In a presentation at SAE 2009 World Congress, Kenji Nakano, Senior Chief Engineer, Honda R&D said that Honda has changed its view of the role and longevity of hybrid technology.
Up to now, said Nakano, Honda had looked at hybrids as a short-term technology bridge between the current state of affairs and fuel cell technology and full EVs.
But hybrids have stayed in limelight longer than we expected. Today, an increasing number of people think that hybrids will remain a player 2-3 times longer, until fuel cell vehicles and electric vehicles begin [gaining share]. Hybrid technology is also applied to fuel cell vehicles, range-extender vehicles, plug-in hybrid vehicles. Thus, instead of being a bridge technology, hybrids are expected to remain in the mainstream for quite some time.—Kenji Nakano
Nakano outlined a potential product portfolio running from internal combustion engined vehicles; mild hybrids; strong hybrids; plug-in hybrids; range extended electric vehicles; and full battery electric vehicles. The best choice, he said, will differ depending upon the vehicle type and use.
We think simple lightweight hybrid systems such as IMA are now suitable, especially for compact cars. We’ll do our best to promote hybrid technology which leads to electric drive [such as plug-in hybrids].—Kenji Nakano
Separately, Honda issued a statement confirming its commitment to the development and production of cleaner diesel engines for Europe.
Honda has just completed the construction of a new engine plant to supply cylinder blocks and casting parts for its 2.2-liter diesel engines in European models. The manufacturing facility, at Ogawa in Japan, will start production in autumn this year, following the installation and testing of machines and equipment.
Honda currently produces diesel engine cylinder blocks at its Suzuka factory in Japan, and will gradually transfer the casting and machining process of engine parts to the new Ogawa plant. The new Ogawa plant will then supply diesel engine parts to the Sayama factory, to go into the Accord for the European market. It will also supply diesel engine parts for Honda’s factory in Swindon, which produces Civic and CR-V models.