PLUG OK license plate
Honda's Position on PHEVs Begins to Shift
Jan 8, 2007 (From the CalCars-News archive)
This posting originally appeared at CalCars-News, our newsletter of breaking CalCars and plug-in hybrid news. View the original posting here.
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Until now, Honda has repeatedly said there's no reason to do more than research on PHEVs (see­carmakers.html. But maybe the company sees which way the wind is blowing. Of course it cites battery issues -- but surprisingly, it mentions the time PHEVs take to recharge as an obstacle. Unless Honda is thinking of very large and heavy vehicles, which would require 220 volts for an overnight charge of substantial range, this is a non-issue.

In addition to the story below, Newsweek's Keith Naughton in "Honda Primes The Pump"­id/­16526204/­site/­newsweek/­confirms says that Honda's 2-3 years away next optimized-from-the-ground-up hybrid will NOT plug-in, but will be a larger version of the high-MPG Insight, priced below the Prius.

Honda mulling plug-in hybrids for development Reuters Sun Jan 7, 2007­news/­articleinvesting.aspx?view=CN&storyID=2007-01-07T191440Z_01_N07277017_RTRIDST_0_AUTOSHOW-HONDA-UPDATE-1.XML&rpc=66&type=qcna

DETROIT, Jan 7 (Reuters) - Honda Motor Co Ltd (7267.T: Quote, NEWS , Research) said on Sunday it is considering developing a plug-in electric hybrid vehicle to add to its lineup but battery technology remains a significant barrier to successful development.

"We are studying what kind of conditions would enable a plug-in," Motoatsu Shiraishi, president of Honda Research and Development, told Reuters on the sidelines of the North American International Auto Show here.

Shiraishi said the two major challenges to introducing a hybrid is the current battery capacity, which has to improve significantly, and speed of recharging it.

Plug-in hybrids, a favorite among many environmentalists, are capable of being charged with a standard electric outlet.

Honda rival Toyota Motor Co is the leader in gas-electric hybrids. General Motors also announced a "concept car" at the show on Sunday called the Volt, which it says could be on the road in two or three years and run almost entirely on electricity.

Battery technology is key to the next generation of hybrid vehicles as automakers seek ways to lower the cost of batteries and increase their power and storage capacity

GM said the Volt will be outfitted with new lithium-ion battery packs, which hold a charge longer than the nickel metal hydride batteries now used widely in automobiles.

Shiraishi said Honda also plans to introduce diesel engines in the United States by the end of 2009.

Currently, Honda is working to meet the stringent U.S. standards for cleaner emissions from diesel vehicles, he said.

The Japanese automaker plans to offer diesel engines in mid-size and larger vehicles, Shiraishi said. But he declined to specify which model will be first to be fitted with a diesel engine.

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