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Honda And Hydrogen Fuel Cell Model

The movement toward alternative-energy vehicles received another push on Tuesday when Honda unveiled a hydrogen-powered car it aims to begin selling in March 2016 in Japan.

While much of the attention on alternative powertrains has focused on electric vehicles - thanks to the success of Tesla's Model S and the potential of General Motors' second-generation Chevy Volt (and its concept, 200-mile-range Bolt) - the future is far from set in terms of what may eventually challenge the internal-combustion engine.

Automakers gathering in Detroit this week for the city's annual car show have a range of wares for the alternative-energy shopper: hydrogen fuel cells, compressed natural gas, and hybrid or fully electric vehicles.

Honda's new hydrogen-powered FCV, with its sleek curves and enormous back-seat legroom, calls to mind a large futuristic sedan. But company executives said a hydrogen car would appeal only to a specific type of buyer.

"This is going to work for people who want a zero-emission car that you can fuel up in a few minutes for a 300-mile range and who live in the proximity of hydrogen fueling stations," Steve Ellis, Honda's manager of fuel cell vehicle sales, said in an interview on Tuesday.

Wouldn't Oahu be a great place to run vehicles like this?

Honda Going Into the Wild Blue...

Honda Motor Co. expects to grab at least a quarter of the world market for small business jets soon after delivering its first aircraft next year, achieving the company's long-standing goal of taking to the skies, an executive said.

Honda, Japan's No.3 car maker and the world's biggest manufacturer of motorcycles and engines, is in the final stages of getting its $4.5 million HondaJet certified. It aims to ramp up the pace of production to 80 a year in the first half of 2013.

Honda received more than 100 orders for the seven-seater jet in three days when it began taking orders in 2006, promising a quieter engine, 20 percent better fuel economy over competing models and operational costs of two-thirds or less.

It has not disclosed an updated number of orders, but Michimasa Fujino, a Honda executive and CEO of its North Carolina-based subsidiary, Honda Aircraft Company, said it held a backlog of about three years from orders taken through its nine dealerships in North America and Europe.

"I'm very optimistic about our prospects," Fujino, who initiated Honda's foray into aviation research in 1986, told a small group of reporters at the automaker's Tokyo headquarters on Monday.

"We're doing with HondaJet what the Civic did to American cars from the 1960s. Our competitors are still producing with technology from the 1990s," he said, referring to Textron Inc.'sCessna and Brazil's Embraer SA, which now dominate the 200-a-year small business jet market.

The Civic, known for its reliability, durability and mileage, has consistently been among the United States' best-selling cars since its launch in 1973, forcing industry giants such as General Motors Co (GM.N) to follow suit with cars to meet the country's tighter emissions regulations.

Honda's ambition of making jets traces back to its iconic founder, Soichiro Honda. The HondaJet will make Honda the only car maker in the world to build its own aircraft.

Its engine is made by a joint venture between Honda and General Electric Co.

Honda Aircraft is aiming to turn a profit by 2018, Fujino said.


The business jet industry is expecting a rebound in sales this year after the global economic crisis hammered sales over the past three years.

While the small business jet market has traditionally been limited to North America and Europe so far, Fujino said he was fielding about a call a week from China, both from prospective buyers and eager dealers, while interest was also greater than he anticipated in Brazil, India and the Middle East.

"Right now we want to focus on delivering on the orders that we have, but I'd like to enter Brazil and China earlier than we'd initially planned," he said, declining to specify a timeframe. New demand from emerging markets could expand the global small-jet market to about 300 a year, he said.

Fujino said he was also seeing more interest in the smallest end of the market as medium-sized jet users look to downsize to get more for their fuel, much like the trend in the car industry.

"Most of our customers are owners of small- and medium-sized businesses, and many are looking to get the most out of the jets that they need," he said.

With operational costs of about $1,000-$1,200 an hour, HondaJet could make traveling in a group of five or six cheaper and more efficient than flying commercially between small cities, he said. Competitors offer at best $1,800 by comparison, he added.

Honda Aircraft will add 300-350 factory staff to bring its total workforce to around 1,000 in the first half of 2013, Fujino said.

While the Honda EV (shown on the right) looks like a dressed up Honda Fit, there is no indication as to whether or not this zero emission electric vehicle will sport the Fit name when it reaches the US market or if it will have its own unique name. We do know that the Honda EV Concept (or whatever the production version is called) will be powered by a lithium ion battery system and a coaxial electric motor derived from the one used in the Honda FCX Clarity fuel cell vehicle.

The drivetrain of the Honda EV Concept will allow the driver to select three different driving modes ? Economy, Normal and Sport ? to provide the ideal balance of power and efficiency for every driving condition. A similar version of this system was introduced in the US on the CR-Z Hybrid to offer optimized performance for the driving conditions. When Economy mode is selected, the Honda EV Concept will have a range of roughly 100 miles while acceleration and top speed is hindered. When the driver selects Normal mode, the Honda EV will offer better performance while offering roughly 17% less range (that would mean that it could go about 83 miles on a charge) and when shifted into Sport mode, the EV Concept will reach a top speed of 90 miles per hour but the range is chopped down to roughly 75 miles.

The Honda EV also features an assist program that coaches the driver to maximize efficiency based on the selected driving mode, including letting the driver know when to turn off certain accessories to increase the battery range. Once the battery has been run down, the Honda EV Concept will fully recharge in "less than 12 hours" with a standard 120V line and hooking up to the 240V charging station will cut charge time to under 6 hours.

Unfortunately, in addition to not giving any idea as to what the Honda EV Concept will be called once it reaches production, Honda hasn't offered any idea as to when those production models will reach showrooms around the world. Based on what other EV-makers have done, the Honda EV (or Honda Fit EV, as it could be called) will first hit certain American markets followed by a full scale roll out later in 2012.


Honda's Getting Greener All of the Time

Honda's Getting Greener All of the Time

Honda said today that it has set a goal of reducing carbon emissions from the vehicles it makes around the world by 30% by the end of 2020.

That's a fairly lofty goal -- and the benefits could go not only to cleaner air but fatter pocketbooks. That's because CO2 reductions and better fuel economy go hand-in-hand. It's hard to accomplish one without the other.

Honda says its will try to reduce the carbon emissions that produce greenhouse gases not only in its vehicles, but in production. It has been one of the most aggressive automakers in trying to develop emissions-free hydrogen-powered vehicles, like that concept from 2008 shown above.

The Japanese automaker already has some credibility when it comes to CO2 reduction. In 2006, Honda set a goal to reduce global CO2 emissions from use of its motorcycles, automobiles and power products by 10% by the end of 2010 compared with year 2000 levels. And it says it made it.

But it's easy to see how much harder a 30% reduction may be than that initial 10%. The deeper the cuts, the harder the decisions.


1990 Honda Accord Approaching 1 Million Miles

1990 Honda Accord Approaching
1 Million Miles

Think you put lots of miles on your car commuting to work during the week and having fun on weekends? Some people drive lots of miles for work, and some people have been doing it for more than a decade ? in their own cars. "Joe," of Norway, Maine is one such person, and he has been doing it in the same car.

Joe bought his 1990 Honda Accord in 1996 with just 74,000 miles on the clock ? average mileage for its age. While most people put between 12,000 and 15,000 mile a year on their cars Joe, working as a claims adjuster for nearly 15 years, puts about four times that on his car. Joe averages 62,500 miles a year and his Accord currently has more than 938,000 miles and climbing.

"Joe's journey is a testament to his Honda's reliability and how people have come to count on Honda for more than 50 years to get them to where they need to go," said Tom Peyton, Honda brand manager for American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

Whether this feat can be attributed to Honda's reputation for reliability or Joe's meticulous care of his Accord (knowledge he gained from his previous career as an auto technician) or a combination of both, Joe can back up his claim with the 661 pictures he has taken of his odometer. At 300,000 miles he decided to make detailed records of the Accord's journeys, filling at least 15 notebooks.

Joe says at times he feels like a "human ping- pong ball crossing the state" of Maine, which doesn't leave him much time for anything else. Sharon, Joe's wife of 33 years, declined to comment, but Joe alluded that there may be a "jealousy or rivalry between my car and my wife."

This summer Honda's Facebook page is following Joe and his Accord as the pair aim to reach an even 1 million miles, which they expect to achieve in September this year.

Honda Vehicles Retain Value Best...Need More Be Said?

Honda vehicles retain their value better than any other brand, according to an analysis by

In addition, four Honda models -- the Civic compact, Accord sedan, CR-V crossover and Odyssey minivan -- were named best in their segments.

"A lot of consumers just see it as a value-oriented brand that has good resale (value) and a good history of reliability." said Danny Zhou, senior analyst for Edmunds.

This is the first of what will be an annual report for Edmunds' "Best Retained Value Awards," he said. The authors used past resale prices to estimate the prices 2011 models when they are resold in five years.

Honda retains 50.4 percent of its value, meaning that a $20,000 vehicle is projected to sell for $10,400 in 2016. Toyota was next with 49.7 percent, followed by Mazda with 48.6 percent. The reports lists only the three top luxury and non-luxury brands, for a total of six.

Lexus was the top luxury brand, holding 48.1 percent of its value, followed by Acura, 47.2 percent, and Infiniti, 45 percent.

Notably, all of the top brands are based in Japan, though they have a manufacturing presence in North America. Honda employs 13,500 workers in Ohio, including at assembly plants in Marysville and East Liberty.

Zhou said U.S.-owned brands have hurt their resale value with heavy discounting and other issues. However, the domestics were at the top of a few categories, such as the Ford Mustang (best coupe between $25,000 and $35,000) and the Jeep Wrangler (best sport-utility vehicle between $25,000 and $35,000). A total of 25 categories are listed.

Kelley Blue Book issued its own report on resale value last November, naming Subaru the top non-luxury brand and BMW the best luxury brand. Several Honda models were best in their segments.

Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book used different methods, though Zhou said he isn't familiar enough with the latter report to comment on the reasons for the differences.


Honda And True Innovation

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