Honda CEO Says Pure Battery Electric Cars Make More Sense Than Plug-in Hybrids

By · November 03, 2010

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Honda's complete about face on plug-ins apparently continues. The company's rather new CEO, Takanobu Ito, told a small crowd of journalists gathered in Japan yesterday that there will be a substantial market for both pure battery electric cars and plug-in hybrids.

Given the explosion of plug-in vehicles set to hit the market over the next four years, Ito's comments might seem somewhat passé. But keep in mind that it was only a few short months ago, that Honda began a major shift from downplaying the potential of electric cars (and even expressing outright hostility on the subject), to saying that they will release both a plug-in hybrid and pure electric by 2012. The shift at Honda also seems to have quietly included a move away from the company's long-held belief that hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are the only solution to our transportation problems.

Last week we learned that Honda will debut a concept of its upcoming all-electric car at the LA Auto Show in a couple of weeks—likely less of a concept and more of a production model—suggesting that the transformation in thinking at Honda harks back to long before the company's outward stance started softening. "We can't keep shooting down [the electric vehicle's] potential, and we can't say there's no business case for it," Ito told the small crowd yesterday. "The thing is, not everybody needs to drive 500 km a day."

Honda's adoption of pure battery electric technology also seemed to harden and take on an edgier tone as Ito said that plug-in hybrids have their place, but that pure battery electrics make more sense. "Plug-in hybrids are essentially for people who drive short distances, but it has the handicap of having an engine, a motor and a stack of batteries," he said. "Why wouldn't you just drive an EV?"

Source: Reuters

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