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Honda will have electric and plug-in hybrid models in Europe by 2020

By raccars Published

Honda Wheel

Beyond the 1.0 turbo: electric plans in the pipeline but are not a priority for Honda Europe.

Honda looks set to introduce plug-in hybrid and electric models in Europe by 2020 and the power train technology is likely to be used in its smaller cars first. This is according to Honda’s European General Manager, Jean-Marc Streng, who has admitted that the company has to offer something new to reduce emissions.

Streng confirmed that a turbo 1.0-litre petrol engine for the new Honda Civic hatchback had been a priority for the brand ‘until now’, and said that this was due to the performance comparisons in the market. He said that sales of hybrid models were still ‘very limited’ within the European market and were largely driven by sales-boosting incentives. This, he says, indicates that the electric and hybrid market is currently ‘not that important’ when compared with the potential of more traditional power trains.

It has been reported previously that the tenth-generation of the Honda Civic would be available as a hybrid and Mitsuru Kariya, the model's project leader, has confirmed that the new platform being used can accommodate the power train, although it cannot be used for an all-electric variant. Honda’s European president and director Katsushi Inoue is well aware of the successful introduction of hybrid models in the US and Japan but is far more reserved about their potential in Europe. He says that the brand will wait and see if a similar degree of ‘movement’ becomes evident in Europe.

Count Honda in

It is the Honda Jazz which looks likely to be amongst the first of the Honda line-up to be available as an all-electric model. Streng says that it made sense that low-emission power trains were focused on smaller cars rather than on large SUVs. He acknowledges that by 2030 it is expected than over 66 per cent of car sales will be hybrid or electric models, and adds that Honda will be active in this arena by 2020.

Streng has also spoken about what he terms Honda’s ‘comeback’ after a difficult few years. He believes that both the HR-V and CR-V models have been pivotal to the brand reaching its current level of success and says that a more ‘aggressive’ and ‘sporty’ design for the new Civic was aimed at attracting younger buyers.

Honda and fuel cell technology

Honda has become best known for its commitment to fuel cell technology and this week saw the first customers take delivery of its third-gen fuel cell car, the 2017 Clarity Fuel Cell, in Southern California. Honda claims it is ‘the most advanced’ vehicle offering zero emissions on the road and has the largest EPA driving range of any vehicle of its type.

The Clarity Fuel Cell is said to have a maximum range of 366 miles and can deliver 68mpg. The vice president of American Honda’s environmental business development office, Steve Center, said that the company will now continue to roll out its new Clarity series, including both plug-in hybrid and battery-electric models. The first six people to receive the Honda 2017 Clarity Fuel Cell had previously owned the second-generation Clarity FCX and have given the company feedback on the use of the fuel cell vehicle in the real world.

The Clarity Fuel Cell now boast a cell stack which is a third smaller than its predecessor, whilst offering a 60 per cent improvement in power density. Honda claims that the new fuel cell and its integrated power train are comparable to a traditional V6 combustion engine but its new compact size means that it can fit completely under the car’s bonnet. This affords greater cabin space and the model can seat five people.

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