There are rumors that a new electric car prototype concept will be unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show this October, a move that would seem to go against the Japanese carmaker’s stand that hydrogen fuel cell technology is the way of the future. Toyota is sticking to hybrids for the moment, while Nissan and Mitsubishi has already decided to jump straight to EVs. EVs make a lot of sense but the long charge times and the problem of solving how to implement a charging infrastructure and payment system for charging needs out of one’s own home is not easy to solve.
The advantages of hydrogen fuel cell cars – which essentially are also electric cars but with their electricity generated on the fly with a fuel cell – are that refuelling hydrogen is much faster than recharging a battery and consumers are already very familiar with the concept of plugging something in that refills your car with something in the matter of minutes and you driving off with a renewed vehicle range.
Even though Honda only has hybrids and fuel cell cars in its portfolio right now, it does not mean they are strangers to the concept of the battery-powered EV. They were leasing a pure electric car back in 1999 – the Honda EV Plus, which was a 3-door hatchback. You could lease it for US$455 a month for a 3-year lease. After the lease, you had to return the car to Honda where it would be crushed. It had a 66hp brushless DC motor and travel up to 160km under normal economical driving conditions and even 190km under ideal conditions.
An AP report claims that a Honda spokesperson confirmed that new EVs were in Honda’s development plans, but a release date had not been decided yet. An estimated date for a US production launch is pegged at 2015, a long, long way to go.