The next few years in the auto industry may bring about some interesting changes in the world of hybrid energy. Rather than worry about making gas-guzzling standard SUVs cheaper to operate, industry powerhouse Honda will seek an edge in the hybrid market by focusing exclusively on compact and subcompact hybrid vehicles.
While competitors are trying to lure customers by making their desired large sedans and SUV’s hybrid, Honda has decided to ignore that part of the hybrid market. The reason: Honda believes hybrid compacts and subcompacts are where the real energy savings are.
By comparison, Toyota’s next 2010 Prius will be larger than the previous model, while Honda’s next hybrid Civic promises to be smaller than its predecessor. (Source: cnet.com)
The most exciting change to the Honda fleet will be the Insight, set to be revived at the 2008 Paris International Auto Show next month. To compete with its greatest rival, the Insight will integrate a less expensive model of Honda’s hybrid technology, allowing the company to retail the new car for less than the Prius. (Source: pcmag.com)
Four years from now, in 2012, Honda hopes to unveil the CR-Z, its smallest sports hybrid.
One of the main reasons for the company’s focus on smaller cars is twofold: they’re more often used for city driving, which takes advantage of the hybrid’s most exciting abilities (stopping recharges the hybrid’s batteries). Says Masaaki Kato, President of Honda’s Research and Development division, “Cars that drive stop-and-go are most suitable to hybrid technology.” (Source: cnet.com)
Although other automakers are on the right track developing hybrid technology in their SUVs, Honda’s initiative is laudable. SUVs, even if they incorporate ‘green’ technology, are still an inefficient use of alternative energy.
By focusing on smaller vehicles, Honda is reducing the initial energy use, while also moving towards renewable energy sources and sustainable living.