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Honda Working on Large Hybrid, May Launch in Three years

Honda’s desire to develop a hybrid system for its larger automobiles isn’t anything new, but the automaker has just entered the development phase — meaning the final product could be approximately three years away.

“We’ve left the research stage and entered the field of development,” Tomohiko Kawanabe, COO of automotive research and development, told Reuters in an interview.

Although Honda currently offers Insight, Civic, and CR-Z hybrids, all use a version of Honda’s “Integrated Motor Assist,” which originally debuted on the original Insight hybrid in 1999. Despite Honda’s early entry into the hybrid playing field, the company has never offered a parallel hybrid, which could allow the vehicle to propel itself solely with electricity.

Honda’s new hybrid system will be more like the parallel system seen in Toyota’s Prius that uses two electric motors and can propel itself on electricity alone. Honda’s aim for the new hybrid system is to be able to mount it to larger cars such as the Odyssey and Pilot. With the IMA, the largest vehicle Honda could use it with was the Accord, which had little success as a hybrid here in the States. Kawanabe didn’t specify an exact time frame in which the new hybrid system would appear, but said it would be roughly the same three years it takes to develop a new vehicle.

Prior to its decision to research a large hybrid system, Honda was going to use clean diesel technology to boost its fuel economy. The idea was scrapped in 2008 in favor of this new hybrid system. Honda still produces a 2.2-liter diesel for European consumption and is looking at developing an even smaller diesel for sale in some emerging markets as well as Europe.

Source: Automotive News

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