Honda plans electric future

* Change of strategy for Honda * Plans to develop an EV for European market * Hydrogen fuel cells remain the 'long-term' solution...

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What Car? Staff
20 October 2009

Honda plans electric future

Honda has announced that it may create a range of electric cars to be sold in Britain. The news comes as the company shows an electrically powered concept vehicle at the Tokyo motor show, called the EV-N.

Honda is following the lead of rival Nissan, which has already committed itself to become one of the world's biggest manufacturers of battery-powered electric vehicles (EVs).

Although Honda has a history of selling hybrid petrol-electric cars, including the Insight, until now it has only considered making and selling EVs for the American market.

Honda president Takanobu Ito told a press conference in Tokyo: 'It's conceivable that a convenient commuter vehicle would be applicable not just for the United States, but also for the Japanese and European markets.'

Strategic change
The move marks a change of strategy for Honda, which until now has concentrated its engineering efforts on creating a 'zero-emission' hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle, while dismissing plug-in electric cars as requiring too many expensive batteries.

Yet with the cost of batteries set to fall, and rival Nissan already committed to creating an entire range of EVs, Honda is taking electric cars more seriously.

The company has also acknowledged that, although it remains committed to fuel-cell technology, this will be held back until countries develop an infrastructure capable of refining and delivering hydrogen fuel.