Slowly, Honda appears to be learning how the hybrid marketplace works. In a recent interview Honda CEO Takanobu Ito said that the company is working on more powerful two-mode hybrid systems (like the one used by Toyota) that will allow for the car to operate using either gas, electricity or a combination of both. Currently, Honda’s IMA (Integrated Motor Assist) setup does not allow for electric-only driving and as a result the system isn’t nearly as efficient as Toyota’s – although it is much cheaper to produce.
A more powerful two-mode hybrid setup would also be a viable drivetrain for larger vehicles, like the Accord, Pilot and Odyssey – which is rumored to have a hybrid version in 2011. Honda isn’t rushing the new two-mode setup to market, however, and is reportedly waiting on a lithium-ion battery pack to help deliver optimum fuel economy.
From 2005 to 2007, Honda made the Accord Hybrid (above). Honda built the car as more of a performance vehicle than a fuel-miser, however, and it showed. The car’s fuel economy rating wasn’t overly impressive and sales were even worse.
A two-mode hybrid setup would allow for significantly improved fuel economy, with a Hybrid Accord once again a possibility, along with a hybrid Odyssey, or Pilot or CR-V, or…
[Source: Automotive News via GreenCarReports]