap cars with alternating number plate to defeat the ruling. There is also the condition that the zoning is created to allow alternative route for people who have extra time on their hands to take the long route (like extra long + crazy traffic jam) to reach the city center.
I tried using public transit, but the result is not adequate enough as it goes further from the city center the public transit situation worsens. So much so, that everybody and their cat suggests me taking gojek/grab bike ride after the last bus stop which defeats the cost saving from using a public transit.
There are two things as of now (2023) that is allowed to go to the city center without having to follow the odd/even number plate, motorcycles and electric car. Motorcycle is a no go for me, as I have childhood and recent trauma about being hit by one while walking across the street and literally watching a person snapped their neck falling from their motorcycle.
I understand that electric cars, even though it has been around for decades is still in its introduction phase and I understand that electric cars with its “green” credentials aren’t exactly true. So for the next posts or three or four (just don’t count it, it will be a lot), I will post about what is electric car and why should you buy it or not.
So what is the Ropot… Well, it’s part of Honda Safety For All campaign that targeted small children to notify them to be careful about crossing roads. Daisuke Kiryu, Japan Honda engineer came out with the idea for a safety device for Japanese children that walks to school. The device came with GPS, and milimeter wave radar that is equipped on Honda SENSING level 2 autonomous driving aid system.
The concept couldn’t be simpler. In Japan, many elementary children walks to school. However, children at elementary grade age have two problems, their small stature makes them hard to be noticed on the road and children limited vision does not allow full range of view compared to adults. As such road accidents involving children as young as 7 years old is prevalent in Japan. Daisuke Kiryu, having a child about the same age thinking out of the box on how he can apply his engineering skill with the full force of Honda engineering on his back to provide safety for children.
Daisuke Kiryu himself is engineer for exhaust system, and as such does not have the required knowledge of systems to create the safety device. Helping him was Satoshi Fujii, involved in the development of Honda SENSING that literally change the simple concept from a device that only alerts children about crossing the road safely using location service, into one that have the ability to detect incoming traffic.
Honda have no information whether to mass produce the Ropot and sell it to the public globally, but this is the kind of engineering exercise that allows engineers to flex their creativity and come up with fresh ideas.
It’s so refreshing that Honda product line as of late is exciting once again. The BR-V comes with Honda Sensing tech and now we have the WR-V, Honda first ever entry level SUV also with Sensing tech.
My infatuation with Honda Sensing might be weird for some but considering that Honda pushes a lot of safety feature only to be overshadowed by performance and efficiency is unwarranted. Honda at its core also care for safety for all and Honda is even running a global “Safety for Everyone” campaign. Honda pursuit in safety is another topic altogether, but including Honda Sensing option on the WR-V is not just a right decision, but also a part of proper decisions that built the WR-V.
Let’s see what other thing Honda (technically) got WR-V right the first time around.
The proven engine
Obviously, heritage brings about credibility. Lots of establishments proudly stated their year of founding in bold letters because including the year it was established shows success, and has been around for awhile. Yes, first generation product does not necessarily means it will always fail, but there is some degree of uncertainty. The WR-V name, now a second generation product means that Honda is aware of the first generation shortcomings, and most likely address any issues with the second generation. Sure there are people who complaint about the name… Yes, there are…. Because W is the annoying only three syllable letter in alphabet. From A to Z, every letter is one syllable word, only W that required its speakers to pronounce DOUBLE-U. For Indonesian, some people have difficulty saying the WR-V name. Some people who have good English say it with English phonetic, WR-V or double-u-are-vee. However, a lot of people say the name using Indonesian phonetic which omits the double-u and replaces it with W in Indonesian phonetic which is only just 1 syllable. Is it a deal breaker? Luckily no, the car is just that good.
The Proven Engine
When Toyota/Daihatsu small SUV twins came out with a 1.0L turbo engine, everybody and their grandmother deduce that the Honda small SUV (then SUV RS concept) will carry the same engine. After all, Honda own 1.0L turbo (P10A) have been used on the Civic FK and City GN. Honda and Toyota/Daihatsu engine even share the same characteristic, being a three cylinder single scroll turbo. To everyone and their grandmother (and some of their neighbor’s) surprise, Honda WR-V actually came with the L15Z, the same engine installed on the HR-V, BR-V, and City/City Hatchback. This is quite a surprise because everybody (okay, proper term, the media and users) are expecting the same engine combo as Toyota/Daihatsu. Sure, the engine gives the WR-V a class leading figure, but it’s not just about power, buying a WR-V guarantees that any engine issues can be addressed immediately as it is the same engine shared by 4 other cars in the country. On another but still related point, Honda Indonesia mechanics only needs to maintain currently 4+1 engines, the L15B, the L15Z, the L12B, the R20A, and the K20C. The +1 obviously is the K20C, but since it’s only used on the Civic Type R, a boutique specialty car, we can actually omit that, so Honda mechanics mainly only need to maintain 4 types of engine currently. Compared to let’s say Toyota that have more than 10 engines to maintain, suffice to say that buying a WR-V also comes with a peace of mind about engine maintenance.
Design is always subjective, as beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder. Don’t believe me? Please, ask your boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife/mother if you’re not the most beautiful/handsome person in the world… Well for those people whose partner says “I choose you because you’re rich”, I truly pity you. Well, looks will always be subjective but to me, damn, the WR-V is truly stunning. The WR-V is technically a shortened BR-V, and it is (that’s why it can fit the L15Z), but design wise, the BR-V is simple and plain while the WR-V is oozing charm and class. The BR-V front fascia with its huge DRL looks proper but lacking character while WR-V RS split DRL looks stunning. I could drone on and on with the WR-V design but the best part of the WR-V for me is the rear. The hidden rear door handle, the aggressive C pillar kink, the windshield wiper that’s integrated with the rear glass, and the thicker rear combination light design simply combine into a more aggressive looking design.
Again, I’m stressing that I’m not dissing the BR-V. The BR-V is designed to meet all sort of buyer demographics, it needs to look “safe” as such most likely the design was intended to cater to everybody as much as it doesn’t offend anybody either. The WR-V as it is intended for the young and the young at heart simply have more daring design.
As a big fan of Honda, it really is surprising and refreshing that the Honda I like now is something reasonably priced.
What a proud moment as Indonesian that following Honda engineering guidance, the Indonesian made WR-V is awarded ASEAN NCAP five star award for safety.
The WR-V RS variant scores positively on all aspect of testing thanks to Honda advance driving aid system (SENSING) and 6 airbags. Even without the extra airbags, as you can see from the video above, the car structural integrity is not too compromise that first responder can access the interior of the car safely and swiftly.
As of this writing at least in early 2023, Honda WR-V is still being sold in Indonesia exclusively. However, historically, the WR-V is sold in Brazil and India as well. I expect the WR-V will go global at the end of 2023, with ASEAN market receiving the car at earlier date to slot below the BR-V. With the market demand shifting towards SUV, the BR-V is the perfect car to spearhead the entry level segment.
Ah turbo engine, I still remember in the 90s, where everybody and their grandmother in the car modding scene wants to turbocharge their cars. It was truly a wild time with many Japanese sports cars of the era are using turbochargers such as Lancer Evo, WRX, RX-7, Supra, GT-R and many others. Seems like if you don’t have turbocharger, then you’re not a sports car (well, the NSX begs to differ, but NSX is an exotic car rather than a pure sports car). Fast forward 3 decades today, turbocharged engines are everywhere in cars. Many European brand cars are turbocharged, and mostly they are small cars too, so what happened? Are all of those small cars are sports cars? Well no.
Turbochargers today is no longer in the domain of performance cars and more into the domain of efficiency booster. As government all around the world tries to curb green house emission, they introduce more and more stringent emission law that require engineers to utilize turbochargers on 4 wheel automotive products. Turbocharged engine works by forcing air into the engine to produce more power. As most cars operates at low engine speed, in reality cars do not need big engine. However, speed is not just the domain of making shorter time to a destination, but also a safety feature for example to pass a slower car. As speed necessitate the use of power, thus bigger engine, automotive engineers uses turbocharger to increase power. As traditional internal combustion engine relies on burning air and fuel mixture, forcing more air in is the easiest way to produce more power. As performance booster, turbocharged engine can extract more power from a smaller displacement engine that rivals or even exceed bigger displacement engine. The forcing of air however is not without risk, as the keyword here is forcing.
To produce more power than the same engine of the same displacement, turbocharged engine produces more temperature and pressure inside the engine, and one typical result from this is knocking. Knocking happens when pressure inside the cylinder is so great, it combust the air fuel mixture before the spark plug (for gasoline powered engine) can fire. This is why turbocharge engine mandate the use of higher octane fuel to minimize or even eliminate knocking from pressure. In modern engine, onboard computers have the ability to detect and prevent knocking by decreasing efficiency by retarding the ignition timing which also makes the engine produces less power. The one thing about engine knocking, especially on turbocharged engine is that with increased engine rotation, as power is demanded by the user, the temperature and pressure inside the engine increases. One way to alleviate this issue is to enriching air fuel mixture, by simply adding more fuel into the cylinder that acts partly as coolant to reduce temperature. For naturally aspirated engine, simply by having lower pressure and temperature inside the cylinder, they can rev higher, produce more power at the higher rotation engine speed and with using less fuel than turbocharged engine.
The use of turbocharged engine in modern cars for efficiency involves the dual nature of the engine equipped with turbochargers. In the simplest term, turbocharged engine feels like two engine in one, a small displacement engine, and a bigger one. Turbocharged engine does not force air all the time, instead it operates in two scenario just like traditional combustion engine, low load and high load. At low load scenario, for example driving at cruising legal speed on highway, the engine literally operates close to naturally aspirated engine with the turbocharger working in an off boost fashion . For example in our topic is Toyota Raize engine, at low load scenario it operates like any three cylinder 1.0L engine. Compared to Honda WR-V engine at low load scenario as it is a four cylinder 1.5L engine, the Toyota engine offers technical efficiency based on physics alone.
However, one does not simply drive a car only on low load scenario, which is cruising speed unobstructed on highway alone. The combination of low and high load scenario like stop and go driving in city, complete with traffic jam and having to speed up to pass another driver means that turbocharged engine is always on boost at any typical driving condition. The ideal way to drive small displacement turbo engine cars like Raize is to drive slow, with the occasional half open throttle to pass a car only. This is how small turbocharged engine is intended to be used, as the engineers wants the user to revert to off boost and low load scenario immediately to reap the benefit of efficiency from a small displacement turbo.
I can already imagine if I post this content on youtube, every Raize owner probably already typing angry about how their car makes more power early and everything well… Thing is…
Yes, Toyota Raize makes torque early but that’s during on boost condition at high load scenario. At off boost low load scenario, Raize engine still needs to spin up and makes torque similar to Honda’s larger engine. Also, at the end of the day, Honda WR-V engine simply makes higher power. The debate for horsepower vs torque is tale as old of time. Yes horsepower figure is calculated from torque x RPM divided by a constant, or simply power is the function of applying torque. So both is important, one cannot do without the other. The only thing that matters is application of torque and horsepower. You want to move things a lot? Then look for high torque figure, you want to go fast? Look for power figure.
At the end of the day, Honda WR-V and Toyota Raize are both good cars on their own right. A compact SUV that delivers results in a different way. Honda going traditional with naturally aspirated “large” internal combustion engine and Toyota going with turbocharged small block internal combustion engine. The use of turbocharge engine allows for Toyota Raize to offer slightly gusty performance on slow to medium speed, and when somebody can utilize hypermiling technique, potentially delivers a more efficient fuel consumption. Honda WR-V simply decimates Toyota Raize at all driving condition but at higher fuel consumption as it makes more power. Can I get good fuel consumption from WR-V, possibly, but it will be easier to do so on Raize. Just pick what you like, nobody dictates your life.
Starting 2024, Honda will replace the NSX-GT Type S with Civic Type-R GT as an entry on the top GT500 class of SuperGT. The change is in response to Honda discontinuing the NSX globally and currently the Civic Type-R sits at the top of Honda performance car offering that is sold publicly. Civic Type-R GT will still be powered by Honda own 2.0L turbocharged engine per the FIA Class One rule that Super GT adopts.
The Civic Type-R GT as a sedan will surely draw quite a chatter on the paddock as the source car is a sedan, a far cry from the typical performance car that is usually a two seater or at maximum a 2+2 (basically still a 2 seater but with kind of acceptable back seats for kids or small statured people), for example any Porsche 911 or Mazda RX-8. Typical sports cars are compact to reduce weight and easier to manage aerodynamics which is not always the case for a sedan.
Japan Super GT is no stranger to odd car entries, after all, Toyota Prius and Subaru Impreza was fielded and both a 4 door car. However, both cars runs on the lower end GT300 class while Honda Civic Type-R GT will run against Toyota and Nissan best sports cars, the Supra and the Z. Japan Super GT obviously is not a production based race as it’s a silhouette racer series, meaning that the car raced on the series is only based off the physique of a production car with standardized components. For example, Toyota Supra being raced on Super GT is not the same Toyota Supra being sold on the market. The publicly sold Toyota Supra is using a 2.0L turbo engine made by BMW, while the Super GT Supra is using a 2.0L turbo engine made by Toyota. Same goes to the transmission and suspension system which is using standardized components for all participants.
By using Honda Civic Type-R gen V chassis, Honda racing engineers have quite a handful issues to tackle. First thing first, sports cars are low slung short cars for weight and aerodynamic reasons mentioned above. The Civic Type-R as it is based off a 4 door family hatchback is well, quite big. The production Civic Type-R has 1,890 mm width, 4,595 mm length, and 1,404 mm height. For size comparison, the production Toyota Supra has 1,865 mm width, 4,380 mm length and 1,290 mm height. Aerodynamic wise, Honda racing engineers needs to deploy every trick they have learned from decades of racing experience. As a spectator of the sport, I don’t know how to tackle the height of the car, but I do sure know that Honda engineers can take advantage of the extra length of the car to maximize ground effect just like current Formula 1 cars.
So sayonara NSX, thank you for the dreams, konnichiwa Civic Type-R, I’m expecting great things.
Well, long time no see folks. Well, status update time I guess. Life’s been okay, busy somewhere else, this blog after all is just a place for me to practice English and to talk (incoherently) about Honda. So here’s a recap of news about 4 wheels Honda especially in Indonesia since 2021.
2021 and 2022 saw Verstappen won F1 with Honda powered unit. To certain extent you can say that Honda made engine is built to last and has been proven and other Honda made engine can be considered as such, so it’s kind of something.
On performance side, Civic Type R gen XI launch is okay, they will retake the front wheel drive global track record again, but it is as expected from the king of front wheel drive car. The NSX gen II is dead, so that’s sad, so does the S660. So, no more dream car.
Honda BR-V gen II is launched, a compact SUV which is powered by traditional internal combustion engine, no hybrid option as of this writing. Honda advance driving aid system, SENSING now starting to be made as an option on entry level car for Honda so that’s good too, but it’s the common norm now.
Honda HR-V gen II is launched, basically a lengthened gen I with quality-of-life improvement in noise vibration and harshness, new 1.5L naturally aspirated engine with a bump on power and optional 1.5L turbo engine. Still a good entry level SUV and kind of posh too. I like the car.
Honda WR-V gen I finally unveiled, basically a two row BR-V with the same 1.5L naturally aspirated engine. Good on Honda for launching the car with a potent and proven engine. In the same class, Toyota/Daihatsu launched their Raize/Rocky with first generation turbo engine which is ground breaking, but turbo engine has issue with lower grade fuel which is still a thing in the country. Also, the 1.0L turbo engine is rated to perform at 1.5L naturally aspirated engine power, but technically, the power and torque figure of the Toyota/Daihatsu is still lower than Honda WR-V. Despite turbo advantages delivering torque at lower engine RPM, theoretically improving fuel efficiency, the complexity and extra care for turbo engine for me is unwarranted.
Going forward everybody seems going to offer hybrid options, which Honda still have yet to announce for any of their models in Indonesia. The Civic and City hybrid has been made available in Southeast Asia, but still no word for Indonesia. Toyota already announced that hybridization will come to the Avanza line in Indonesia, and I hope Honda delivers option for hybridization on BR-V or WR-V down the line.
And that’s it for 2022 recap. Have a great holiday and Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it.
Dubbed as the “SUV RS concept”, Honda finally unveiled its Toyota/Daihatsu Raize/Rocky compact SUV challenger at Indonesia GIIAS auto show.
The design of the SUV RS concept showcases a compact SUV with full character and premium looking SUV. The checkered mark intake grill motive and the thick LED DRL gives a very premium look to the car, while the flowing lines and the floating roof and bedazzled rear light cluster screams youthful design.
Honda called the car as a concept, and unlike the N7x concept before it which basically the production form of the second generation BR-V but with minor touch, the SUV RS concept do feels like a mismash of concept and production parts. The front bumper which houses the checkered mark grill seems like it’s printed on the plastic surface and the rear is devoid of rear wiper. There’s also the peculiar higher than regular floor to ground height of the rear hatch with very small opening for lever operation.
The car design is quite daring for Honda, and eschew many utilitarianism that old Honda products exhibit. For one, the rakish rear hatch limits the height of its cargo bay, making a very swoopy looking car at the expense of cargo bay usefulness.
There’s no word about when the car it will be based on will be announced, but strong indication that this will be the ZR-V that will slotted below the BR-V to fight Hyundai Creta, and Toyota/Daihatsu Raize/Rocky twin in South East Asia and even India. Honda should be aware of the compact SUV trend, or else they can just fire whoever is responsible on the product planning division. Honda has the WR-V, a ruggedized and SUV’d (if that’s a word) Honda Fit/Jazz being sold in India and south America since 2017, so the product planning division knows the market is there. If the SUV RS concept is going to be made available in late 2022 or even 2023, Honda will lose a significant amount of potential sales to Toyota/Daihatsu and Hyundai in Indonesia for the compact SUV category. Yet, maybe the delay means something more serious work needed to be done for the car?
The world is starting to enter transitional period to electrification in effort to curb greenhouse gas and the South East Asian region is following suit. Various tax exempts are being written to law for electric cars and other form of fuel sipping technology. Does Honda need time to rework the platform so eventually it can be fitted with hybrid or even electric motor? After all, strong indication that this car is based off the second generation BR-V, itself based from the (true) second generation of the (Brio) Amaze sedan. The Brio platform was never intended to house multiple drivetrain except for the 1.2L/1.5L (gas/diesel) engine because it’s simply built first and foremost as an economic solution to personal transportation in the targeted region. This is in stark contrast to Toyota/Daihatsu Next Generation Architecture that is built to fit traditional internal combustion engine and hybrid components. On T/DNGA, piping, tunneling, ducting and other structural components are built with hybridization in mind. Toyota/Daihatsu Raize/Rocky comes with internal combustion engine or hybrid system in Japan. When the regional government made clear about the tax exempts, Toyota/Daihatsu can just easily provide the hybrid version and stealing the spotlight from everybody.
So Honda, are you all in with the SUV RS concept? Take your time really, and better come out swinging.