Replacing the conventional gasoline engine with electric drive motors in the Snowra i HS980i and HS1180i has allowed the drive system to be computerized. This results in smoother forward propulsion and optimum automated speed control based on workload. And the two independent drive motors eliminate the need for complicated turning maneuvers, so even a novice can handle difficult snowblowing operations like a pro.
Operator fatigue has been significantly reduced. A height-adjustment mechanism maintains constant handle height regardless of up-and-down motions of the snowblower apparatus, while an auger lift mechanism automatically raises the snowblower apparatus when backing up. In addition, the force needed to operate all control levers has been reduced to just one-third that of previous models.
The new models are also much easier to inspect and maintain. A self-diagnostic function notifies the operator of any problems during startup or operation, and oil maintenance can be carried out without removing the engine cover.
The snowblowers are equipped with a Honda e-SPEC engine, an environment-friendly powerplant that surpasses US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Phase II regulations - the most stringent in the world.
Honda released the world's first hybrid snowblower --- the Snowra i HS1390i --- in November 2001, to rave reviews. With the addition of these two new models, Honda now offers a three-model hybrid snowblower lineup.