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Honda goes lithium-ion for upcoming Accord Hybrid

The new Honda Accord will feature the company's latest hybrid technology.

Honda will reboot its hybrid portfolio with the arrival in May of the first petrol-electric Accord - and it will be a pointer to some of the technology that will power its next NSX supercar.

The Honda Accord Hybrid sedan marks a turning point for the Japanese company; it's the company's first all-new hybrid system in 16 years.

Toyota has sold almost 10 times as many hybrid cars as Honda globally but the company hopes to close that gap with a series of all-new petrol-electric cars.

The Honda Accord Hybrid has lithium-ion battery technology (for longer petrol-free driving range) and two electric motors (mounted back to back) which are connected to an Atkinson cycle engine (similar to that used by Toyota) for new levels of fuel efficiency.

Unlike earlier Honda hybrids, the new setup will allow the car to use electric power alone up to cruising speeds, when conditions are ideal, before switching to petrol.

The Accord Hybrid sips just 4.2L/100km

Earlier Honda hybrids used the electric motor only to boost the petrol engine once it was already on the move.

Based on overseas fuel economy figures, the Accord Hybrid sips just 4.2L/100km, making it more frugal than the Toyota Camry Hybrid.

Honda is yet to release pricing but it is expected to start from less than $40,000.

As with the top-end versions of the current Accord, the Hybrid will be available with a blind-zone camera, which shows in the central display screen an image of the left side of the car in turns or when changing lanes.

Meanwhile, the Honda NSX will be powered by a twin-turbo V6 matched to another version of the company's new hybrid technology (including a lithium-ion battery), and a nine-speed twin-clutch automatic. Power and performance figures are yet to be released.

Honda Australia is yet to confirm its allocation of NSX supercars, which are due to go into production in the US (rather than Japan) this year.

"We are still aiming for 2016, hopefully some time in the middle of 2016," says Honda Australia director Stephen Collins. And the price? "I can honestly say thatI have no idea where it will end up," Collins says.

In the US, the NSX is tipped to cost about $150,000 plus taxes and delivery charges. But it will probably exceed $200,000 here.

The original NSX went on sale in Australia in 1991 for $160,000, rising to $220,000 in 1995 then $256,000 when it was discontinued in 2005. About 160 examples were sold here from a global production run of 18,685.

Honda Australia says that only a handful of its national network of 107 dealers will sell and service the NSX.