Honda Explores Electric Vehicle Solar Charging

By · December 20, 2010

Honda Solar Charging

Last week, we announced that Honda rolled out prototypes of its Fit EV and Accord Plug-in Hybrid in Torrance, Calif. Today, the company announced a second plug-in testing program—this one in Japan’s Saitama Prefecture. While the Calif.-based program appears to focus on specific practical vehicles and how they are operated and charged, the Japanese endeavor will investigate the broadest vision of electric cars and renewable energy.

Honda will explore the use of vehicles ranging from two-wheel scooters and motorcycles, to four-wheel carts and full-function automobiles. The program will use this range of mobility machines to explore, among other things, the effectiveness of solar power generation.

Honda has been talking about so-called "total energy solutions" for years. The company has operated a “home energy station” in Torrance since 2003, and released an improved version in 2007. The device—which looks a little like an EV public quickcharger—generates hydrogen from natural gas, and is designed to provide heat and electricity for the home, as well as fuel for a hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicle. Critics might call it a half-hearted workaround to hygrogen infrastructure.

Honda Hydrogen Station

The onda FCX Clarity with the company's "Home Energy Station IV."

China’s BYD is talking about something similar—an energy solution for home and the road pulling together solar power, stationary energy storage and electric cars. “The goal is to create a zero emissions ecosystem,” said Michael Austin, Chicago-based BYD vice president, in interview with PluginCars.com.

Cool visionary stuff, but first things first: getting electric cars on the road.

New to EVs? Start here

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