Honda Increases its Commitment to Hybrids

hondaAs automakers are unveiling plans for battery-operated, plug-in automobiles, Honda Motor Co. released news that is will increase its commitment to the movement by working to supply new lithium ion batteries for hybrid vehicles. This joint venture with GS Yuasa Corporation will use over $170 million dollars of capital to introduce new, high power lithium batteries. In their current agreement, Honda will hold a 49 percent share of the operation.

Honda's hopes are to take current hybrid solutions and truly bring them into vehicles in the mid to larger size range. This will provide a good short term solution to reduction carbon dioxide emissions. The lithium ion battery packs being built will provide the power needed for hybrids in these sizes of vehicles, but the technology and powered density of these batteries will be too much for the purely electric cars. This will be the first time that Honda will offer lithium packs in hybrid vehicles, given that lithium ion batteries are smaller and lighter for a given energy density (but are more expensive).

The Toyota Prius will be under going numerous tests for a lithium ion, plug in only car model in 2009, while GM hopes to release plug in volts by 2010. In 2010, Nissan has plans to introduce a new model of plug in cars that have the ability to travel up to 100 miles on a single charge.

Setup and finalizing the venture with GS Yuasa has caused a set back in Honda's other plans for clean-diesel autos, and has suspended for an indeterminate amount of time the plans for the release of fuel efficient diesel cars in 2009. The reasoning is that cleaning up diesel is a much more expensive process, especially with the ever increasing gap between gas and diesel prices. Honda's plans for offering more hybrids are expected to bring down the price of individual components, which may ultimately help in working with diesel and using its cleaner carbon content with out extra cost.

Current hybrids utilize nickel-metal-hydride batteries, which are heavier and only hold little more than half of what lithium ion battery can provide. The problem lies in the difficulty in producing large lithium ion packs, which is a more costly than other batteries. GS Yuasa is a supplier for lead-acid batteries and lithium ion packs for the Asimo robots. The batteries of today are not good enough to make the electric hybrid a viable option for electrical cars. The technology has to move forward, taking batteries with it.

Honda is looking to obtain aid from the government as the current economy is crumbling all over. This has cut into car production and profits for the automaker. Honda's profits have dropped by a third over the last fiscal year. With the development of these new lithium ion packs, a venture that will begin in the spring 2009 it is hopeful that Honda can pull itself out of a tough place.

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Originally posted 2008-12-31 05:38:08. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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