Saturday, May 24, 2008

Honda CEO shares more details about new hybrid models coming next year

Last fall at the Tokyo Motor Show, Honda announced its plans to introduce a new dedicated hybrid drive vehicle in 2009. The new hybrid would the first dedicated hybrid from Honda since the original Insight ended production in 2006. At his mid-year press conference, CEO Takeo Fukui revealed that Honda would in fact introduce two new dedicated hybrids next year along with a hybrid version of the new Fit. The first of the hybrid-only models will be a five seat, five door hatchback with styling based on the look of the FCX Clarity fuel cell car (pictured). The second new hybrid will be a coupe based on last year's CR-Z concept which will be great news to fans of the long-departed Civic CRX.

To make all of this happen, Honda has developed an updated version of their Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid system. The revised IMA will significantly reduce both the weight and cost of the system, allowing it to be applied to more vehicles. Honda is expanding and adding a second IMA production line at its Suzuka, Japan factory (where the Civic hybrid is produced) to build the new hybrid models and bringing the capacity to 250,000 hybrids. Between the two new hybrids, the Fit and the Civic, Honda hopes to have 500,000 annual hybrid sales within the next couple of years. Thanks to theRookie for the tip!