Photo: Michael Graham Richard
New CEO = New DirectionHonda has always been rather hesitant and skeptical about battery electric cars and plug-in hybrids. Its former CEO, Takeo Fukui, though that hydrogen fuel cells were the future, which explains the FCX Clarity (a great car, but expensive to make and building a hydrogen infrastructure is problematic). But Honda now has a new CEO, Takanobu Ito, who seems more inclined to develop new EVs and PHEVs. Could Honda pull a Nissan and change its mind about electric vehicles?Honda's chief used cautious words to tell a small group of journalists in Japan that "It's starting to look like there will be a market for electric vehicles (EVs)," and that "We can't keep shooting down their potential, and we can't say there's no business case for it." He went on to explain why he thought battery electric cars made sense: "The thing is, not everybody needs to drive 500 km a day." He added that 'pure' electric cars made more sense than plug-in hybrids like the Chevrolet Volt. "Plug-in hybrids are essentially for people who drive short distances, but it has the handicap of having an engine, a motor and a stack of batteries. Why wouldn't you just drive an EV?" Indeed, it especially makes sense in more urban areas and in countries where the distance between cities is relatively small.
Hopefully this means that Honda will join the BEV crowd. The more competition, and the more engineers doing R&D; on this important transportation problem, the better for all of us.
More on Hybrid Cars
Nissan Launches the Fuga Hybrid in Japan (Coming to US as an Infiniti in 2011)
Volvo to Make Plug-In Diesel Hybrid Based on V60 Wagon in 2012
2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid to be Eligible for $1,300 Tax Credit