• May 27th 2010 at 7:14PM
  • 23
Honda EV-N Concept – Click above for high-res image gallery

Honda has stated time and again that electric vehicles (EVs) are decades away from becoming successful. Speaking to reporters in southern China, Honda chief executive officer Takanobu Ito reinforced the company's view by suggesting that EVs cannot succeed unless there is "a major breakthrough in battery technology." He followed that statement with, "If there is a suitable chance, we hope to work with China to (develop) batteries." Though the statements appear to conflict, there's something about Ito's words that got us thinking.

If we simply connect a few dots here, it seem like Ito is suggesting that Honda may consider producing an EV in the near future, pending that major battery breakthrough. We can also assume that Honda's interest in securing a source for EV batteries implies that the company may be slowly changing its stance on electric cars. Honda has always been known as an innovator and rarely gets stuck in the catch-up role. If the company decides to develop EV batteries, it would move a step closer to many of its main competitors. Now Ito didn't say much, but sometimes it takes but a few words to get the ball rolling, so hopefully Honda joins the EV revolution soon.

  • As you can see, the Honda EV-N can expertly carry three Easter eggs in its cargo area.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Months Ago
      UHHHHhhhhh.... what...

      Honda's direction continues to get blurrier by the day.

      "We are totally against guns, but want to get in the bullet industry"
        • 8 Months Ago
        Today in the newspaper...
        Daimler "in bed" with BYD.

        They founded a cooperation to make EVs specially for China in ~ 2013.
        The Cars won't come to Germany of course ^_^ but the batteries might.

        So I got a bunch of BYD stocks :)
        • 8 Months Ago
        *really* getting hard to track who's in bed with who these days.
        • 8 Months Ago
        So what
        VW partners with BYD too

      • 8 Months Ago
      China, China, always China. The hype never ends.

      It's not like there aren't plenty of other countries where labor is just as cheap, but at least a minimum of respect for IP, human rights and democracy exists.

      Yet you don't see shareholders wank furiously to dreams of massive profit and the board nod in approval unless the word "China" is uttered at some point.
        • 8 Months Ago
        Well GM sold the NiMh-Technology to Chevron. Now the good NiMh battery tech is LOST!

        If they would have developed NiMh further it could compete with liion today.
        The advanced NiMh batteries in the Prius 2/3 can deliver a lot of amps.
        Furthermore they can take a lot of charge during regen. most liion can't

        But this American technology is banned by the free markets.
        Everybody wants free markets, well good for the Chinese eh?

        So GM, Honda and Co have no other choice, because chevron refuses to make batteries.
        Now new companies arised in china. BYD is one of the biggest Battery manufacturers behind Panasonic, Sanyo and Hitatchi.

        Europe and America totally missed it. German battery companies focus on lead acid starter batteries. WTF???
        They have no idea what is happening on the market.
      • 8 Months Ago
      IMHO the prospect of peak oil is starting to scare the crap out of automakers.

      If gasoline hits $8 in America and all you have to offer is gasoline burning machines you'll be facing Chapter 7 real quick. It takes a good four years to get an electric car ready to sell.. Every car maker wants to have a head start in case things start to get hairy.
      • 8 Months Ago
      To any company thinking of sharing your technology or processes with China.

      GM thought it would build and sell its Chevy Spark in China yet only sold 8,000 vehicles. But Cheri (or is it Chery?), an auto maker owned by the Chinese government at the time stole the design for the Chevy Spark, called it the QQ and sold 50,000 units (I believe that is worldwide but the source does not specify).

      Honda also found the same thing when they attempted to build the CR-V in China only to find its design copied and now being sold as the SRV.

      Cell phones, mp3 players, cameras, you name it the Chinese steal it from ignorant western companies who think the Chinese will act in good faith.


      Oh, and the QQ is a poor imitation of the Spark. Look at these crash tests -- it's a death trap!
        • 8 Months Ago
        But here Honda wants to get battery technology from Chinese. Not the other way !
        • 8 Months Ago
        And they'll end up with crappy copies of American lithium batteries, haha.

      • 8 Months Ago
      What does "work with China" mean? Share battery technology with a Chinese automaker? Outsource battery manufacturing with a Chinese electronics company? Sponsor battery research at a Chinese university? One does not simply "work with China".

      Also, whenever I see that "Honda EV-N Concept", I can't help thinking it's Honda's sneaky way of discrediting EVs. It looks cute and toy-like. One of the challenges facing EVs will be convincing consumers that EVs are NOT toy-cars, but are full-powered and full-speed cars.
        • 8 Months Ago
        That's what I thought when I first saw that concept, they got someone to quickly knock up a rendering of a tiny old fashioned looking car as if to say "see, this is what you'll get if you ask for EVs". It was funny though on regular AutoBlog nearly all the comments were positive, which was very surprising. Personally I think it looks like cr*p. The Tesla Model S is amazing and the Nissan Leaf is growing on me day by day!
      • 8 Months Ago
      If you don't have a guaranteed massive supply of batteries (or Tesla's off-the-shelf approach), then either you don't think much of EVs or you're scrambling to arrange supply deals while telling people you don't think much of EVs. QED.

      The ability to "refuel" your car at home is going to be a HUGE game-changing feature of future cars! Even if Honda sticks with hybrids, they need bigger batteries to give them at least a few miles urban-only plug-in range, otherwise they'll look hopelessly dated.
        • 8 Months Ago
        Yes, me thinks the latter, skier. Toyota nestles up to Tesla, and Honda...looks for a partner too.

        "Hopes to work with China".
        If they've been ignoring batts (while pursuing H2), they're going to need a good strong partner, won't they? China's good in that regard.
      • 8 Months Ago
      Honda is a serious schizo. One second they are saying hybrids are horrible, and diesels are the best. 6 months later they reverse and say hybrids are their future. Now Honda has been saying EVs are a niche market and are not viable while pushing H2 the whole time. Now they want batteries for EVs?

      What does that do to public perception of your future products? You say they are crap (the tech) then turn around and build it. No wonder honda is the number 3 hybrid manufactorer of hybrids in the USA behind Ford... Ford?!? which only has 2 hybrids and cost almost 10k more than any honda hybrid....
        • 8 Months Ago
        the first possibility is that automakers are incompetent and they don't know what to do, another possibility is that they are playing both sides. catering press releases to the idiots who think EVs are stupid. while also sending some out to make it look like they are moving towards EVs for the green minded. all the while actually doing nothing of consequence.

        even though there has been some activity i EV land the last 4 years, the hard truth is that even GM with their bloated Volt is essentially doing exactly nothing. The Volt in such small volume wont make a dent and GM hasn't committed to other electrified models since all the while still mass producing their moronic SUVs and trucks. we are still in token effort land and they need us to crack the whip over their shithead minds just like who killed the electric car did. Since I appear to be the only one who actually understands the situation I'm sort of resigned to let itself play out when peak oil forces the hands of everybody. but it'll be painful then. devastating even perhaps. but you wont listen..
        • 8 Months Ago
        The right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing - or in this case, one division of Honda (the one pushing H2) is downplaying BEVs as they see it as unwanted competition, while another division of Honda, seeing strong interest in plug-ins and potential loss of market share are hustling to get their own BEVs and PHEVs on the market.

        One problem Honda has is that their hybrid system isn't well suited for plug-in use, unlike the Toyota, Ford, and GM hybrid designs. That means either modifying their hybrid design, making their own "plug-in series hybrid", or skip PHEVs and go straight to BEVs.
        • 8 Months Ago
        It doesn't matter if one hand doesn't know what the other is doing. from a public stand point all they (the public) know is the name honda is put on the product. that would be like microsoft saying windows 7 sucks at the same time trying to release windows 8. disparaging your own product makes no sense (from a pr stand point)

        I distinctly remember reading here on abg that honda said hybrids are inefficient and don't make sense (this was during the honda was going to bring diesels to the USA phase that almost all manufactures got caught in). I won't buy a product from a company that doesn't "believe" in its own products, which usually leads to longevity issues.

        They say the same about EVs a week ago. it's clear Honda can't make a decision about it's future path. Nissan does not go spouting off that H2 cars make no sense. it's easier to tear something down than to build it up. I would respect Honda more if they said we think h2 is the future, but we are keeping our options open. It's very clear that Honda has no idea of what it's doing, just look at the pushed back release of the new civic.

        @p54 on the h2 front. it is not a clean tech either. splitting h2 from o in water is MASSIVELY energy intensive, much more than what can be produced by a pv array at moderate sizes. most h2 that is produced comes from burning natural gas and if you do use h2o for the source you will end up using the same coal plants as the evs do. A moderately sized pv can charge an ev and can be located on a house or property.
        • 8 Months Ago
        Never heard that before, that Honda said diesel are best and hybrid horrible? They are no newcomer in EV, had one ten+ years ago. Honda have always said batteries need a breakthrough, they have themselves started a new company doing battery research. Honda are increasing sales in China, naturally they would like a partner in China to avoid duty on imports from Japan. Besides, one ingredient in lithium batteries are mostly found in China and China wants manufacturing in China, not just sell the ingredients abroad. Honda can make EV as well as anybody, however they have understandably been reluctant as today batteries are expensive and give cars a limited range. EV would only make sense in inner cities, and with extensive use only benefit local areas when it comes to "pollution". If all the vehicles in the world turned EV it still would not impact climate worldwide. If anyone stopped smoking it would only benefit the smoker and the people he/she associate with. Power plants are needed to produce electricity for EV, and diesel locomotives are hauling coals to power plants. Making hydrogen from water using solar power gives zero emission and powering a Honda Clarity fuel cell car gives zero emission. You can drink the water coming off the tailpipe. Wait till EV reach the market and see how they perform in everyday use and if people are content with the limited range and the cost of batteries at replacement time. Can buy a new car for the cost of batteries alone. All the limitations of current batteries is what holds Honda back, otherwise they could have continued selling their EV they had on the market 10 years ago. The limitations on batteries caused them to develop the fuel cell car instead, not that they can't make EV. Because of California law Honda are planning EV there. One country in Europe pushed diesel vehicles and as people bought them they raised the diesel price. I hope the push for electric vehicles is not to raise the cost of electricity once people buy them. Could easily be done as they require special charging stations.
      • 8 Months Ago
      Oh btw.
      The new Fiat 500 was a topseller here in germany, also the new small panda.
      also the new mini is a seller. so don't bash them for the "cute" and small concept.
      also the new ford ka (smaller than fiesta) was a seller.

      but imho honda should take the Clarity (which looks really good) rip out the big H2 tanks and equip it with good LiFePo4 batteries. and they would get an very good EV.

      they have the car & elec. motors but are missing enough batteries.
      well do something and bring it on. and forget about H2
        • 8 Months Ago
        Oh I'd love to see the day that happened :-) Imagine how dirty they would feel ;-) Still since it would come down to the bottom line they shouldn't really care that much, a vast majority of Joe Public would never be aware of what the original drivetrain of the Clarity was.
      • 8 Months Ago
      That concept car looks like something the Care Bears would drive.
        • 8 Months Ago
        LOL. how very true!
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