Over the last few years we've seen almost every major auto manufacturer—and many start-ups—come around to the idea of bringing a plug-in vehicle of some sort to market. Some of them have committed themselves wholly to the concept, and others have remained on the sidelines, happy to let the leaders take most of the risk.
Yet, as all these manufacturers have signed up to be part of the future of plug-in transportation—with varying degrees of passion—there was truly only one company left standing awkwardly, and completely alone, in the corner... as if it had just passed gas at a party and then snorted its Mai Tai through both nostrils. In case you haven't been keeping score, that company is Honda.
To many Honda devotees, the company's resistance to joining up with the plug-in movement has been a bit of a head-scratcher. As the first company to really popularize and mass-market hybrids—with the cult classic Insight version one—and having already brought an EV to market in California in the late 90s (pictured), it seemed strange that they weren't even willing to dip their feet in the modern plug-in waters. In fact, it felt that Honda was even expressing outright hostility at the thought of plug-ins ever becoming popular and instead had chosen to focus everything on the fuel cell.
Well, times they are a changing, and it now seems that even Honda has been converted to the plug-in concept. As reported in the Japanese Nikkei news service, Honda is working on a plug-in hybrid car to be released first in the U.S. in 2013, and is even considering building it here. The Nikkei also reports that Honda expects its PHEV to go 60 km on a liter of fuel (141 mpg)—although the metric by which that number was calculated is not clear... we all remember Chevy's 230 mpg claim with the Volt, don't we?
The Nikkei further claims that Honda is considering manufacturing the Honda Insight and two other hybrids in the United States and will have a total of five conventional hybrids available for sale by 2013.
Although this all sounds very speculative right now, we won't have to wait too long to find out if it's true. Apparently, Honda President Takanobu Ito will make the official announcements at a news conference on Tuesday.
Image Credit: Original Honda EV Plus from the late 90's California EV mandate era courtesy of Wikimedia Commons