Honda Ditches Diesel, Focuses On New (Full?) Hybrid Drivetrain

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
honda ditches diesel focuses on new full hybrid drivetrain

Reuters reports that Honda has canceled plans to build a new minicar and diesel engine plant north of Tokyo, as the company focuses its product offerings ahead of worldwide emissions standards ramp-ups. Honda’s move away from diesel has been slowly building for years, and the strategy was all but confirmed by the cancellation of a US-market Acura TSX diesel, which was replaced by the V6 TSX. Instead of developing new oil-burners, Honda is focusing on a new hybrid drivetrain capable of powering its larger vehicles. Thus far Honda has kept a conservative approach to hybrids, refining its “mild hybrid” IMA system over several generations. As Honda seeks to improve its fleetwide emissions, this new system (which could be Honda’s first “full hybrid”) has taken on new importance. Honda will officially announce its medium-range plans next Tuesday… and don’t be surprised if it involves a new full hybrid system capable of going toe-to-toe with Toyota’s Synergy Drive.

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  • Nikita Nikita on Jul 15, 2010

    Honda was never on the leading edge of "winning" technology, but they like to do it their way. I hate to say it, but they are sort of like GM, with a "not invented here" attitude. CVCC took them down an interesting side road when EFI was entering the freeway. IMA looked good at the time of the original Insight, but Toyota passed them by. Now they have to play catch up again. Its too late for diesel, so I think this is the best move right now. A series or series + parallel hybrid is a bridge to future all electrics.

    • Meefer Meefer on Jul 15, 2010

      Wow, wow. So VTEC, double wishbone suspensions, extensive use of aluminum (structure/panels/engine/suspension), variable volume intake manifolds, and the NSX in general mean nothing to you? Sōichirō Honda's passing in 1991 has left the company without the laser-like focus it used to have on "man maximum, machine minimum." The RSX was probably the last vehicle the company built that had some of that ideal left. A lot can change in 20 years, and not a lot of it at Honda was any good. The closest equivalent these days is probably Mazda, and that's just sad.

  • Shane Olaf Laake Shane Olaf Laake on Jul 15, 2010

    Honda is a world class engine manufacturer, why do they insist on making robots and hybrids when they can likely build a better diesel than VW, which incidentally already outperforms Hondas current hybrids. I've yet to see a hybrid that is more than hype, especially from Honda. Diesel is proven, less complex, and if Honda were to push it, just as acceptable to Americans in 2010.

  • Shane Olaf Laake Shane Olaf Laake on Jul 15, 2010

    My bad, they were a world class engine manufacturer. Sadly there aren't many examples anymore, especially since they refuse to use direct injection and turbos (despite various assertions by Honda that turbos were the future back in the 80s when they were in F1). I'd say Hyundai is closer to where Honda used to be than Honda is today.

    • L'avventura L'avventura on Jul 16, 2010

      They do use direct-injection and turbos. The K23A1 engine. In fact they've had it since 2006 in the Acura RDX. Even more impressive, the engine had a variable geometry turbo. Common in diesels but rare in gasoline turbos due the high exhaust heat. In fact, the only gasoline engine on the market right now with a variable-geometry turbo and direct injection is the Porsche 911 Turbo and the Acura RDX.

  • Hmmmm... the K20 was first-class... but the class is catching up... the new R-series engines are a marvelous blend of efficiency and power... the L-series engine in the first generation Fit (before they ruined it with extra weight and that new 5-speed box) could get some fantastic economy numbers... And yet... Honda is a stubborn manufacturer. The perception that they're lagging behind is due to the fact that they refuse to follow blindly where the market goes. They took longer than others to go V6 with their midsized car (the Accord), and still use one a size smaller than the class leaders. They launched the Ridgeline with a V6. In the days where 2 liters is not enough for a compact, they've decided to simply improve their 1.8 to the point where it's as powerful as a 2. They built what is arguably the perfect single person car... the Honda Fit. And yet, as Americans leave in droves for bigger cars with more power, they refuse to compromise (as Toyota-Scion did with the xB) and engorge it and slot in a Civic or Accord engine to follow the market. Honda is Honda. They'll do it their way, for better or for worse. And if you get over the fact that they don't follow market trends like sheep, you'll find that their cars make a lot of sense. Now the styling, that's another story.

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