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While GM and Toyota have shown interest in making plug-in hybrids, Honda probably won't do PHEVs if Takeo Fukui has anything to say about it. And Takeo probably does have something to say about it, considering he is Honda's president and CEO. Honda is the second largest hybrid car maker, after Toyota, but Takeo thinks plug-in hybrids like the Volt are just electric vehicles with an "unnecessary" gas motor with no "real advantages." Takeo says he could make one in two years but don't think it will "reduce emissions." Here are some of his quotes from a Reuters article out today:

"My feeling is that the kind of plug-in hybrid currently proposed by different auto makers can be best described as a battery electric vehicle equipped with an unnecessary fuel engine and fuel tank. ... I'm not sure what kind of real advantages they [plug-ins] would have. ... I don't think that [plug-ins] will contribute to the global environment or to reducing carbon dioxide."

Honda recently stopped selling the Insight Civic hybrid but plans a big push for hybrids in 2009. Takeo thinks that, years from now, battery and hydrogen fuel cell technology have real promise as well. Be warned Takeo, you sound a lot like Rick before he came over to the green side. GM and Toyota are the two largest automakers in the world and they must have found some sort of necessary advantage to making plug-ins.

[Source: Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Reuters]


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  • 32 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      Correction: Mainly running on

      e.g., PHEV20, PHEV40 or PHEV60 depending upon how deep your pockets
      • 3 Months Ago
      The plug in Hybrid is such a good idea that we should do it secretly, and mass produce them in very large quantities. Then, let the Big Oil companies raise their oil prices all they want to. We can then thumb our noses at them while we drive by the pumps. Don't huge trees so much, it is time to stop dependence on the Foreign Oil Barrons. Then we can take care of the environment more easily.
      Hugh
      • 3 Months Ago
      Schmeltz, Honda didn't get hybrids right to start with. The Insight while a real fuel miser is a very quirky looking car with only 2 seats. The Prius on the other hand looks diffrent from a regular car so everyone knows what it is but has the space and utility of a regular car. Utility and everyone can tell I'm green design won the day. The Civic hybrid looks like a Civic until you see the wheels and badge. Honda my have a winning formula with a dedicated hybrid that is closer to the Prius in utility. My .02 cents on that.
      • 3 Months Ago
      Dear Sir:

      I am in Thailand. I use 5 honda cars already and currently own Accord, and Jazz.
      I would like to have another car but I must wait 4 months and everyone of my friends are also wait 4 months in order to get new car. What is going on in Thailand? We must wait for almost half a year to have New Honda Car ? Instead, Toyota wait only 1 week to 1 month the most !!!
      Can you please explain ? For me, now is the good time for Honda to get more market share because lots of Toyota are recall because of lack of safety issue.
      • 7 Years Ago
      It is a typo. Honda hasn't discontinued the Hybrid Civic, but has discontinued the Hybrid Accord and Insight.

      For the model year 2009 Honda is supposed to have a small dedicated hybrid for the U.S. Market.

      In Honda's position statements they feel that Natural Gas and Hydrogen are the most logical technological progressions. They have come out strongly against E85 and said that they will not offer a flex fuel vehicle.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'll be sure to wave at the Honda dealership as I drive by in my Tesla.

      And I'm willing to give them a dollar for every pound of CO2 generated by my photovoltaic solar panels.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Gary, Yes, thanks, changed. I meant to write only selling.
      • 3 Months Ago
      considering they already have the civi gx available ( http://automobiles.honda.com/civic-gx/ ) and you you can get 170 miles on a full tank I'd pick one of these up in a heart beat if it was available in canada. I'd have to fill up once a week which is what I do now but I'm sure it would cost me a lot less then $40.
      • 3 Months Ago
      I own a Honda Civic Hybrid (07) and using hyper-miler blogs learned how to ween 58 mpg from it. This effort becomes a "video game" effort and even a slight deviation from the regimen required to get high mpg and you take a big hit in the gas tank. A plug in may not be the end product we want, but its a big step away from driving intently with your mind on mpg. I might agree with the Honda president that we need something that gets away from liquid fuels altogether. An all electric car is required. As to pollution etc, at least with all electric plug ins the source of pollution is in one place and can be dealt with accordingly. However, that said perhaps the large established car manufacturers are the wrong agents to bring change. A look at APTERA a small california company able to design and produce an all electric or hybrid auto capable of 2-300 mpg is an interesting alternative, not to mention some other small companies like Tesla. The Denki Cube looks interesting as well. The best part though is that GM and Ford can't do to Honda and Toyota what they did to Delorean and Tucker and their own electric vehicles forcing us to take what THEY tell us to take. So change is inevitable.
      • 3 Months Ago
      This is a funny circus to watch. First Toyota says that the Volt with it's series hybrid design will be less efficient than it's own parallel hybrid design (total FUD), now Honda is saying that it's "kindof pointless". Uh-huh. "Our products are better", "No ours are better!" Meanwhile they just got leapfrogged by GM (at least in drivetrain technology, though the Volt itself may or may not turn out to be that great of a car). I guess if you say "our products are better" enough times people will start believing you... it seems to work with politics, so why not business?
      • 3 Months Ago
      Evan, I'm not sure if you got the full import of what I was saying. Yes, GM are responding to what consumers want, and that's commendable up to a point -- but there should be some role for educating and influencing consumers in a positive direction too.

      Up to now the Big Three in the USA have been actively goading their customers into buying the bigger, more expensive, and therefore more lucrative products. They spent millions on advertising and other promotions, convincing people to buy Hummers and Excursions to haul their groceries. Then they turned to regulators and legislators and shrugged helplessly: "There's nothing we can do about it! We're just making what the people demand!"
      • 7 Years Ago
      Honda is renown for superlative design, so this is other than typical nay-saying from Detroit. (BTW: Ricky has yet to come around; the Board muzzled his continually shooting down plug-in hybrids.

      What I would surmise is that Honda is ahead of the game with PEM fuel cells and wants everybody on the Honda Hydrogen Home Highway. Where President Takeo errs is thinking there will be enough time for people to switch to a Hydrogen economy.

      The smarter path is to build range extenders as an option. You want PEM fuel cell, it will cost you umpity-scrump yem; you want HCCI, it will cost you fewer dollars; you want a diesel that can run on E100, even less Euros.

      But it is all modular, so you can swap whichever for the other, while many running of mega-joules from the Grid, Alfonzo of the Outrageous Tie!
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