be a little behind company's like Chevrolet and Nissan when
it comes to the development of greener vehicles, but the automaker is
playing catch-up by announcing their plan
to release an electric vehicle (EV) and a plug-in hybrid in
the U.S. and Japan in 2012. Honda also announced that its next
generation Civic Hybrid, which is to be released in 2011, will
feature a lithium-ion battery pack.
likely that Honda will join its rivals like Nissan and GM by
releasing an all-electric vehicle build around a lithium-ion battery
pack. Honda Motor Co. President Takanobu Ito said that its
all-electric vehicle would be aimed at "commuters with a
relatively short cruise range."
has no future unless we achieve significant reduction in CO2
emissions," said Ito. "The next 10 years will be a true
test for Honda's survival."
recent interest in electric vehicles isn't its first crack at greener
technology, though. The Tokyo-based Honda makes the CR-Z and the
Insight hybrids, and there are plans underway to build a plant in
Yorii, Saitama near Tokyo specifically for Earth-friendly models.
Honda aims to begin production at this plant in 2013. In addition,
there is talk about Honda building yet another plant in Yokkaichi,
Mie Prefecture, but there is no set date for production.
carmakers will be releasing electric vehicles in 2012 as well, such
as Toyota, who is teaming up with Tesla Motors Inc. to build an
electric version of Toyota's
RAV4 crossover. Several others are releasing (or have released)
their EV's as soon as this year, such as Nissan's Leaf and
the Mitsubishi iMiEV.
so many others hopping on the EV bandwagon, it makes sense that Honda
would follow. But critics have made accusations in the past
saying that Honda was "disinterested" in electric vehicles,
which Ito denies. With the lack of details given in Honda's EV
announcement, some are still unsure of Honda's intentions.
plan is for a product that is two years away," said Toshiyuki
Fukuda, a freelance auto writer that is skeptical of Honda's latest
announcement. "Maybe it just wants to ride on the EV boom."
plans to improve their gas-electric lineup by introducing many small,
hybrid models within the next year, and will expand Japanese
production by aiming for emerging markets like Indonesia, Africa,
China and India.