All Honda Models Are Designed with Hybrid in Mind

Honda President Takanobu Ito says around 10 percent of Honda’s global sales will be hybrids by 2015, and all of its models are built with the ability to quickly adapt into hybrids.

In a Dec. 6 article, Automotive News primarily focused on how Kohei Hitomi, chief engineer of the Honda Fit, was asked by Honda’s top management in 2003 to make the Fit easily adaptable into a hybrid. So, Hitomi built in extra space below the rear floorboard flap for a potential electric motor in the engine housing. In the hybrid, the space houses the battery pack, inverter and controller—but it’s left empty in the gas-powered Fit.

Hybrid Trend

Four years later, Honda’s strategy of designing the Fit to easily accept a hybrid drivetrain was extended to all mainstream Honda models, regardless of whether or not the vehicle was scheduled to get a hybrid version. “From now on, the basic stance is the simultaneous development of the base model with the hybrid version in mind,” said Hitomi, in an interview with Automotive News. “That is the trend.”

The Honda Fit Hybrid went on sale in Japan in October, and will be sold in Europe in early 2011. The Fit Hybrid’s fuel efficiency and price aligns with the 2010 Honda Insight, rated at 40 mpg in the city and 43 on the highway. There are currently no plans to bring the Fit Hybrid to the United States.

According to Automotive News, Honda is working on a wagon version of the Fit that will come with both conventional and hybrid drivetrains. The wagon, which will be about 20 inches longer than the current Fit, will also only be available in Japan.

A Lot More Hybrids, Plus Plug-ins

Due to government regulations and incentives, hybrid sales in Japan since last year have eclipsed of those in the United States—but with tougher U.S. fuel economy regulations slated for the U.S. in 2012 to 2016, the American hybrid market is expected to dramatically grow.

Engineers working on the Honda Fit Hybrid employed additional fuel efficiency improvements, such as better aerodynamics—reducing the size of the front grille, adding low-resistance tires, and designing a small air intake for the battery cooling system. These strategies will also be applied to larger hybrids expected from Honda and its Acura luxury brand.

As we reported on PluginCars.com, those larger hybrids will employ Honda’s upcoming two-motor hybrid system with plug-in capability. While the Fit Hybrid is not expected in the U.S., Honda announced at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show, that an all-electric version of the Fit would go on sale in 2012.


  • MrEnergyCzar

    Where is Honda’s Prius or Volt fighter?

  • Mr. Fusion

    Does “All Honda Models” include the Ridgeline?

  • FamilyGuy

    Really, an actual wagon hybrid, but not coming to the US? Bummer!

  • Shines

    Lets see:
    Fit hybrid – not here
    Insight – by design – here
    Civic Hybrid – here
    CRZ – here
    Accord – no longer
    Accord Crosstour – nope
    Element – nope
    CRV – nope
    Pilot – nope
    Odyssey – nope
    Ridgeline – nope
    Seems to me Honda is doing a lot of talking but so far- not much to show (3 small hybrids) for all that talk.

  • ms

    In addition to the previous comment.

    Civic hybrid will be discontinued, even in japan.

  • Nelson Lu

    Every single Honda hybrid is a mediocre car or worse. Unless they change that, they can make their entire lineup to be hybrids and would still be awful.

  • john r

    Really Nelson? What qualifies you as an expert to offer this statement of fact? Have you driven the CR-Z?? I own a CR-Z. Great car, possibly not great, mediocre, no way. I’d call it very good.
    Sounds to me like you’re simply a Honda hater. Good for you. Go back to reading Comsumer Reports, sounds like you get your fact there.

    John R

  • Dom

    Most of Shine’s list is available in Europe with diesel motors… which we also don’t get. Rats.

    This is why I wish the “western” nations would sit down and synchronize their safety and emission laws… there is no good reason I shouldn’t at least be able to special order any vehicle that is available in most modern nations, i.e. Europe, Japan, Australia, etc.

  • Nelson Lu

    John, if you think that the CR-Z is a great car — please explain exactly what it is great at. I drive a Ford Fusion Hybrid, incidentally — a much more solid car that has much more room that has much more power that gets better mileage. Call me a Honda hater if you will, because I hate mediocre cars that disguise themselves as green vehicles.

  • John R

    Nelson, sorry to have come off somewhat heavy handed about the CR-Z. We all have opinions about cars, so are formed of fact, some are formed from what we read and hear (opinion). Owning the CR-Z has been a great experience so far. I can speak fact.
    1) The car gets good mileage, not great.
    2) The cars handling is good, not great.
    3) The cars acceleration is average, not good or great.
    4) The cars build is top quality, great.
    5) The cars knack for attracting attention is simply amazing! I’ve had people follow me into parking lots and stop me to ask about the car. (Knida scary)
    6) Room wise…. it’s a small two seat car, I certainly hope that the Fusion has more room. If it didn’t, that would not be good.

    Bottom line, the CR-Z is a very good car, but in no way could I say GREAT car. I’ll never pay a cent towards your car payments for the Fusion, nor will you ever pay a penny towards my payments for the CR-Z. We all purchase what we feel is best for us. For you, that was a Fusion, for me it was a CR-Z. Just don’t call the CR-Z mediocre, it’s not correct. Your opinion, fine, fact, not true.

    John R

  • Matt Chatham

    Nelson, I feel like your argument against the CR-Z is one I’ve heard about my Insight before: That because it isn’t the best at anything it is a bad vehicle. I like what I’ve read about the Ford Fusion, and had I the resources I might have bought one myself, but seeing as the Insight sells for about $10,000 cheaper (and I’m pretty loyal to Honda after my ’97 Accord went for 194,000 miles before I sold it) I went with it instead. You can’t compare two cars apples to apples without taking into account things like price and what they are designed for.

  • Anonymous

    @Nelson

    Too bad you can’t shift yourself in a Fusion hybrid, or any other economy/family hybrid now on market.

    I feel bad for those who are stuck in a family hybrid thinking they’re enjoying the ‘thrill of driving’, like that of a small, agile two door, in a 3,700 lb four door mammoth.

  • Anonymous

    @ ms, “Civic hybrid will be discontinued, even in japan.”

    Not sure about it. I think I read that, prob. from IL, Honda is prioritizing the importance of next generation Civic hybrid, esp. in the Japanese domestic market, and there’ re speculations that the Civic hybrid to be sold in Japan may deviate significantly from what will be available in N. America.