While the folks at GM celebrate the advent of the 2011 Chevrolet Volt, those at Honda aren't rushing to create a plug-in hybrid of their own.
Masaaki Kato, president of Honda's Research & Development unit, tells Bloomberg that today's batteries aren't quite ready for a plug-in application.
"For battery-powered vehicles to become more widespread," Kato said, "we feel battery technology needs to advance further."
The technology in question lies with lithium-ion battery cells, similar to those used in the Volt.; Although these cells are more efficient than previous nickel-metal hydride batteries, they hold only half the energy of gasoline by weight.
Kato pointed out that in order to be competitive with traditional gasoline vehicles, engineers need to increase battery capacity by seven times while drastically reducing their cost.
As a result, Kato's guiding Honda towards developing normal gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles, along with continuing experiments with hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.; A new Insight concept, destined for the 2008 Paris motor show, previews an upcoming hybrid, while the FCX Clarity, a fuel cell-powered hatchback, is undergoing testing in both California and Japan.