Friday, September 21, 2012

Honda Plans Three New Hybrid Systems

Published September 21, 2012

By Philippe Crowe

Honda has big plans! The automaker is working on three new hybrid systems to be incorporated into a variety of models, including the range-topping NSX sports car Honda plans to revive.

Honda Motor Co. CEO, Takanobu Ito, today outlined the product, technology and business developments and direction that are planned to drive Honda’s growth by fiscal year 2017; with a range of new developments and technological advancements in automotive, energy and mobility products.

Honda hopes this will result in an increase in global customers by 60 percent from 23.9 million to 39 million.

Takanobu Ito declared Honda firmly believes its expertise in hybrid technology and three hybrid systems being developed will play a critical role in the reduction of CO2 emissions. Each system will possess unique characteristics and their deployment will reflect varying customer needs.

Firstly, Honda will further develop its lightweight and compact one-motor hybrid system with the aim of achieving the best fuel economy among all hybrid vehicles, including those from Toyota.

This is not the first time Honda has said it would dominate, particularly with its Insight that from from generation one to present never led to the level of market acceptance of the Prius. Perhaps Honda can do it this time around?

For its part, Honda says its goals will be met for the one-motor hybrid system by improvements in motor output and battery performance, coupled with a newly developed transmission will help to extend the zero emission electric driving range.

Honda is also developing a new more powerful two-motor hybrid system for mid-size vehicles.

Finally, a highly efficient and high output 3-motor hybrid system, the Sport Hybrid SH-AWD (Super Handling All Wheel Drive) will focus on driving performance. This technology will be applied to the new NSX.

Yes, this reconfirms the production of the Acura NSX that Honda reportedly plans for Ohio assembly within the next three years, and it further confirms reports it will actually be a hybrid.

Given the direction of world supercar makers facing looming efficiency mandates and wanting to stay competitive, and that Honda wants to return an Acura supercar to the market after a hiatus since 2005, Ito's latest news could be seen as not too surprising.

But just the same, broad plans for hybridization across the lineup are positive developments for alternative energy advocates, and to them and everyone else listening, Ito says this range of new hybrid technologies will deliver unrivaled driving performance and fuel economy.

Ito also said Honda considers fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) to be the ultimate environmentally-responsible technology and as such, has attempted to lead the industry in R&D and sales activity. The introduction of the FCX Clarity in 2008, demonstrated Honda’s progress in this field.

Starting in 2015, Honda will launch an all-new fuel cell electric model which will showcase the significant technological advancements and cost reductions that Honda has accomplished since the launch of the FCX Clarity. This model will be introduced to Japan, the U.S. and Europe.


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