Putting Honda's plug-in vehicle play into perspective

The other day, Honda's chief executive officer, Takanobu Ito, said 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.
For most people, this might look like an innocuous – perhaps even safe – statement from the CEO of a major automaker. It is, after all, the age of the electric car, and no one wants to be left behind. But to people who've followed the electric vehicle (EV) scene for, say, a decade – like our friend Paul Scott – Ito's statement was kind of like a lightening bolt to the eyes. Why? Because it signals a sort of last grasp (in Scott's mind) of the company's insistence on fuel cells. He writes:
Honda, along with Toyota and GM, were the leaders in the fuel cell race, but even though the Honda Clarity fuel cell is a beautiful car, it's clearly proving to be problematic to commercialize. That's why Ito's announcement of the viability of plug in cars is so welcome. ... Ito will be there to introduce them himself. This underscores the importance of this announcement since it's the first time the CEO of Honda has come to this show for an announcement of any kind.
There will certainly continue to be fuel cell projects and announcements from the OEMs – the electric car era can, of course, inccude hydrogen vehicles – but Scott is right to remind us just how big a shift this is for Honda, and also that the LA Auto Show later this month, "will be the last to which the general public cannot drive in mass produced EV."

[Source: EVs and Energy]

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