Honda Motor Company will introduce a battery-electric vehicle (BEV) and a new plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) to the US market in 2012, said President & CEO Takanobu Ito in his mid-year address in Tokyo, Japan. Ito also announced application of a lithium-ion battery to be supplied by Blue Energy, a joint venture company between GS Yuasa and Honda, in the next-generation Civic Hybrid in 2011.

BEV and PHEV demonstration programs will begin later this year in the US. By the end of 2010 and continuing through 2011, Honda will roll out a battery-electric vehicle demonstration program in the US with participants, including Stanford University, Google Inc. and the City of Torrance, Calif. The City of Torrance will also receive a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle for evaluation by the end of 2010.

Plug-in hybrid. A new plug-in hybrid system for mid-size to larger vehicles is currently under development, Ito said. Vehicles equipped with this new system are scheduled to go on sale in 2012 in Japan and the US. Ito said that Honda will develop and adopt multiple hybrid systems that are appropriate for vehicles of different sizes and uses.

Ito said that Honda will also expand the lineup of its models equipped with the IMA hybrid system. Honda will introduce multiple models, mainly small-sized vehicles, equipped with the IMA system in Japan within approximately one year from now. The first one will be the Fit Hybrid which will be introduced to the Japanese market this fall.

Battery electric vehicle. Though there still are some issues that need to be addressed such as range per charge and recharging time, Ito said, battery EVs have the potential to create a new zero-emissions in operation market. By leveraging the technologies established through the development of fuel-cell electric vehicles, Ito said Honda will develop a battery EV with a goal to put it in real world use as soon as possible. Honda’s battery EV is scheduled to go on sale in Japan and the US in 2012.

Honda will introduce these products by around 2012 and further advance them and accelerate their more widespread introduction to the market in the next 10 years.

Other technology highlights of the speech included:

  • Gasoline engines. Honda will begin renewing its engine and transmission lineup starting in 2012 to further improve its fuel economy.

  • Diesel engines. In addition to the currently available 2.2L engine, Honda is making progress in the development of a smaller diesel engine. A model equipped with this new smaller diesel engine will be introduced in Europe in 2012.

  • Fuel cell vehicles. In the long-term, Ito said, fuel-cell electric vehicles will provide the ultimate mobility. Honda will continue working on the technological advancement of the FCX Clarity as well as our hydrogen refueling systems.

  • Electric bicycles. Honda is planning to introduce a new electric bicycle product into China in 2011.

  • Honda Electric Mobility Synergy. In Japan, within this year, and conducted jointly with Kumamoto and Saitama prefecture where Honda already has some operations, Honda will begin the comprehensive demonstration testing of next-generation personal mobility that combines an energy supply infrastructure such as a solar-powered EV-refueling station with advanced environmentally-responsible vehicles such as the electric scooter EV-neo, plug-in hybrid vehicles, electric vehicles as well as other electromotive products such as the electric cart, Monpal.

Especially, as we are in the midst of a difficult business environment, nothing is more important than going back to Honda’s basic principle, that is, to see things from the customer’s view point, and continue offering products that please our customers.

Based on this understanding, Honda’s “Direction for the next 10 years” was set. What I think is most important and the message I conveyed strongly to all Honda associates was “to provide good products to our customers with speed, affordability and low CO2 emissions.”

By “good products” we mean to embody customers’ wants and needs in attractive products using Honda’s unique technologies, knowledge and ingenuity. Such good products must be delivered with speed without making our customers wait, and at affordable prices which make our customers happy with their purchase. This is the direction Honda will take.

“With low CO2 emissions” represents our conviction based on the strong sense of crisis that, as a manufacturer of personal mobility, Honda will have no future unless we achieve a significant reduction of CO2 emissions.

—President & CEO Takanobu Ito