Despite being one of the pioneers for hybrid cars — the Honda Insight was launched at about the time of the Toyota Prius — Honda hasn’t done much with electrified vehicles. Instead the company has been more focused on CNG and Fuel Cell vehicles, and stressing the value of high efficiency vehicles. Today, Honda announced plans to cancel their CNG car (Civic Natural Gas), the Civic Hybrid, and the plug-in hybrid Accord.
For the Civic Natural Gas, Honda said that despite being a pioneer in CNG cars, and steadfastly producing the only consumer CNG car for 15 years, that because CNG refueling infrastructure never took off this car didn’t have a future. Hence, it got cut from Honda’s lineup.
In general, it seems Honda doesn’t believe it needs to keep the Civic Hybrid because the new generation of the Civic clocks in at over 40 MPG without hybridization. “For the future we will place our focus more on our two-motor hybrid system, where we feel we can meet the needs and expectations of customers for hybrids and achieve greater reduction of CO2 emissions.”
The press release doesn’t discuss the fate of the Honda Fit EV, but we already know its fate. Honda canceled production of that car some time ago, after producing a minuscule quantity and making it very hard to lease. Honda has been recycling the Fit EV’s returned by lease-holders, offering them to new lease-holders under an extremely attractive $199/month lease.
Their roadmap for the future is
- 2016 – “next generation fuel cell vehicle”
- After 2016 – “an all-new battery electric model and the all-new plug-in hybrid model”
Advancing Environment a Natural Fit in Honda Vehicle Lineup
As we take major steps to further strengthen and align our product portfolio around the changing preferences of our customers, growth opportunities in the marketplace and the needs of society, we are rolling out incredible new products that are creating the strongest and most fuel efficient lineup in our history.
This effort is keyed to a new generation of powertrain technologies, including more fuel-efficient engines and transmissions and new hybrid systems. As a result, our high-volume products of today including Fit, Civic and Accord on the passenger car side and HR-V, CR-V, Pilot and Odyssey on the light truck side, are already achieving best-in-class fuel economy.
We will further advance this leadership with the launch this fall of an all-new 10th-generation Civic that will deliver fun-to-drive performance in concert with top-in-class fuel efficiency and safety. With two new engines on the new Civic, including our first turbo engine, we are targeting class-leading fuel economy for Civic, with EPA highway fuel economy a few ticks above 40 miles per gallon.
Due, in part to this ability to advance fuel economy through conventional engine technology, the Civic lineup will no longer include a hybrid or a natural gas model, as we will discontinue production of both of these products with the end of the 2015 model year.
Honda has promoted CNG-powered vehicles for many years. For most of the past 15 years we have been the only automaker with a dedicated CNG vehicle. Despite this commitment, the infrastructure for natural gas refueling and consumer demand remains a challenge. Production of the Civic Natural Gas model has been completed at our Indiana plant, but we will continue to provide a high level of service to our existing customers through CNG-certified Honda dealers.
The Civic Hybrid has played a very important role in helping promote customers’ appreciation for hybrid technology and is presently the only hybrid variant of a mainstream compact sedan. For the future we will place our focus more on our two-motor hybrid system, where we feel we can meet the needs and expectations of customers for hybrids and achieve greater reduction of CO2 emissions.
We will not be offering a plug-in version of Accord going forward as we look toward the scheduled launch of a new dedicated plug-in model. But we will expand application of our innovative two- and three-motor hybrid systems in the coming years. The Accord Hybrid is already the most fuel-efficient 5-passenger sedan in America, and the new Accord Hybrid set to debut in early 2016 will raise the bar with the next-generation of Honda’s two-motor hybrid system for even greater fuel economy and performance. Further, enhancements to production methods for the two-motor system will help lead to a strong increase in Accord Hybrid sales.
We are also working to advance electrified vehicles to meet the diverse needs and wants of environmentally conscious customers. We are developing an entirely new generation of vehicles starting from the introduction in 2016 of our next-generation fuel cell vehicle. This will be followed by an all-new battery electric model and the all-new plug-in hybrid model.
So, Honda is committed to offering vehicles with best-in-class fuel economy today through a new generation of powertrain technology. We’re developing an entire new generation of electrified vehicles that will continue our leadership tomorrow. And in the process we are creating the strongest and most balanced vehicle lineup in our history.
We remain committed to our vision for more sustainable mobility, and we are excited to be introducing a fantastic lineup of products that are more fun and more fuel efficient than ever before.
Executive Vice President, Automobile Division
American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
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