During Acura's recent 2008 vehicle preview I had a chance to chance with Product Planning Manager John Watts about alternative powertrain plans. While Lexus has produced hybrid versions of several of their models, Acura hasn't incorporated Honda's IMA system on any vehicles. In fact Watts feels the hybrid honeymoon may be nearing its end.

Honda will continue developing hybrids but the technology will probably aimed at smaller urban cars that are best able to take advantage of regenerative braking. The upscale Acura division is looking at other options. A new 2.2L diesel is coming to the Accord in 2009 followed by a V-6 diesel for the larger SUVs and vans. Both engines are likely to migrate over to the sister brand.

On the gas engine side, the turbocharged 2.4L in the RDX likely won't be the last of its type. Just as companies like Ford, VW and GM are developing or releasing downsized boosted engines with direct injection, the same types will expand to other Acura models. On the subject of ethanol, Watts was decidedly unenthusiastic. He said that corn ethanol wasn't a viable solution, although once cellulosic ethanol becomes commercially available it could help displace a chunk of the demand for petroleum. Although we didn't discuss it, long term it's probable that there will be Acura-branded fuel cell vehicles as well.

[Source: Acura]

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