Honda plans electric cars

Tokyo – Honda plans to roll out a plug-in hybrid and an all-electric car by 2013, a news report said on Tuesday.

Japan’s number two carmaker – which already produces standard hybrid versions of its Civic and other models – may also build hybrids overseas for the first time, in the US, the Nikkei business daily said.

Honda president Takanobu Ito, who took the reins of the company in June 2009, was expected to announce the plans later in the day, at a 06:00 GMT press conference in a suburb of Tokyo.

The announcement would be a turnaround for Honda, which has in the past been sceptical about plug-in hybrids, which share technology with standard hybrids but can be recharged using a household power point.

In 2007, then president Takeo Fukui said that plug-in hybrids offered too few environmental benefits to be worth pursuing and until early last year said that the company wasn’t ready to market one.

Best-selling cars

Honda’s plug-in hybrid will be able to travel at least 60km on a litre of petrol, beating Toyota’s Prius hybrid which runs 38km/l, the Nikkei reported.

Toyota is expected to roll out its own plug-in hybrid in 2012 based on the Prius, which will run at 57km/l, the daily said.

Honda plans to release its electric car first in the US, taking aim at California, which will require 3% of an automaker’s sales in the state to be zero-emission vehicles from 2012.

Honda is also planning to manufacture in the US the Insight and two other hybrids which are now built in Japan. It also aims to expand its hybrid line-up of models to five in three years’ time, the Nikkei said.

The Prius hybrid, followed by the Insight, have been the best-selling cars in Japan for over a year. Honda sold 100 000 Insights in fiscal 2009, lagging only behind Toyota which sold more than 270 000 Prius vehicles.

The Japanese government aims to raise the share of hybrids in the country from 10% now to 20% – 30%, and to have plug-in hybrids and electric cars account for up to 20% of sales, by 2020.

Honda certainly has a great concept in the plug-in hybrid and an all-electric car, but in South Africa we do not have a renewable energy source as yet.  As we already have an electricity problem in that we can not generate enough for our homes, will this not just compound our problems.  Countries in Europe have various options for renewable energy (wind, solar, etc) but South Africa is behind the times when it comes to renewable energy sources.  We are only just getting our heads around the solar geysers and more and more homes are making the change, but that is only for geysers at this stage.    There are a few options for storing energy but not generating enough to run a house hold including the car.  Hopefully by the time the car is ready to be launched in South Africa we have started to sort out the energy crisis we are currently having.

Yes Solar uses both Photovoltaics (PV) and Solar Water Heaters (SWH) systems to assist in generating energy and saving money as well and the environment.

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