Honda to sell electric cars in US
Aug 22, 2009 - Tomoko A. Hosaka -
The Associated Press
TOKYO (AP) - Honda Motor Co. plans to introduce electric
vehicles in the U.S. early next decade, joining a
growing number of automakers vying for the lead in
clean technology development, local media reported
Japan's second-biggest car maker, which has focused
on gas-electric hybrids so far, is building an all-electric
prototype to be unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show in
October, according to the Nikkei financial newspaper.
It said Honda would begin sales of electric vehicles
in the United States in the first half of the decade.
A Honda spokesman said the Tokyo-based company has
begun to develop electric vehicles, but has not decided
on a release date. He declined to be named, citing
Honda released its new Insight earlier this year,
billing it as the cheapest gas-electric hybrid on
the market, to compete with Toyota Motor Corp.'s top-selling
But with U.S. environmental regulations expected
to toughen, automakers are stepping up efforts to
release zero-emission cars.
Honda has leased a small number of its FCX Clarity
hydrogen fuel cell vehicles to customers in Southern
California since last year. Their high development
cost, however, prompted Honda to consider adding electric
cars to its lineup, the Nikkei said.
Among its rivals, Nissan Motor Co. is set to begin
selling its Leaf electric hatchback in the U.S., Europe
and Japan next year. Toyota Motor Corp. has said it
plans to launch electric models by 2012.
In June, Mitsubishi Motors Corp., launched its own
electric vehicle, the 4.59 million yen ($48,300) i-MiEV.
Ford's first battery electric vehicle, the Transit
Connect commercial van, is to be available next year,
while General Motors Corp. is set to release its Chevrolet
Volt next year, a rechargeable electric car with a
small internal combustion engine that the company
says will get up to 230 miles per gallon (98 kilometers
per liter) in city driving.
The Obama administration in June said Ford, Nissan
and Tesla Motors Inc. would be the first three beneficiaries
of a $25 billion fund to develop fuel-efficient vehicles.