Honda to Launch Plug-in Hybrid, EV in 2012
TOKYO, JAPAN - During his mid-year CEO speech, Honda Chief Executive Takanobu Ito revealed that Honda plans to sell a plug-in hybrid vehicle and a battery-powered electric model in Japan and the United States in 2012, Reuters reported.
A new plug-in hybrid system for mid-size to larger vehicles is now under development. Vehicles equipped with this new system are scheduled to go on sale in 2012 in Japan and the U.S.
In addition, Honda is developing a battery electric vehicle that is also expected to go on sale in Japan and the U.S. in 2012. This model is leveraging the technologies established through the development of fuel-cell electric vehicles, the company said.
"In the long-term, fuel-cell electric vehicles will provide the ultimate mobility," Takanobu Ito said. "And Honda will continue working on the technological advancement of the FCX Clarity as well as our hydrogen refueling systems."
Another company goal is the widespread market introduction of the IMA hybrid system. Honda has introduced new models equipped with Honda's original lightweight and compact IMA hybrid system, namely Insight and CR-Z. The percentage of hybrid vehicle sales among all Honda vehicle sales in Japan increased to 16 percent in 2009.
Honda said it will accelerate widespread market introduction of IMA by enhancing the lineup of models equipped with the IMA system. The automaker will introduce multiple models, mainly small-sized vehicles, equipped with the IMA system in Japan about a year from now. The first one will be the Fit Hybrid Honda, which will be introduced to the Japanese market this fall.
Honda will also pursue the advancement of battery technologies that are critical to the advancement of hybrid vehicles. The next-generation Civic Hybrid will be equipped with a high-output and compact lithium-ion battery, which will be supplied by Blue Energy, a joint venture company between GS Yuasa and Honda that will begin production of the battery at its plant in the latter half of this year