Honda reveals plans for new environmental technologies
In his speech Mr Ito highlighted how drivers are seeking smaller-sized vehicles in every car market globally due to increased environmental awareness and the recession. As such, he said that Honda must 'quickly respond to such changes in the times to achieve further growth and expansion in the future'. He also added that 'Honda will have no future unless we achieve a significant reduction of CO2 emissions.'
Mr Ito outlined Honda’s “Direction for the next 10 years”, saying that the message is 'to provide good products to our customers with speed, affordability and low CO2 emissions'.
The company's plans include widespread market introduction of the IMA Hybrid System by enhancing the line-up of models equipped with the 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.
Honda will also pursue the advancement of battery technologies that are critical to the advancement of hybrid vehicles. The next-generation Civic Hybrid will be equipped with a high-output and compact lithium-ion battery, which will be supplied by Blue Energy, a joint venture company between GS Yuasa and Honda that will begin production of the battery at its plant in the latter half of this year.
In addition, a new plug-in hybrid system for mid-size to larger vehicles is currently under development. Vehicles equipped with this new system are scheduled to go on sale in 2012 in Japan and the US. Mr Ito added that Honda will fulfil customer demand more precisely by developing and adopting multiple hybrid systems that are appropriate for vehicles of different sizes and uses.
Honda's mid-term plans are based on internal combustion engines, which it says will remain as the main source of power for automobiles. In this way it will continue advancing technologies to improve the performance and fuel economy of internal combustion engines. Honda will begin renewing its engine and transmission line-up starting in 2012 to further improve its fuel economy.
Changes include new diesel engines – in addition to the currently available 2.2-litre 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.
In the long-term, Honda says that fuel-cell electric vehicles will provide the ultimate mobility and that it will continue working on the technological advancement of the FCX Clarity as well as its hydrogen refuelling systems.
Another area of focus is the battery electric vehicle. Here, Honda says it will leverage the technologies established through the development of fuel-cell electric vehicles and will make progress in the development of 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. Mr Ito added that Honda will accelerate these products' more widespread introduction to the market in the next 10 years.