Honda To Offer Dedicated Plug-In Hybrid, New BEV By 2017

2 years ago by Mark Kane 51

Honda FCV Concept

Honda FCV Concept

Honda Fit EV

Honda Fit EV

Honda announced bold changes in its offerings and a move into electrified vehicles.

The Japanese manufacturer intends to introduce a whole line-up of electrified cars.

In short, in 2016 Honda will introduce its next-generation fuel cell vehicle, which will be followed by an all-new battery electric model and an all-new plug-in hybrid model.

Those new FCV, BEV and PHEV will be dedicated models, not electrified versions of conventional cars like the Fit EV nor the now-discontinued Accord Plug-In Hybrid.

There is no exact timeframe for the BEV and PHEV, but we should expect them both by 2016 or 2017.

Honda is preparing a major switch from some types of alternative drivetrains to others. Let’s run this down now.

First is abandonment of CNG after 15 years! This is move that we fear will someday be done with hydrogen fuel cell cars after all the dollars will be spent on developing them and setting up infrastructure.

Secondly, Honda discontinues the hybrid Civic (sales this year through the end of May fell 10% compared to 2014).

“We will further advance this leadership with the launch this fall of an all-new 10th-generation Civic that will deliver fun-to-drive performance in concert with top-in-class fuel efficiency and safety. With two new engines on the new Civic, including our first turbo engine, we are targeting class-leading fuel economy for Civic, with EPA highway fuel economy a few ticks above 40 miles per gallon.

Due, in part to this ability to advance fuel economy through conventional engine technology, the Civic lineup will no longer include a hybrid or a natural gas model, as we will discontinue production of both of these products with the end of the 2015 model year.

Honda has promoted CNG-powered vehicles for many years. For most of the past 15 years we have been the only automaker with a dedicated CNG vehicle.  Despite this commitment, the infrastructure for natural gas refueling and consumer demand remains a challenge. Production of the Civic Natural Gas model has been completed at our Indiana plant, but we will continue to provide a high level of service to our existing customers through CNG-certified Honda dealers.

The Civic Hybrid has played a very important role in helping promote customers’ appreciation for hybrid technology and is presently the only hybrid variant of a mainstream compact sedan. For the future we will place our focus more on our two-motor hybrid system, where we feel we can meet the needs and expectations of customers for hybrids and achieve greater reduction of CO2 emissions.”

Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid

Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid

Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid will gone. Well, Honda for sure can’t afford to keep a model with sales amounting to just 55 in 5 months like this year (nearly three times less than a year ago).

Earlier, Honda ended its pilot project with the all-electric Fit EV (lease only deals still continue).

“We will not be offering a plug-in version of Accord going forward as we look toward the scheduled launch of a new dedicated plug-in model. But we will expand application of our innovative two- and three-motor hybrid systems in the coming years. The Accord Hybrid is already the most fuel-efficient 5-passenger sedan in America, and the new Accord Hybrid set to debut in early 2016 will raise the bar with the next-generation of Honda’s two-motor hybrid system for even greater fuel economy and performance. Further, enhancements to production methods for the two-motor system will help lead to a strong increase in Accord Hybrid sales.”

Honda said that it is committed to offering vehicles with best-in-class fuel economy:

“We are also working to advance electrified vehicles to meet the diverse needs and wants of environmentally conscious customers. We are developing an entirely new generation of vehicles starting from the introduction in 2016 of our next-generation fuel cell vehicle. This will be followed by an all-new battery electric model and the all-new plug-in hybrid model.

So, Honda is committed to offering vehicles with best-in-class fuel economy today through a new generation of powertrain technology. We’re developing an entire new generation of electrified vehicles that will continue our leadership tomorrow. And in the process we are creating the strongest and most balanced vehicle lineup in our history.

We remain committed to our vision for more sustainable mobility, and we are excited to be introducing a fantastic lineup of products that are more fun and more fuel efficient than ever before.”

Honda: Every Honda model has best-in-class fuel economy ratings.

Honda: Every Honda model has best-in-class fuel economy ratings.

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51 responses to "Honda To Offer Dedicated Plug-In Hybrid, New BEV By 2017"

  1. bro1999 says:

    Well, this explains the axing of the hybrid/CNG offerings reported earlier, along with the previous Fit EV offing.

    1. Mike777 says:

      To kill them now, then have to wait two years, that’s not really rational.

    2. Mike777 says:

      By 2017 we’ll be in Leaf’s, Bolts, Volts and Tesla’s.

      Last to the party isn’ how you win.

      1. przemo_li says:

        Fit was arguably not so bad BEV. Just unwanted child.

        So they are not really green here. (pun intended)

        Good news overall. I like Fit! So maybe they will reuse platform???

        1. Mike777 says:

          I’ve ridden in a Fit EV. I put myself on the waiting list. Still waiting…

          It’s at least a good 100% better then the gas engine Fit.

          1. FitEV_Owner says:

            I have a Honda FitEV. I would be happy to sub lease mine to you.

      2. RedLeafBlueLeaf says:

        Honda was last to the minivan party (well, after the first gen Odyssey, in which they theorized that what minivan buyers wanted was really a smaller station wagon) and by copying the best features of everyone else soon was the dominant player in that market.

        But they were also last to the “strong hybrid” party, after their first gen Insight utterly failed in the market (what? buyers don’t want a 2-seater commute car with minimal hybrid functionality?) and their copy-cat Prius didn’t fly because by then the Prius owned the mindshare of the market.

        So if they show up late to the BEV party with a copycat offering will they dominate like the Odyessy 2 or sink like the Insight 2? I suspect the latter. In the minivan market they had the advantage of being a high reliability vendor AND having a full size minivan (the Sienna was still undersized until they copied Honda/Ford/Chrysler – they had kept the first Sienna narrow so they could build it on the Camry line) – no one else had that. Being high reliability in the BEV marketplace is no big deal, since most of the components that fail aren’t on a BEV. And second, by 2017 or 2018 it will be a big disadvantage to have your BEV supported by a dealer network that knows only ICEs.

  2. Speculawyer says:

    I’m kinda disappointed to see the CNG model go away. Not my thing but better than gasoline.

    I suspect the FCV will just be them finishing their project and it will hit the market with a thud. They realize this now and hence the PHEV and BEV that will follow not so long after the FCV.

    1. David Murray says:

      I was disappointed in that too. But the real sales problem with the CNG civic was the $10,000 price premium over a gasoline version. Who wants to pay that? And the sad part it, building a CNG civic shouldn’t cost any more money than the gasoline version. So there was really no excuse for it other than they wanted it to fail.

      1. drpawansharma says:

        Here in India, I have retrofitted a CNG kit in my 10 year old 1.3।tr petrol engine Hyundai getz it cost me only 400$. Even OEM cng offerings have only 900$ premium over petrol models.

    2. sven says:

      When I drove a CNG Civic a couple of years ago, it was much easier to find a public CNG filling station locally in NYC than it is to find a public EV charger there today. I’m specifically excluding all the public chargers located in pay parking garages (usually $20+ a pop just to enter), which make up the vast majority of public chargers in NYC.

      1. See Through says:

        An unfortunate outcome of ZEV credits. I reckon, CNG cars get no ZEV credits.

        1. Scramjett says:

          In fact, they do! CNG vehicles fall under the AT PZEV category which gets partial ZEV credit.

          http://o3.arb.ca.gov/msprog/zevprog/factsheets/overview.pdf

          What I’m not clear on is if they are still listed in that category for the upcoming ZEV 2.0 requirements.

    3. Gsned57 says:

      They are keeping the natural gas model they just convert the gas to hydrogen first and double the price of the car. Totally cool and I’m sure it’ll sell better.

      1. przemo_li says:

        Double the amount of gas too!

  3. Assaf says:

    Ding ding ding! Chalk another automaker off the anti-EV clown car!

  4. AndPilot says:

    Switching my “best-in-class” Civic to Model S next week. 🙂

    1. Acevolt says:

      Going from “Best in Class” to Car & Driver’s “Car of the Century”…Enjoy

    2. EV-AZ says:

      Lucky…

  5. EV_Drive says:

    What the heck has been taking them so long to sell an EV. Japan used to lead, now they follow far behind. Sad.

    1. Assaf says:

      1. Japan still leads. The Nissan Leaf and the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV are the world’s best-selling BEV and PHEV, respectively.

      It is Toyota and Honda who have neglected to lead on EVs. Toyota for obvious reasons (wanting to squeeze the max out of its ICE-hybrid lead), and Honda for unclear reasons.

      2. It’s not that Honda *couldn’t* sell EVs, it didn’t *want* to. Now it seems to be changing its tune. That’s great news overall, b/c Honda is still (narrowly) the #2 Japanese automaker, just before Nissan.

      1. Speculawyer says:

        Honda has long been a fuel cell proponent. Even more so than Toyota until somewhat recently. Remember all those Honda FCX Clarity cars out there?

        But I think they’ve finally seen the light and they are in the middle of transferring back to plug-ins. But they are going to finish up their FCV project and scoop up some CARB credits.

        1. Anon says:

          Yes. Saw a dark purple Clarity parked around Malibu a number of times, while going to Tony’s. Excellent Greek Restaurant, btw.

          Always wondered where they had to drive to fuel that hydrogen prototype up…

      2. If every Japanese car maker would sell at least 1 EV on the Japanese market, the EV market share would already 10%+.

      3. Mike777 says:

        I think it’s more to do with currency issues. When they released the Insight, made in Japan, the Yen was strong, they didn’t make much money. I think it was they themselves that invited the auto industry to talk down the model.

        Now they yen is weak against the dollar, they could import their current Fit Hybrid and their CUV hybrid. Don’t know why they don’t.

        2011 US dollar = 80 Yen
        2015 US dollar = 124 Yen

        They have no excuse.

        1. finecadmin says:

          Nope. Japanese managers don’t have goldfish memories like US desk pilots. When Toyota began Prius development, they figured they’d lose money for years… and this was in the SUV-crazed ’90s before the runup in oil price.

          There is, similarly, a very “Japanese” mindset about fuel cell stacks. If one is familiar with kaizen and, to a lesser extent, kanban, it makes more sense that a Japanese automaker would choose to take on fuel cells, but not a US CEO… because the Japanese one is likely not thinking on goldfish timescales.

          1. Lensman says:

            On the contrary, sinking money into developing and producing a very limited number of dead-end technology “fool cell” cars, just to grab a limited amount of government subsidies, and with the full knowledge that those subsidies almost certainly won’t last more than a few years, is the very definition of short-term thinking.

  6. Jelloslug says:

    Good to see they have come to their senses of the EV front. Fuel cell tech just is not even close enough to really matter at this point and if they want to put forth the image of a “green” car company they have to compete with the Volt and the Leaf.

  7. Lad says:

    Honda appears satisfied to follow and no longer lead. I hope they don’t follow Toyota off the hydrogen cliff.

    1. Speculawyer says:

      You got that reversed. It was Honda that lead Toyota over the hydrogen cliff. Remember the Honda FCX Clarity? Honda had fuel cell cars out there before Toyota.

      But it seems Toyota has seen the light and is changing direction.

  8. Car Guy says:

    Guessing they will only make a sell a few.

  9. Lou Grinzo says:

    Well, well, well… ain’t THAT a heck of a thing?

    I’ve said repeatedly in recent months that it was painfully obvious to anyone paying attention that eventually the two major BEV holdouts, Honda and Toyota, would have to cave in and make Big Announcements. I have to admit that I didn’t expect either H or T or do so this soon, but I certainly won’t complain that one of them finally came to its senses.

    My guess is that the BEV won’t arrive until mid or late 2017, which further increases our collective confidence that that will be a VERY interesting year.

    1. sven says:

      How exactly did Honda cave in and come to their senses?

      Honda stopped making the Fit EV and announced will be making a new BEV.

      Honda stopped making the Accord Plug-in Hybrid and announced it will be making a new dedicated plug-in hybrid.

      Honda stopped making the Clarity hydrogen FCV and announced it will be making a new hydrogen FCV.

      To me, it sounds like we’re back to square one. Honda stopped making its current BEV, PHEV, and hydrogen FCV, and announced it will be making a new BEV, PHEV, and hydrogen FCV. It remains to be seen if the BEV can actually be purchased, instead of being lease only with no option to buy at the end of lease, and if the PHEV will actually have a price and AER that will entice people to actually buy/lease one.

      1. Speculawyer says:

        The Fit EV was never anything but a low volume compliance car.

        The Accord Plug-in Hybrid was a crap car that needed to be killed. Go look at its specs. Presumably, the new PHEV will be competitive with the rest of the market (the Accord was NOT).

        The Clarity FCX shows that Honda was one of the strongest fuel cell backers . . . and the fact that they are now going to offer some real plug-ins (a PHEV and BEV) shows that they’ve lost confidence in that fuel cells will be the next big thing. The would have ONLY had this new fuel cell car if they kept their original view.

      2. M Hovis says:

        Weird stuff with Honda for sure. The Fit was the easy one, total compliance EV for the credits. I don’t know what was going on with the PHEV Accord, but there heart wasn’t in it.

        I followed both the Civic CNG and the Clarity for years before the EV revolution. A common theme caught my attention with Honda other than we had owned three Honda Accords and loved all of them.

        The common appeal was home fueling. The Honda Civic CNG offered home fueling with the trademark “Phill”. Even the hydrogen Clarity promised a home fueling station that was going to be partially offset by renewable solar which really caught my eye. It was clear to me way back then that home fueling was going to have a major impact. Now I never put much thought into what enormous price would be charged for such a home fueling station, but I did when I bought a Volt that could effectively be plugged into a standard outlet in my garage. That was the end and the beginning for me.

  10. George Jetson says:

    Let the rampant speculation begin! BEV = 2017-18, 200 mile range, CCS in US/EU and CHAdeMO in JP.

    1. Speculawyer says:

      I suspect more of a 120 to 150 mile BEV. Definitely Chademo in Japan and I assume Chademo here because they are a Chademo backer. If they went CCS, that would be HUGE slap in the fact of Chademo and Nissan.

  11. jim seko says:

    Dear Honda,

    Please keep the styling of the FCV concept but ditch the fool cells. If you make another PHEV, it should have at least as much all electric range as my wifi connection

    Regards,
    a former Honda customer

  12. jimjam says:

    Honda Makes Great ICE Cars ,But Their HyBrids Are The Worst On The Planet! The “FOOL CELL” is A Joke , They Must Have A Good Reason To Promote Fools Cells…Because They Will Be Good For NO-ONE…Lets see If They Build a Nice Looking , Efficient Honda/Acura “BEV”…& Perhaps Get iT RITE For Once! Wake Up Get With The Program Honda!

  13. tftf says:

    Afaik Honda said their new BEV will come by 2018, according to their Detroit 2015 press release…

    “- New battery-electric vehicle and new plug-in hybrid model by 2018 and further application of two- and three-motor hybrid systems, to join Honda’s U.S. lineup enabling Honda to continue to be a strong competitor in the alternative-fuels vehicle market”

    I never heard about 2016-2017.

  14. Anton Wahlman says:

    Okay, how about this: What if Honda comes back for the 2018 model year with a large family car (crossover, large sedan, whatever) that’s a pure BEV with 350 miles of range and costs $39,999?

    1. Steve says:

      What about it? If it happens, it happens. You can throw any combination of figures into a question. It’s not likely… I would hazard a guess that they will build something Civic-sized first, which is a mistake, but it’s just my guess at what Honda will do first. Maybe a CRV-sized thing has the space for a larger battery?

  15. Lensman says:

    The article says:

    “First is abandonment of CNG after 15 years! This is move that we fear will someday be done with hydrogen fuel cell cars after all the dollars will be spent on developing them and setting up infrastructure.”

    Is this a joke? Why would any rational and informed person “fear” an auto maker abandoning the dead-end technology of “fool cell” vehicles? The sooner they quit throwing good money after bad, the better. Hopefully that will come much quicker than 15 years from now!

    1. Steve says:

      They are saying they fear it will be done AFTER millions of dollars are wasted in it first. I would like 0.001% of the money being waste on hydrogen fuel cell cars. I could be quite happy with that.

  16. Martin T says:

    Honda and Toyotas Fuel Cell, recipe for the end of Honda.
    Had they continued to go to an outstanding Plugin, but fuel cell ?
    What a waste of time !

  17. Loboc says:

    If you wanted to buy a CNG Honda, ya had to be a fleet operator. I know. I tried.

    To buy a Fit EV, ya had to be connected. They were only leased as compliance cars.

    To buy an Accord PHEV, ya had to be daft. Especially in the age of Volt.

  18. Steve says:

    Good to see Honda hedging their bets, at least. Would love to see a BEV Civic or CRV-sized car.

    Honda must have spotted that governments round the world aren’t jumping to allocate taxpayers’ money to put in the massive delivery systems be required to make some experimental new auto technology that NO-ONE IS ASKING FOR a reality. It all has to be borne by the automakers… and Honda doesn’t want building hydrogen infrastructure around the world to sink them! It’d be worth it if hydrogen cars have the acceleration, handling and cargo space of BEVs… but they don’t. The infrastructure for BEVs is turning out to be incredibly cheap – and then people have it in their houses too! One tiny independent carmaker is already able to put their own into dozens of countries around the world.

    1. tftf says:

      It’s not really news. See my link above, they already announced these 3 new car models in Detroit back in January 2015.

  19. Rex Wilson says:

    They are very particular in phasing out the existing models. But not so particular in introducing new models.

    Accord-Plugin is very modern and had new technology, they priced it high and let it down. They will do the same with other models that they mentioned here.