Honda have confirmed it will go the way of its top competitor Toyota and launch a plug-in hybrid and a battery electric model for the US and Japanese market. Speaking at a news conference in Japan, CEO Takanobu Ito stated the models will be seen sometime in 2012.

They expect the new plug-in hybrid to go slightly more than 60km on a single litre of petrol making it more fuel efficient than the current Prius according to reports from Nikkei. This is of course a sort of grey area as so far we’re can universally only state mileage claims based on a formula that uses a single source of liquid fuel. The results of a hybrid vehicle can go way off especially if its a plug-in.

Along with the Insight, the company is also looking two other hybrid models for the US market expanding its hybrid line up to around five by 2013 according to the Japanese publication. This is quite a sudden turn of events for Honda, as they have previously been against the development of electric cars focusing mainly on hydrogen fuelled variants due to the fact that batteries were too expensive to be practical. Seems that the only reason they will be selling battery run electric cars is to meet US legal requirements in California.

Toyota was on the same bandwagon of EV sceptics, but have now changed their plans with its partnership with Tesla and the development of a prototype electric vehicle based on the Toyota RAV4 and Lexus RX.