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Honda's chief executive officer, Takanobu Ito, has told a small group of reporters at a test-drive event outside of Tokyo that, actually, there is sufficient demand for battery-powered vehicles and the automaker can no longer shun the technology as impractical or unrealistic. Ito's words run counter to those of former Honda CEO Takeo Fukui, who strongly supported fuel-cell vehicles and showed virtually no interest in exploring or developing battery-only autos. Ito endorsed electric vehicles, telling reporters that:
It's starting to look like there will be a market for electric vehicles. We can't keep shooting down their potential, and we can't say there's no business case for it.
Back in July, Honda announced plans to launch a mid-size plug-in hybrid and a pure electric commuter car in 2012. The company stopped short of revealing how each vehicle would factor into the overall automotive picture, but the notion that Honda was readying a dive into two segments that it's never ventured into before was more than enough to whet our appetite and left us longing to discover more. Late last month, Honda announced that it will show off a battery-powered concept and a plug-in hybrid platform, presumably related to the two vehicles previously announced, at the Los Angeles Auto Show in mid-November. We will know a lot more when we get a first glimpse of both vehicles on the auto show floor in a few weeks.

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]


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  • 29 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      it is interesting and devastating to see how unaware the big automakers are. you'd think they would have guys in deep bunkers who wear robes and can cast magic spells but in reality they seem to struggle with basic engineering. so mundane minds that if it hasn't been done for 40 years they don't think about it. and only when flogged do they move.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Read between the lines-

        Honda, VW, Toyota, Benz, BMW, Porshe, Ferrari, ect, all in the last couple years have all came out with statements to say They would never make electric cars, bc they are not feasible.

        Instead they (along with big oil) promote the ultra-inefficient Fuel Cells.
        Why?
        They need to get you hook at the pump to make money.
        Anyone can get electricity from their homes, and green sources.
        You have to go to a middle man to get your oil, Hydrogen, ect

        These public statements are meant to sway the public's perception that electric vehicles will never work. That resonates with the masses, its called subliminal messages, and it works, many surveyed over and over say they will never consider electric power, even though its more reliable, quiet, cheaper, and will save you time in the long run (no oil changes, less repair, no gas station visits)

        So its not that they are just realizing the obvious, we've know for 100 years - as the first cars were electric, and very much liked.

        Automakers = big oil can only be tamed by an aware public and tamed by government oversight.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'm sure there are conspiracies and ill will but the incompetence seems real too. sure they are various kinds of evil but as deep throat said about the nixon watergate people 'they are not very bright guys and things got out of hand'
        just look at some of the resistance I encounter here to obvious engineering truthes and the people in charge are probably very similarly ignorant/obtuse. I would actually be surprised if even one of the major automakers knew how much better EVs will be and consciously fought it. their minds are so clouded they actually believe electric propulsion is bad.
        like republicans or tea baggers. it's not like they know they are evil or talk nonsense. they just do it. and if there is a faint moment of clarity where they realize they are engaged in deception or dishonesty they probably think it's a good thing, that they are being clever and it's fair game. evil is the absense of mind. darkness is absense of light
      • 4 Years Ago
      It's reasonable to be skeptical that there is a mass market for EVs. Someone like Honda looks beyond expensive niche markets. The price needs to be low enough that millions of people will buy it. For example, I think it is fantasy that many people will buy a $40k Volt or a $60k Model S. They might want to, but just don't have that kind of money. The housing boom is over, remember?

      The Leaf is somewhat of a game changer (they certainly have shocked Mitsubishi), but it still isn't cheap enough yet to capture your average car buyer. Nissan gets a LOT of credit for trying.

      I certainly hope that Honda can figure out how to make a mass-market EV.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Nissan has already sold out its entire first year production of Nissan Leafs."

        Reservations to buy are not the same as actual sales. There's also the issue of what happens when the early pent-up demand is satisfied.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Calling in "Pent up" demand makes it seem like just a temporary trend.

        But when gas prices rise, people seem to get "pent up" for a fuel efficient vehicle. And this WILL happen next summer, when (if) the economy stabilizes and the summer drive season hit.

        The only thing "pent up" is the oil companies waiting to raise the prices again after our economy is ready to pay.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Nissan has already sold out its entire first year production of Nissan Leafs.

        EVs are certainly still a niche market right now. But it is a real market with real buyers. And it is a market that will grow. Oil just hit $86.65/gallon today.
      Stuart
      • 4 Years Ago
      The simple fact of chemistry is that a gallon of gasoline contains more than 10 and as much as 50 times more energy per unit weight and volume than our best lithium battery. For diesel that ratio is even higher. To me the best hybrid combination using todays technology would be a supercharged diesel hybrid. The diesel engine would power a generator which charges ultracapcitors. The ultracapciors would take the place of the battery. An electric motor would then directly power each of the 4 wheels. The car would be fueled by biodiesel derived from algae. Eventually fuel cells could replace the diesel. A NASA study found that fuel cells in combination with ultracapcitors to be the best power combination for vehicles, whether on earth or the moon.
      • 4 Years Ago
      'Bout f***********************************ing time.

      I hope they give it a sincere effort.
      I have my doubts that Honda can shine like they did in the 70's-90's, but if they do i will stop hating them :)
      • 4 Years Ago
      Didn't he just cut the diesel program as well?
      • 4 Years Ago
      DUH...... did Honda ever lead innovation?
      Oh yea... a decade ago.
        Noz
        • 4 Years Ago
        Let me guess...you've got your life all figured out and have never been wrong.

      • 4 Years Ago
      Duh!

      I hope you lose lots of money with that fuel cell boondoggle you arrogant jerk.
        • 4 Years Ago
        You are write! That Fool Cell Bungle is going to cost a "pant load"- (borrowed from E-trade baby, online day trader commercial).
      • 4 Years Ago
      I guess Honda share holders were wondering why their market capitalization was continuing its backward slide for the last few years while their rivals Nissan, and to some extent Toyota, were going with the winds of change towards all battery electrics. Honda has a little catching up to do.

      Where are you Mid-Way / Two Wheeled Menace? This is what you have been waiting for the "I told you so" moment!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Reporting for duty. Sorry.. woke up a bit late. Catching up on my Honda bashing now. ;)
      • 4 Years Ago
      I've said all along. Use a trailer platform and rent a generator for longer trips.
      http://www.curtismall.net/scooters/index.php?productID=215
      • 4 Years Ago
      Precisely!
      • 4 Years Ago
      As far as the Leaf being "mass market". Not so much.
      http://nissan-leaf.net/2010/11/03/bloomberg-study-only-1-in-9-vehicle-purchasers-likely-able-to-purchase-a-nissan-leaf/
      I think that a vehicle would need to be affordable by more than 1 in 9 to be "mass market".

      Also the "need a second car" problem adds to the actual cost for many.

      As far as selling out the 1st year's cars. Good for them, but they need to prove that they can ramp that up, sustain higher volumes (supply chain), and lower the price over time. I of course want them to succeed in this.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I want so bad that the Nissan Leaf succeed that I ordered one for my wife ;)
        Having a company assigned car for myself, I can't use the Leaf in everyday, so I guess this makes 2 in every 9 people might buy a Leaf ;)
        Unfortunately where I live (Portugal) I will pay much more than American's for the Leaf, (our income is on average lower) and most of the time I won't be driving it (just at weekends). The bright side is - just need to pay half (she pays the other half:)
        Wost of all is Micro$oft Windows coming in Leaf's computer (actually I would pay more just to avoid it), and even though she wants the Leaf (I'm gad I did a good job at this:), in the end she doesn't care about the beauty in Leaf's technology and prefers to see TV instead of reading something more about the EV revolution.. :(
        bajohn3
        • 4 Years Ago
        1 in 9 is plenty to have a mass market vehicle. Glad to see Honda waking up to reality, or giving in to market pressure. Either way we should get more EV's.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Take away the enormous Government welfare to help people purchase those LEAFs, and How many would Nissan actually sell. After the welfare program, what will the sales be?
      BipDBo
      • 4 Years Ago
      I found it odd that they ever said that since fuel cell vehicles are EVs, powered by a motor that gets juice from the stack and a battery. They are really EV-hydrogen hybrids. Honda might do well to take the route of developeing a pure EV and look to the future of adding a hydrogen fuel cell as a range extender. The fuel cell in the FCX currently puts out 100kw. As a range extender, working with a larger battery, the fuel cell and the tank might be able to be smaller. The only downside, of course is finding room for people and cargo after you have packed the car will high pressure tanks and batteries.
        BipDBo
        • 4 Years Ago
        @BipDBo
        @ paulwesterberg' critics:
        I don't know why you voted him down. Building an EV with a plug and controls to get juice from a range extending trailor is a great way to increase it's practicality. One day, there will hopefully be more places to filll up on hydrogen. When that happens, a hydrogen fuel cell range extending trailor would be a great option, especially for customers who really don't want to ever burn gasoline. Keeping the stack an a trailor and off of the car would reduce bulk and weight when it's not needed. These trailors would typically be used very rarely and therefore would probably most likely be rented, say from the dealership.

        @letstakeawalk
        That was my point. Using the fuel cell as a range extender for an EV woul decrease the size of the cell, but increase the size of the battery. Neil stated that the current FCX is 4 kw-hr, which is probably be about right. It would probably need to be 16kw-hr. The fact that the FCX is currently pretty roomy is really because it's just a relatively large vehicle. Compared to the Volt, it is 2" wider, 2" taller and 13" longer.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @BipDBo
        "The only downside, of course is finding room for people and cargo after you have packed the car will high pressure tanks and batteries."

        The irony of your comment is that currently the Clarity already has plenty of room for passengers and luggage - indeed, it's quite luxurious.

        If your suggestion were followed (reduce size of FC system and storage, increase battery size), it would be the larger battery volume that would cause packaging problems, and reduce usable interior volume..
        • 4 Years Ago
        @BipDBo
        they want your Hydrogen Money at the pump
        • 4 Years Ago
        @BipDBo
        "...add a charger and a plug, and sell it for 80% less money?"

        And whats 20% of $2 million and how many would need to be sold to even get it to that price? The word "vaporware" was invented just for mas produced FCVs.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @BipDBo
        Or you could put the range extending fuel cell on a trailer which makes rental and replacement much easier.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @BipDBo
        Yes, they could drop the fuel cell and the 4kg hydrogen tank, put in a 6-8X bigger battery in the FCX Clarity (I think it already has a 4kWh?), add a charger and a plug, and sell it for 80% less money?

        Honda has experience in EV's: they made one back in the late 90's, too.

        Sincerely, Neil
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