In Tokyo, Honda Reveals Details of Push Toward 30 Percent Emissions Cut by 2020

At the Tokyo Motor Show this week, carmakers revealed the usual array of concepts ranging from fuel cell sedans to electric sports cars. Honda plays this game as well as any major carmaker, and this year brought an electrified version of its Fit subcompact, an electric Micro Commuter Concept that somewhat resembles a Renault Twizy, a 100-mile-range electric roadster similar in size and style to the Honda S2000, and a plug-in hybrid concept called the Honda Advanced Cruiser-X (AC-X), similar in functionality to Toyota’s forthcoming Prius HPV plug-in hybrid.

But beyond the concepts, Honda president Takanobu Ito’s message to reporters at Tokyo this year was focused on the near term, namely the period between model year 2012 and 2020―by which time Honda has pledged to reduce average emissions of its vehicles by 30 percent. When asked whether Honda plans to keep pace with Nissan’s electric vehicle program and its goal of selling 1.5 million electrics by 2015, Ito urged a broader view of green vehicle technologies, which by his company’s vision include electric vehicles but are by no means centered around them.

“If you think about the concept EVs introduced by Honda at this Tokyo Motor Show, you see that electric cars are important. I will not deny that,” said Ito. “But when you consider the performance of batteries, the charging times, plus the cost of batteries, I think pure EVs would be best for compact, very small cars.”

For larger vehicles―which will undeniably continue play a significant role in the consumer automotive market for the foreseeable future―Honda favors hybrid technology like that that will be featured in the newly resurrected Accord hybrid, which will reportedly go on sale in Japan next year. The original Accord hybrid was a flop in the U.S. thanks to its $3,000 price premium and relatively low fuel economy compared to other hybrids. Though the car offered superior performance and more roominess than other gas-electrics and offered considerable fuel savings compared to the standard Accord V6, hybrid shoppers favored cars at the higher end of the efficiency spectrum, like the Prius.

For the forthcoming Accord hybrid, Honda has developed a new dedicated powertrain for mid- and large-sized vehicles that includes an updated continuously variable transmission and a new variable valve timing system, which transitions the engine from Atkinson cycle timing for highway driving to a standard Otto cycle for improved performance in the city.

“We believe we already have the technology in our hands, and for the next 10 to 20 years,” said Ito. “I think in order to reduce CO2, we would have to use these different technologies, of which pure battery cars are one. But proportion-wise, I think hybrids will be the largest.”

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  • MrEnergyCzar

    Emissions reduction is just a clever distraction. It’s funny how each car maker comes up with different reasons to cover-up the same lack of EV or plug-in hybrid planning….. I’m sure Honda is scrambling to get a plug-in or EV out just like they scrambled to put out the Insight hybrid….


  • Pierre

    30 % is not enough -____-

  • Pierre

    30 % is not enough -____-

  • hybridhybrid

    they have just announced it. honda fit BEV and honda fit plug in hybrid (2 liter atkinson cycle with full hybrid system with combined power around 161 hp)

  • Tim Bradley

    This article contains a gross misstatement. The previous Accord Hybrid most certianly did NOT offer “considerable fuel savings compared to the standard Accord V6” – in fact, because the fuel economy of the hybrid was only slightly higher than the standard V6, the model obviously failled to justify its $3k higher premium. The claim of this ll-fated and
    unlamented model was solely based on its performance – which for its time was unexcelled in a hybrid. This was not a car failure- it was the stratigic failure (in the belief that there was a market for a high-perf hybrid).

    BTW – I own a 2006 Sonata V6. It gets 21 city and 33 hwy after 85,000 miles. Very good for a V6, maybe not great (I am not sure); I am pleased mostly because for the past 3 years I have put on fewer than 8K miles per year. It has been stellar in reliability. Total repairs costs have been cost me $114 out-of-pocket – and have been limited to a “turn-signal” switch. Warranty repairs were limited to two other of these switches and a floppy sun-visor! Some people have personal/emotional attachments to their cars. I don’t – but seriously this has been “good’n” – so much so that I wanna be buried in this car (kiddin’! of course).

  • Capt. Concernicus


    I agree with you that 30% is not enough, but do you notice the difference in the way the Japanese promote their vehicles vs. Americans?

    The Japanese tend to focus mostly on trying to reduce their use of fuel and reduce emissions in thier vehicles. With the Americans it seems that their focus is mostly on higher horsepower and faster cars. Then claiming that their Focus or Cruze’s achieve over 40mpg, which in itself is misleading because the 40mpg represents highway only and then only if you buy the Focus SE or the Cruze Eco.

    Whereas the Hyundai Elantra (S. Korean) achieves 40mpg across all lines of that model.

    Although Honda has fallen from grace. I love Honda, but it has lost its vision and its passion. Recently its cars have been average at best. Trying to compromise between sporty and fuel efficient and not doing either very well.

  • Mr. Fusion

    I like Honda’s evolving Storm Trooper look. The AC-X would be a sweet looking sedan on the road.

    My opinion is they’re playing it too safe with the Hybrids and EVs, but I’m sure the have plans in case fuel prices skyrocket.

  • evergreen

    These hybrids are nothing but a distraction to buy time for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles to be the viable alternative from combustion engines. The oil industry controls both the government and car manufacturers and they will keep developing combustion engines until hydrogen technology becomes the viable solution. Sadly consumers will still have to pay at the pump but this time it wont be gas stations but hydrogen stations instead.

  • hybridhybrid

    hydrogen will eventually become one of the energy source once crude oil on earth runs out. and that my friend, will not be in another 100 years time. by then, i’m 100% confident that battery have become so advance that it can even power a “jet car” for >1000 km. hydrogen? maybe to operate a small fleet just the same like now

    otherwise yes, hybrid is just a temporary solution same with plug-in hybrids. BEV will eventually reign the transportation world (provided if earth is still rotating around its axis)

  • Chris Denny

    30% isn’t exactly pushing the boat out.

  • Shines

    Evergreen I doubt seriously that hydrogen will ever be an energy source. Instead of creating a new hydrogen infrastructure, use solar and wind and geothermal to convert the CO2 in the air back into gasoline or natural gas. I think it would make hybrids and plug in hybrids a more viable choice than a pure electric (until battery technology can match the energy density of gasoline). It would reduce the climate change risk by removing CO2 from the air. It would reduce our dependence on foreign oil by producing it locally and if the “converter” were small enough it could reduce our dependence on big oil. It would allow us to keep our existing infrastructure in place. I am surprised I am saying this, but the technology exists and if it becomes cost effective seems like a more intelligent choice than hydrogen “power”.

  • tapra1

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