Honda has lagged behind Toyota in the electric car race, focusing instead on hydrogen. But with hydrogen cars still a ways off, Honda is now promising to bring plug-in hybrids and EVs to market within two years.
Honda brought the first hybrid, the Insight, to market back in 1999, and currently offers a hybrid version of its popular Civic. But the company (like everyone else, to be fair) lags behind Toyota's incredibly successful Prius in the eco-car arena.
That's mostly because Honda has dedicated themselves to working on long-term solutions, including hydrogen fuel cells and new types of batteries (for cars) like lithium ion.
But Honda can no longer reasonably deny the power of plug-in cars, both fully electric and hybrid, and today laid out a timeline for the company's efforts in that direction. Honda promises a "small EV" type car which, if it's anything like the snub-nosed EV-N concept (pictured above), would offer around 60 miles per liter (about 140 miles per gallon) efficiency.
Honda also plans to bring out a new Insight, a peppy hybrid coupe called the CR-Z (pictured below), the ultra-cheap Fit Hybrid (to be the cheapest hybrid vehicle ever), and a new version of the Civic Hybrid that will use new lithium ion batteries.
But despite this major push towards electric and hybrid vehicles, Honda will still continue to forcefully develop the promising (but still a ways off) hydrogen fuel cell tech. Said Honda spokesman Chris Naughton, "We feel that it’s the ultimate solution, but the infrastructure is developing more slowly than we had anticipated.”
Honda promises to have demonstration plug-in cars on the road in California by the end of this year, and in showrooms by the end of 2012.