Here at the Tokyo Motor Show, Honda introduced its first plug-in vehicle concept in many years in the shape of the EV-N. However, during the press conference, new CEO Takanobu Ito shared the main stage with only two cars, the FCX Clarity and the new CR-Z concept. The EV-N and a plug-in Cub scooter were off on a smaller side stage. During a Q&A session with media this evening, Ito explained the company's strategy on electric vehicles.

According to Ito, who assumed the top post at the company last June, hydrogen fuel cells are still the best long term strategy for vehicles. The only reason Honda is developing a plug-in vehicle right now is to meet California zero-emission vehicle mandates coming up in about five years. Because there appears to be little movement on establishing additional hydrogen filling stations in the U.S. right now, the company would be unable to meet the standards with a fuel cell vehicle. Thus a small urban commuter BEV is the best option for the short term.

Asked what it would take to get a hydrogen filling network going, especially with a current administration that is openly hostile, Ito responded "I wish I knew" but that hydrogen must be promoted to governments and "we must be patient." He went on to say that while batteries are evolving, he didn't believe they would ever get to a stage where their performance would be acceptable as the primary energy carrier. Instead he said that "people would become more aware of the limits of BEVs" and come back to hydrogen fuel cells.

[Source: Honda]

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