Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Honda is finally on board with plug-ins

Many people new to the EV world may not understand the importance of Honda's announcement about the inevitability of EVs. Honda's new CEO, Takanobu Ito, stated in an interview with Reuters, "It's starting to look like there will be a market for electric vehicles. We can't keep shooting down their potential, and we can't say there's no business case for it."

The story needs some context.

Back when the big six car makers, GM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, Nissan and Honda were told by California's Air Resources Board (CARB) that they would have to build zero emission vehicles if they wanted to do business in California, there were howls of protest, ultimately resulting in most of these companies pursuing fuel cell technology as the end game for zero emissions. It was this technology that was used to convince CARB to rescind the mandate for battery electrics in place of fuel cell cars.

Honda, along with Toyota and GM, were the leaders in the fuel cell race, but even though the Honda Clarity fuel cell is a beautiful car, it's clearly proving to be problematic to commercialize.

That's why Ito's announcement of the viability of plug in cars is so welcome. It follows closely the Toyota announcement of the resurrection of their fabulous RAV4 EV with a Tesla drive train.

Honda will be showing both a pure EV commuter car concept as well as a plug-in hybrid at the upcoming LA Auto Show. Ito will be there to introduce them himself. This underscores the importance of this announcement since it's the first time the CEO of Honda has come to this show for an announcement of any kind.

We'll have plug-in cars at this show from Honda, Toyota, Nissan, GM and Ford. This will be the last LA Auto Show to which the general public cannot drive in mass produced EV. In every subsequent auto show, the parking lot will boast of ever higher percentages of EVs to gas burners.

That's a good thing for our country's economy, our national security and our environment.


  1. About time Honda came to terms that the physics of using hydrogen just can't compete with using electricity directly.

  2. Thanks Paul,

    I appreciate the heads up about the Honda EV!

  3. I hope one is based off of the CR-Z. Such a shame that car has to burn gasoline...

  4. The announcement is great news overall, but I found it a bit strange for two reasons that I list here:

  5. Got to get PV on the roof first! Like some areas of CA, there are 5 counties in NM who are working to tie the financing of PV to the property tax. So buying PV is like buying a car. But Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac killed it - however, the state is working on a resurrection.

  6. i am excited to attend the show to see 'them all'. freekin wonderful
    dee santa monica

  7. So, were the companies who pursued hydrogen ultimately just attempting to stay as complex as possible just to make sure the dealers could make more money in the long term on servicing?

    Buyers these days are more concerned with technology in the dash like location services, games and lifestyle integration than anything else. I think electricity delivers all this more quietly and ultimately less expensively than combustion.

  8. I really appreciate the gravity of your statement regarding the last time the public will not be able to drive to an auto event in a mass produced EV... that's an exciting concept to wrap your brain around.

    We are creating something for the record books... What an exciting moment in the history of technology and especially, mobility. Short of levitation and teleportation, this is 'one' big idea that's no longer just a concept !

  9. This is so wonderful. We are awaiting our Nissan Leaf. This is a real family sedan with a good range (100 miles)

  10. Just a reminder, if you are buying a LEAF in the SoCal region, I'm selling them. I'd love to have your business! Just choose Santa Monica Nissan when you buy.