Honda CEO Takeo Fukui has stated that plug-in gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles like the Chevy Volt currently under development make little sense. Is he missing the point or is this simply one-upsmanship?
According to Fukui, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) won’t make a very big difference in cutting down on greenhouse gases that are harming the environment. Fukui says that the battery electric vehicles (BEV) that Honda is currently working on, which uses lithium-ion batteries is a better alternative.
This may be true if both the PHEV and BEV hit the market at the same time. And, perhaps as the ultimate insider, Mr. Fukui may know sometime that we don’t about the timing of Honda’s BEV.
But, if PHEV hit the market in the next 3 years like GM and Toyota are indicating, offering over 100 mpg, reduced emissions, plus the ease of use when traveling long distances, this will undoubtedly take market share away from standard gasoline-powered cars and standard hybrid vehicles as well.
Whether or not Honda’s BEV will be ready in this timeframe to take on the PHEV is anyone’s guess. But, even if it is, it will still need to have competitive range, safety, recharging / refueling times and ease of use of the PHEV.
No matter who wins, though, the choice is between two goods from the perspective of reduced emissions and less dependence upon foreign fossil fuels to power our vehicles.