Honda Poo-Poos Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV)

honda poo poos plug in hybrid electric vehicles phev

Up to now, it’s been a two-way PHEV cat fight. Within the last 24 hours, Toyota said GM’s lithium-ion approach sucks eggs and took on GM’s Volt-only $7500 federal tax rebate. GM Car Czar Bob Lutz retaliated with “ Eat My Dust” comments on his FastLane Blog. And now it’s a three way, with Honda telling the world that it just isn’t feeling the whole EV thing. “For battery-powered vehicles to become more widespread, more popular in the market, we feel battery technology needs to advance further,” Masaaki Kato, president of Honda Motor Co.’s research unit, told Bloomberg in an interview [quoted in The Financial Post]. BANG! “We just don’t see it providing the type of driving performance you get with a gasoline-powered vehicle.” BIFF! “The key is in the end we need to conserve the world’s energy resources and protect the environment for future generations,” said Jerry Chenkin, executive vice-president of Honda Canada Inc. OOOPH! “Honda is concerned that these other plug-in hybrid technologies are not really conserving anything.” ZAP! “Lithium-ion powered cars would not satisfy most consumers, since such batteries are costly and still hold less than half the energy of gasoline by weight, Mr. Kato said in the interview.” ZOWIE!

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  • Alex Nigro Alex Nigro on Sep 18, 2008

    I'm racking my brains over this.I remember a comment in an article where someone said that there's a rumor about the senior execs at Toyota having a really old bottle of sake or something that they will drink to when one of the big 2.8 declares bankruptcy. Who said that?

  • KixStart KixStart on Sep 18, 2008

    Stingray: "GM has more advanced technology..." Exactly what "more advanced technology" does GM have? A battery? They don't own that and they don't know if the one they want to use works in the long haul (see earlier article on warranty provision). They don't know if they can build the car cost-effectively and, in fact, they have only a prototype. In fact, NEXT year is when "production intent" drivetrain meets "production intent" body. Stingray: "I think I’ll raise the BS flag to Toyonda." Raise the BS flag to Toyonda? Try again... Lutz, writing on FastLane, said, "I suspect most of our competitors will have vehicles with technology similar to the Volt within four or five years." Lutz doesn't even have a car and he thinks competitors are going to try to catch up to it? Lutz should spend his time worrying that the compeitition will actually build a Volt before he does. Stingray: "And if I don’t remember bad, they also got tax cuts in some states for the Prius. Valid for Toyota but not for GM?" Those tax credits were offered to a range of vehicles and, in fact, credits may still be in force that would apply the the GM whybrids. Toyota's beef is that the credit is so narrowly defined that it's ridiculous. I agree... the credit rewards a particular sliver of technology - for no obvious reason - giving it an unwarranted boost. Like [s]corn likker[/s] ethanol. GM should be concerned about that, too... there's no reason Toyota or Honda couldn't build a vehicle simply to take the credit. And it would steal GM's thunder. shaker: "So, when you’re under electric power, you’re lugging around a useless motor/generator set. And when you’re under gasoline power, you’re lugging around a dead battery pack. See the (lack of) logic, here?" That's pretty much how I see it, too. Factor in the cost of that oft-dead battery pack and the car doesn't seem economical. Or am I wrong and a $40K "economy car" makes some kind of perverse sense?

  • JoeEgo JoeEgo on Sep 18, 2008
    See the (lack of) logic, here? That’s pretty much how I see it, too. I believe shaker was being sarcastic.

  • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Sep 18, 2008

    Maybe Honda has some long term forecast that oil prices and then gas prices will drop again (think $3.25) and they have figured it up that we need $4 gas to make a full EV or PHEV financially sensible. One reason we aren't getting any EVs right now is that Chevron has locked up the NiMH patents and won't let anyone play with them until 2010 when the patents runs out - according to Wikipedia. We can have small NiMH batteries, just not large EV style batteries. Another may simply be that Honda can't deliver a plug-in or full EV with batteries it can be confident will last 200K miles (Honda apparently designs vehicles to last longer than GM's 100K miles). NiMH looks promising but I mentioned why that won't happen. There are Rav4-EV owners who have 150K+ miles on their batteries. The other battery tech is still much more expensive and doesn't last as long as NiMH batteries so far. Phoenix Motor Cars says they will have a SUT (think Subbie Baja) or CUV available next year. I think there is a fleet version available now. $40K. At today's prices you could own one for free for the price of driving a 17 mpg vehicle for 200K miles. Notice I did not mention the initial or residual cost of the 17 mpg vehicle. Sounds fine to me for second vehicle duty. Not sure if I could ever absorb the payments on a $40K vehicle though - even if in the long run the vehicle paid for itself. I'd certainly rather drive an EV commuter vehicle and save my ICE vehicles for the weekends and long trips.