• Feb 18, 2008
Honda's plans to regroup its hybrid efforts are well documented. In addition to a new Civic hybrid, the automaker revealed that a production hybrid based on the sharp CR-Z concept is also in the works. We also know that a third hybrid model is being developed from the ground up, and we'll get to see it this September at the 2008 Paris Motor Show. This third hybrid will be smaller than the Civic Hybrid and Toyota Prius, the benchmark for hybrids the world over, and use a new version of Honda's "mild hybrid" Integrated Motor Assist system that can aid the car's gas engine in acceleration but not power the car on its own. In addition to great fuel economy, Honda is also targeting lower carbon-dioxide emissions than gas- or diesel-powered competitors. As has been noted before, Honda is betting that selling hybrids at a lower cost will create the demand it never saw for the relatively expensive Civic Hybrid. Its new hybrid will have an estimated base price of €16,000 to €20,000 (the Prius starts at €24,000 in Europe, the Civic Hybrid at €23,800). Production plans call for 200,000 units to be produced annually, with half earmarked for North America.

[Source: Automotive News, sub. req'd]


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  • 17 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Hybrids do provide some benefits over traditional small engines. Though small improvements.
      I am not counting the Prius though, I'm talking about SUV hybrids and cars (accord hybrid) that have power in them, not small engined cars. Sorry but I live in the mountains where I have a lot of hills, small engine cars don't cut it.

      Also diesel is not always the way to go, though it is in a good direction, however the emissions coming from them are not too likable. From what I've heard only in the places where diesel is cheaper than regular gas in the EU are where they are popular. And also because of their emissions they aren't so liked in the US.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The last time I looked, sweeping statements like the one saying most folks who drive in the U.S. are ill served by a hybrid, like a Prius, were unfounded. My sister, I nearly cried when she replaced her Mustang with a Prius, explained that in her daily commute she hit at least 12 stop signs or traffic lights in the 7 miles she drives to work. The Prius is a much better car for her if for no other reason than it's "start/stop" function that shuts off the gas at stop lights. On trips to visit the folks, she says the onboard computer tells her she is getting nearly 55 mpg. Another sister could probably benefit from driving a hybrid, too, as she rarely tops 40 mph on her 7 mile commute.

      There is a need for a variety of vehicles, BIG and small. More cars need to be equipped with the start/stop feature, not just "displacement on demand". And folks who feel the need to drive a hulking SUV because they need THE highest level of security/safety....should do the environment a favor and see a psychologist about their "feelings".
      • 6 Years Ago
      All hybrids, as I thought everyone who follows the issue understood at this point, are not equal. The Volt technology will be very different from Prius technology. The IC engine in the Volt will not power the car as the IC engine in the Prius does. It wil simply charge the batteries when the Volt is driven further than it can be driven on the plug-in charge.

      The Volt will always be propelled by it's electric motor with the small efficient ICE running at a constant speed and operating as a generator. That will make the Volt a high mileage car in all conditions, city and highway.

      As for pollution, battery disposal is certainly a problem but used batteries can presumably be recycled a number of times and in any event, will not cause CO2 pollution or diesel particulate pollution when they are finally disposed of.
      • 6 Years Ago
      BTW, to everyone calling the Prius a "midsize car" (and thus comparable to a Camry), be careful. The Prius's 110.6 cubic feet of interior space (which just barely puts it in the midsize class, and a long way off from the Camry's 116.4) is because of its cargo-boosting hatchback body style. If the Prius were a sedan, it'd be a dead ringer for a Corolla, possibly even smaller.

      This, of course, raises its "hybrid price premium" to at least $3,000, and reduces its gas mileage advantage to 15 MPG. Still a good deal, but let's be sure we're working with the right numbers.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Sounds like the Honda Fit Hybrid or some sort of slightly different version. Don't see what could be bad about that!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Because batteries are recyclable, go find a Prius battery in a land fill, please do, and when you do, go let me know so I can get the 500$ bounty that's on them. And then I'll use the money to educate people against making these ridiculous arguments that have been debunked 8 gazillion times.

      Also, if we need to work on lightweight materials, how come the cars today are lighter, more aerodynamic, and more efficient, and yet get less gas mileage?

      I think we need to educate our SUV buying brethren on the effects of oil drilling, transportation, distribution, and oh yeah, spills, my favorite.
        • 6 Years Ago
        As a certified PC Technician, i can assure you, Li-Ion batteries will lose their charge over time. Recycleable maybe, but worth doing, probably not.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Has everyone gone mad?

      Why are the auto makers, and auto enthusiasts in the know, not out there explaining to people how much worse for the environment the Li-Ion Batteries in the landfill will be Vs the exhaust gasses? Hybrid systems dont suit highway driving at all, providing almost no benefit over a traditional small engine, or a diesel.

      The car companies need to focus on lightweight materials, diesels, aerodynamics, useful interior space and storage.

      And us as auto enthusiasts need to educate our hybrid buying bretheren that what theyre doing is worthless. why couldnt the prius or insight have had a 1.4l Diesel instead of the god-awful , weight adding, landfill polluting battery system.

      Just my $.02
        • 6 Years Ago
        @ TYO and John:
        “Electric hybrids are worthless in the kinds of driving most Americans do - high speed highway driving. The electric motor is dead weight at that point.”

        I beg to differ. If you’d spend some time in a Prius on the highway (I can’t vouch for the other hybrids), you'll see the dash display showing the computer constantly adjusting between battery and engine with the slightest change in road elevation or throttle position even at high cruising speeds. Though I don’t get to drive hubby's ’05 Prius that often, we took it on vacation from Silicon Valley to Southern California in Summer ’06, and I did most of the driving. I was curious to see exactly how low I could get the mileage to go during the trip. We filled the tank in Livermore, crested the Altamont Pass and hit I-5 for 200 miles of relative boredom. To keep things interesting, I set the cruise at 90, only having to slow down for the usual left lane bandits and the occasional alert from my Escort (at one point where the road was especially empty, I was able to prove that the Prius’ digital speedo does indeed contain 3 digits!).

        After a couple hundred miles of this, I-5 and SR-99 join up at the base of the Grapevine. I backed the cruise off to 75 and continued up the hill. The next 8-10 miles is constantly uphill as the freeway climbs 3000-4000 feet to the summit, so both the gas engine and the electric motor are being used, mostly at full throttle. A mile or so before the summit, the battery had discharged to its limiter, and the car had slowed down to 50-55mph running on the gas engine alone (it eventually recharged itself in the downhill sections by the time we reached LA and another gas stop 40 miles later).

        When we stopped for gas in the San Fernando Valley, I checked the mileage; it was just a hair under 38mpg, not that great you say, until you consider that the Prius is a mid-size car capable of comfortably carrying 4 people and their luggage. I don’t think there is another mid-sizer out there that could achieve this MPG at the speed I was driving barring (perhaps) a couple of VW or Benz diesels (which are more expensive than the Prius and aren’t available in California anyway).

        BTW, the return trip was a lot more sedate (cruise set at 75 most of the way), and the mileage was a more typical (and satisfying) 44mpg.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I thought Honda was moving toward clean diesel. Or, was this just my imagination mucking up my reality again?
      • 6 Years Ago
      I love how people are all so concerned about the negative environmental effects of other people's used hybrids batteries but never give a thought about recycling the batteries in their phones, PDAs, Ipod, laptops, GPS, remote controls, and a million other gadgets.

      It may end up that there needs to be something like a tire disposal/recycling fee for these batteries, but I am sure there is a solution out there.
      • 6 Years Ago
      One more thought. We are in the early days of a technological revolution in how automobiles are powered. Yet so many of the people who post here seem to think that they have the ANSWER today as to what the best path forward is.

      I'd be more inclined to believe that if the folks posting here were all automotive engineers currently involved in powertrain development and already knew where the technology was headed in the next 10-20 years. But I don't think most of us do. So I'm willing to bet that the ultimate solution, if there is only one, or solutions, will continue to evolve and evolve rapidly, and go beyond what most of us can predict.

      These arguments over which technology should win out or is going to win out is a lot like arguing today, before Spring Training begins for the 2008 baseball season, who's going to win the World Series in 2015.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Hi Tyo,

      As a PC technician with a degree and 3 certifications and years of experience with lithium batteries i can tell you this... lithium batteries in laptops and phones in no way reflect those that will be used in cars.

      And like flat panel TV's, cell phones, Pentium computers, and laptops, the early adopters were looked upon with laughter and awe. The same will go for battery powered cars. In 20 years, nobody will remember arguments like this.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I hear ya brother, I hear ya.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Most Americans don't do the majority of their driving at high speed on interstate highways. Most Americans, about 80%, drive 40 miles a day or less. That makes serial hybrids like the Volt practical and might also make pure EVs practical commuters for many people.
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