|The plug-in hybrid electric test vehicle for Japan. Click to enlarge.|
Honda Motor Co., Ltd. announced its second Electric Vehicle Testing Program, this one with Saitama Prefecture for its next-generation personal mobility products, including electric vehicles (EVs); plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs); electric scooters; and electric carts. The specifics of the testing program, testing vehicles, and solar-powered charging stations made their public debut in Japan.
On 15 December, Honda announced a similar Electric Vehicle Testing Program in the US, featuring the first public test drive of a Fit EV prototype and an Accord Sedan test vehicle outfitted with a new two-motor plug-in hybrid system. (Earlier post.) In addition to Japan and the United States, Honda is considering the possibility of conducting a similar program in China.
|Solar-powered charging station for the test vehicles. Click to enlarge.|
In the US program, the city of Torrance, California along with Stanford University and Google Inc., will each receive a Fit EV for testing starting in 2011. In addition, the city of Torrance will test a plug-in hybrid as a part of the program in 2012. Each of the three demonstration program participants will conduct general testing as well as evaluating specific and distinct issues related to the introduction of electric vehicles.
The Saitama program will focus on motorcycles, automobiles and power products. The program will also use advanced communications and telematics and solar-powered charging technologies to explore future forms of personal mobility and their potential for reducing CO2 emissions.
In March 2009, Honda and Saitama Prefecture concluded an agreement to collaborate on environmental issues. Based on this agreement, Honda will start an Electric Vehicle Testing Program in the cities of Saitama, Kumagaya and Chichibu. The program will study the following:
- The practicality and convenience of electromotive technology featured on next-generation personal mobility products, including Honda’s EVs and plug-in hybrid vehicles, the EV-neo electric scooter and the Monpal ML200 4-wheel electric cart.
- The effectiveness of solar power generation and other renewable energy sources in helping to realize a low-carbon mobility society.
- The effectiveness of advanced communications and telematics to enhance customer convenience and product usability.
The following are the program objectives for each city:
- Saitama City: Urban transportation testing featuring Honda’s EVs, plug-in hybrid vehicles and EV-neo, by partnering with public transportation facilities such as train stations. Study the low noise impact of electric vehicles in residential neighborhoods.
- Kumagaya City: Using Kumagaya’s suburban metropolitan environment, study the practicality of applying Honda’s EVs and plug-in hybrid vehicles to a park-and-ride system centered around Kagohara Station.
- Chichibu City: Working alongside Chichibu’s city enhancement plan through local citizen cooperation, conduct studies to increase use of electromotive mobility opportunities and its convenience by renting out Monpal to citizens and tourists.
The Saitama Prefecture Electric Vehicle Testing Program vehicles will include:
Electric vehicle (EV). Based on the popular Fit, this vehicle features a coaxial motor and other electromotive technologies developed for the FCX Clarity fuel cell electric vehicle, combined with a Toshiba-produced lithium-ion battery. Charging with a 200-volt power source takes less than six hours, and vehicle driving range exceeds 160 km (99 miles).
Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. Based on the platform of the Inspire mid-size sedan, this vehicle features a fuel-efficient 2.0-liter i-VTEC engine and two high-output electric motors, specially developed for this system. The vehicle can be operated in three drive modes: all-electric, gasoline-electric hybrid and engine drive modes. The 6 kWh lithium-ion battery is manufactured by Blue Energy and its all-electric mode driving range can achieve up to 15 to 25 km (9 to 16 miles).
Electric scooter (EV-neo). This electric scooter, which will start a lease sales program on 24 December to companies that make short-range deliveries and also to individual business owners, will receive custom coloring as a testing vehicle.
Electric Cart (Monpal ML200). First launched in 2006, this 4-wheel electric cart will also be used as a testing vehicle.
|Specifications of Saitama Prefecture program vehicles|
|EV||Plug-in Hybrid||EV-neo||Monpal ML200|
|Engine||–||2.0L 4 cyl. Atkinson cycle i-VTEC||–||–|
(same as in FCX Clarity)
|DC brushless||DC brushless|
|Max. motor output||92 kW||120 kW||2.8 kW|
|6 kWh Li-ion,
|EV range||>160 km||25 km (JC08 mode)||>34 km (at 30 km/h on flat road)||Approx. 25 km (6 km/h on level ground)|
|EV max speed||144 km/h||100 km/h|
|Charge time||100 V: <12 h
200 V: <6h
rapid charge: 30 min (80%)
|100V: <4 h
200V: < 1.5h
|100 V: approx 4h
200V: approx. 0.5 h with rapid charger
|100V: approx 9 h|