Electric motors bring an extra dimension to Japanese supercar
THE NSX HAS WHAT HONDA SNAPPILY TITLES Sport Hybrid SH-AWD, or Super Handling AllWheel Drive. The mid-engined NSX supplements its twin-turbo V6 with three electric motors: one driving each front wheel and a third ‘directdrive’ motor slotted between the engine and gearbox. The latter also acts as the starter motor, eliminating the need for the 12V starter and ring-gear system, saving weight.
Largely, the masses of the electrical system are centrally located, the controller managing battery charge and discharge filling what would be the transmission tunnel, while the lithiumion battery pack sits transversely behind the seats. The output of the electric motors totals 119bhp, and they have a significant impact on getting the 1776kg NSX to 62mph in just 2.9 seconds – electric motors produce their maximum torque from zero revs, don’t forget. Meanwhile, the front-axle motors deliver torque directly and precisely to each front wheel, which is pure torque vectoring.
Each motor can act independently, so for, say, turn-in agility, the motor of the inside front wheel could be unpowered, effectively braking that wheel, while the outer is under full power. The NSX’S electric motors positively power the front axle to influence the handling, rather than braking it. At the rear, tuned to match the front, is a torque-sensitive, multi-plate-type limitedslip differential that maximises the drive from the V6 and also offers stability under braking.
The third motor, sandwiched between the engine and gearbox, acts directly on the output shaft and, along with the front-axle motors, gives an initial kick that masks any turbo lag. And, because an electric motor is an alternator when driven, the motors recharge the battery on the overrun, taking a load off the brakes.
Engine V6, 3493cc, twin-turbo, plus 2 x 36bhp front electric motors and 47bhp rear electric motor Power 573bhp (combined) Torque 476lb ft @ 2000rpm (combined) 0-62mph 2.9sec (claimed) Top speed 191mph (claimed) Weight 1776kg (328bhp/ton) Basic price £144,765 evo rating