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Honda ramps up hybrid development


Honda will increase the range of hybrid cars it builds, saying the internal combution/electric powertrain is the key to reduced fuel use and CO2 emissions

In his year end speech yesterday, Honda CEO Takeo Fukui said the brand will focus heavily on developing greener cars by building more hybrids and small vehicles. It will also develop small diesel engines.

However, he says Honda has delayed plans to start selling medium to large-sized diesel-powered vehicles in the US.

A new small car to slot in below the Jazz, will be ready in two to three years.

Committing the brand to hybrids, Fukui said “Honda recognises hybrid technologies as the most realistic path for CO2 reduction at this moment.”

He says the new Insight hybrid which debuts at next month’s Detroit motor show will achieve excellent fuel economy and sell for an attractive price (the car is earmarked for importation to New Zealand). It will sell at a starting price of less than two million yen in Japan.

Fukui says a sport hybrid based on the CR-Z show car will go on sale by the end of 2010, and Honda will study applying hybrid technology to mid-sized and large vehicles.

Honda has introduced a second production line that will enable it to build 250,000 hybrid-powered cars a year – up from the current 70,000.


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