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At a news conference today in Japan, Honda chief executive officer Takanobu Ito outlined the company's plans to roll out advanced technology vehicles. Among the highlights: Ito revealed Honda will introduce both a mid-size plug-in hybrid and an electric commuter vehicle in the U.S. and Japan by the end of 2012. As part of the company's global push to develop more-efficient vehicles, Honda will also introduce a small diesel-powered car in Europe around the same time that its battery-powered vehicles hit our shores.

Honda will begin testing "next-generation electric personal mobility products, including electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid vehicles, electric scooters and electric carts" in the Kumamoto and Saitama regions in Japan before the end of 2010. The purpose of the tests is to verify "the effectiveness of next-generation personal mobility products with electromotive technologies," i.e., plug-in vehicles and how to best use renewable energy (solar) with these vehicles. Honda will test all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in the U.S. once the Japan test are underway. U.S.-based participants include Stanford University, Google Inc. and the City of Torrance, CA. Torrance will get a plug-in hybrid electric test vehicle by the end of this year. Honda said its first hybrid to get a lithium-ion battery will be the next-generation Civic Hybrid, coming in 2011. More details are available in the press releases after the jump.

[Source: Honda, Reuters]

PRESS RELEASES

Summary of Honda Announcements Regarding New Advanced Environmental Technologies

Honda will introduce new advanced environmental technology vehicles, including a battery-electric vehicle and a new plug-in hybrid vehicle, to the U.S. market in 2012, the company announced today in the mid-year address by Honda Motor Co., Ltd., President & CEO Takanobu Ito, in Tokyo, Japan. Ito also announced application of a lithium-ion battery in the next-generation Civic Hybrid in 2011.

The announcement outlined Honda's commitment to developing advanced environmental technologies for application across all of Honda's global operations. Highlights specifically related to the U.S. market include:
  • By the end of 2010 and continuing through 2011, Honda will roll out a battery-electric vehicle demonstration program in the U.S. with participants, including: Stanford University, Google Inc. and the City of Torrance, Calif.
  • The City of Torrance will receive a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle for evaluation by the end of 2010.
  • A battery-electric commuter vehicle will be introduced in the U.S. market in 2012.
  • A new plug-in hybrid system for mid-size to larger vehicles will be introduced in the U.S. market in 2012.
  • Honda's first hybrid application of a lithium-ion battery will debut in the next- generation Civic Hybrid to be introduced in 2011. The lithium-ion battery was developed through the Honda and GS Yuasa joint-venture company, Blue Energy Co., Ltd.


Honda to Begin Demonstration Tests of Next-Generation Personal Mobility before the End of the Year in Kumamoto and Saitama

Honda Motor Co., Ltd. today announced plans to begin real-world demonstration testing before the end of this year of next-generation electric personal mobility products, including electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid vehicles, electric scooters and electric carts. The demonstration program will be conducted jointly with Kumamoto and Saitama regions in Japan.

In a comprehensive approach unique to Honda to be conducted in collaboration with the two municipalities, Honda's electromotive technologies for motorcycles, automobiles and power products, together with information and communication technologies, a solar-powered energy station and other technologies will be utilised under the real-world urban transportation environment to address the following two agendas:
  • Verification of the effectiveness of next-generation personal mobility products with electromotive technologies, specifically electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid vehicles, electric scooters and electric carts, along with utilisation of sustainable energy such as solar power for the realisation of a low-carbon society in the future.
  • Study of how future personal mobility and the urban transportation system should be designed to contribute to the improvement of the quality of life (QOL*) of local residents.

By partnering with Kumamoto and Saitama regions, where Honda operations including manufacturing plants are located and collaborative relationships already exist in various areas, Honda will strive to effectively conduct verification testing and make further contributions to both communities.

Honda is planning to conduct this demonstration first in Japan and then in regions outside Japan such as the U.S., mostly in the area of automobiles. In the U.S., starting by the end of this year, Honda will begin demonstration testing of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles with participants including Stanford University, Google Inc. and the City of Torrance, California under the Advanced Technology Demonstration Program.

*QOL (Quality of Life): A concept to measure to what extent people are living their lives in a humane manner and feeling not only physical but spiritual richness and happiness.

Concept of the next-generation personal mobility experiment

Outline of the experiment: Kumamoto region

Honda will verify the effectiveness of its electromotive technologies and information and communication technologies to realise a low-carbon mobility society and to improve the QOL of local residents in the face of an aging society. Prior to the start of the experiment, Honda and Kumamoto region will sign a framework agreement on the experiment of the next-generation personal mobility.
  • Using experimental models of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles as well as the EV-neo electric scooter, Honda will verify the effectiveness of such personal mobility to realise low-carbon mobility within the region.
  • By monitoring the positional and operational information of participating Monpal ML200 electric carts, Honda will verify how such personal mobility will contribute to the QOL, especially the quality of the daily life and health of local residents in the face of an aging society.
  • By establishing and utilising recharging stations that use thin-film solar cells manufactured by Honda Soltec, Honda will verify the effectiveness of the system which reduces CO2 from the energy-supply phase.
Utilising the function of InterNavi Premium Club, Honda's original interactive information network service for automobiles, Honda will provide information related to the recharging of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles as well as information to support eco-driving.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 18 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Well, Hon-Duh finally realizes it's time ta make a trendier all-electric and or hybrid. You all knew it was gonna happen. The Clarity is just a futuristic splaying of Hon-Duh profits ta make a trendy dorkmobile that nobody really wants. We want a solid body design AND a solid hybrid or all-electric powertrain that will give great electric and calculated fuel economy. And last. And the furthest range available will help sell vehicles. To me range is right up there with the most important things to have in eco-vehicles.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Excellent news. Competition is good, even if Honda has made some questionable engineering decisions of late.
      • 4 Years Ago
      A 3 cylinder diesel with IMA + L-ion's would be a good European power plant,

      Take a 2 cylinders off the 1.5 IMA, make it Atkinson cycle and you have a range extender, make it run on natural gas and its a small co-gen unit.

      Stick that in the Clarity instead of the fuel cell
      • 4 Years Ago
      *PPOP!*

      Well, look who pulled their head out of their ass!
      • 4 Years Ago
      It should be noted that Honda already has a hybrid with a Li-ion battery: the FCX Clarity. Hybrids don't need to have an ICE.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Bingo!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Clarity does not have a plug, surely it would take a act of god or billions of dollars of research for them to install a plug on the Clarity. Wonder if Honda will be able to engineer a plug for their pure EV? Perhaps they will produce a car that goes a hundred miles and then discard it? Crush it?
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is a Good Thing.

      Sincerely, Neil
        • 4 Years Ago
        Range extender.

        As in a Generator.

        I wonder if Honda has any experience in building Generators!!!!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Honda have already done the engineering. The FCX Clarity is an electric vehicle, and already carries substantial batteries.
        They just need to remove the fuel cell stack and substitute more batteries and plug-in capability.
        The version with a range extender is tougher, as they will have to do new engineering.
        I hope they will take a look at the Lotus Range Extender, but I rather imagine that Honda will think that they can do better than anyone else when it comes to engines!
        • 4 Years Ago
        The Lotus, Getrag, AVL -- would all be good range extenders. Honda could even license the genset from Future Vehicle Technologies (FVT).

        Sincerely, Neil
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yep, they finally realized that Hydrogen just might not be the next big thing after all. The FCX Clarity is beautiful on the outside, but it is stuck with an anemic powerplant running on an expensive hard to find fuel. Take the hydrogen bits out of the Clarity, put in more batteries and a plug, perhaps even a small range extender, and they could actually start selling large numbers of them worldwide, rather than just lease a few to LA celebrities.

        BTW, I do believe that's the first FCX Clarity I've seen that isn't "garnet red". Not surprising, with an extremely limited production comes a extremely limited choice in colors.

        The current Honda IMA hybrid design is not well suited for plug-in use, I'm wondering what type of hybrid they'll come up with for their plug-ins.
      • 4 Years Ago
      They still seem timid. But, at least they're starting to recognize where they have to go.
      • 4 Years Ago
      After got it all wrong : diesel in US, Hydrogen car, mild hybrid that don't sell, EV and PHEV denial Honda is finally landing on planet earth. Not easy to accept that you are no longer the most efficient cars maker in US...

      Well is not too late to catch up Honda
      • 4 Years Ago
      Honda still has a lot of history and cache.
      But to be honest, 5 years ago I would have been very exiceted by this news.
      Today, I am sort of "meh - let's see what happens".

      Truthfully I would have been more excited if hyundai had made the announcement.
      That initial reaction on my part is not good news for honda really, unless I am the only one that feels that way.

      I would think these will be big tests for honda.
      If they deliver more lame-assery that is more marketing than engineering then I think they end up in poor shape.

      They are still a powerful company which moves lots of vehicles.
      But I hope they realize they are not in the break-out lead anymore and mistakes now could really be very costly.
      • 4 Years Ago
      fairly significant step but it's just much too little and too late. peak oil cometh bitches.
      cripple the economy it will. ice cars lead to oil use, oil use leads to peak oil, peak oil leads to SUFFEERRRING! : )

      reckless are you

      only a massive total replacement with ultra light ultra aerodynamic REEVs in an ultra fast development cycle will be enough. something like a 20 million car production capacity ready in 1-2 years.
      will that happen? with these super morons at the helm? Obama, Chu and the automakers. absolutely not.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I believe they can pull this off in stride. Honda still knows how to make a light and aerodynamic and chassis.

      Besides, i'm crossing my fingers that the EV-N will come out. I think the design is way cooler than the mini cooper/fiat/smart cars..
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