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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