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Honda confirms hybrid electric car plans
21 May 2008 09:05
Honda CEO Takeo Fukui today confirmed Honda's plans to build an expanded range of hybrid petrol-electric cars, including a new affordable model and a sports coupe based on the CR-Z concept. It's a signal that Honda won't let Toyota rule the hybrid market with its Prius and planned spin-offs; Fukui said he planned to build a half a million petrol-electric hybrid cars every year.
The important new model announced today is an affordable model to slot beneath the existing Civic Hybrid. Clearly, 'affordable' means different things to different people, but CAR Online understands the five-door, five-seater should cost around £14,000. As such it's a cheaper rival to the Prius and will go on sale in Europe in spring 2009. Honda aims to build 200,000 every year.
Honda's 'Prius': the lowdown
Fukui didn't reveal the full tech breakdown of the new model, but said the new affordable hybrid would major on 'fuel efficiency, manoeuvrability, comfort and styling'.
While much of the car remains shrouded in secrecy, we do know it will have a revised hybrid petrol-electric powertrain with a new control unit and lighter, more compact battery. The electric motor (made in Honda's Suzuka plant) is also thinner.
Sounds like it'll be a hybrid Civic!
Nope. Honda has revealed the affordable car will be a standalone product, not based on an existing model. Our sources suggest it will be smaller than today's Civic Hybrid saloon – closer to a Golf or Astra hatchback.
Fukui also said it will use a completely new platform, housing the hybrid gubbins and battery under the boot for better packaging.
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