While many other car-makers (with the notable exception of Toyota) are jumping on the lithium ion bandwagon for new hybrid models, Honda will stick with nickel metal hydride for now. Honda President Takeo Fukui told Automotive News that lithium ion batteries are not yet reliable or durable enough for high volume applications. When Honda debuts a new dedicated hybrid model early next year to take on the Prius, it will continue to use nickel metal hydride batteries.
Honda hopes to top 200,000 annual sales with its new hybrid model, a car that is expected to be priced below the current Civic hybrid. Honda has chosen to use a lithium battery in its FCX Clarity fuel cell car, but those will be very low volume initially and much more expensive. The continued use of nickel probably has as much to do with cost as anything else at this point. Given Honda's price and volume targets, there is probably no lithium battery available right now to the meet the need. According to Fukui, the new model is being engineered to allow for a running change to lithium when the batteries do meet the company's specifications.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. req'd]

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