Feeds

Honda executes 180° turn on plug-in e-cars

Future's not all hydrogen, after all

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

'Leccy Tech If you listen very carefully, you can hear the screech of tyres at Honda as the company performs a U-turn.

Ever since Honda President Takeo Fukui said that he saw no value in developing plug-in hybrid vehicles because the technology was immature, we've been anticipating this. And so it has come to pass. Honda R&D Chief Engineer Kenji Nakano has now said that Honda does indeed see the point of plug-in hybrid and range-extended e-cars.

Honda Insight

Honda's Insight: coming soon to a wall socket near you?

According to Nakano, speaking at the Society of Auto Engineers 2009 World Congress this week, Honda now believes that a range of hybrid options will be necessary, including mild and strong hybrids, plug-in hybrids, fully fledged battery electric vehicles and even range-extended electric vehicles.

“Hybrids have stayed in the limelight longer than we expected," he said. "Thus, instead of being a bridge technology, hybrids are expected to remain in the mainstream for quite some time.” Presumably Honda had previously regarded hybrids and EVs as flash-in-the-pan precursors to the hydrogen revolution.

Last week, at the ground-breaking ceremony for the new Blue Energy battery factory in Kyoto, more light was shed on Honda's Damascene conversion. President Fukui said: “We started working with GS Yuasa with just the hybrid application in mind. We are thinking about extending that application to plug-in hybrids.”

Blue Energy is a joint venture between Honda and Japanese battery maker GS Yuasa and will start producing lithium-ion batteries for Honda's hybrid fleet – be they plug-in or not – in 2010.

Fukui - the same man who only last year said that e-cars can only manage 100km (62 miles) on a charge, which suggests he may be a bit behind the times or is paying too much attention to Jeremy Clarkson – steps down as President of Honda in February 2010.

Honda's about-face probably has something to do with the ominous silence from the Obama administration about developing the Hydrogen Highway and the incentives on offer to both the purchasers and makers of plug-in EV and plug-in hybrid vehicles. It seems a good bet that Obama and his advisors see the Chevy Volt and Tesla Model S rather than the hydrogen powered Honda FCX Clarity as the way forward for reduced-carbon personal transport, at least in the medium term.

Toyota's plug-in Prius

Toyota's plug-in Prius: in ahead of the Insight?

More to the point, Toyota looks certain to go ahead with a lithium-ion battery equipped plug-in version of its Prius. This will give it a distinct advantage over Honda's Insight if the latter is only available as a petrol hybrid. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Voyager 1 now EIGHTEEN LIGHT HOURS from home
Almost 20 BEEELION kilometres from Sol
Ex-Soviet engines fingered after Antares ROCKET launch BLAST
Speculation rife, but Orbital claims it's too early to tell
MEN: For pity's sake SLEEP with LOTS of WOMEN - and avoid Prostate Cancer
And, um, don't sleep with other men. If that's what worries you
Jim Beam me up, Scotty! WHISKY from SPAAACE returns to Earth
They're insured for $1m, before you thirsty folks make plans
ROGUE SAIL BOAT blocks SPACE STATION PODULE blastoff
Er, we think our ISS launch beats your fishing expedition
NASA: Spacecraft crash site FOUND ON MOON RIM
'What fun!' exlaims NASA boffin who found the LADEE
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
BAE points electromagnetic projectile at US Army
Railguns for 'Future fighting vehicle'
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Simplify SSL certificate management across the enterprise
Simple steps to take control of SSL across the enterprise, and recommendations for a management platform for full visibility and single-point of control for these Certificates.