Tokyo Motor Show 2009: Speech by Honda's President and CEO, Takanobu Ito
SLOUGH, UNITED KINGDOM – October 21, 2009: Since Honda’s foundation, creating personal mobility as a means to provide basic transportation for people has been the primary focus of our business. By continuing to provide more freedom and the fun of mobility and help people lead more convenient and comfortable lives, last year, we provided some 23 million motorcycles, automobiles and power products to our customers around the world.
Leveraging our strength as a manufacturer of motorcycles, automobiles, and power products, we will strive to be at the forefront in the area of the environment and energy technology by addressing the challenge of reducing CO2 emissions in a more comprehensive manner through further improvement in the fuel economy of existing products and also through the use of new technologies, such as solar cells and electromotive technologies, for each type of mobility product.
At this year’s motor show, we designed our booth to propose Honda’s vision for mobility of the near future. We are proposing the concept of “Hello!” representing the “Honda Electric mobility Loop” which attempts to comprehensively express our vision to provide both products that generate electricity and mobility products that run on electricity.
These are the products displayed at the “Hello!” zone.
The central Hello! product is the FCX Clarity fuel cell electric vehicle, which runs on electricity generated by hydrogen reacting with oxygen. This compact city commuter is the EV-N, a battery electric vehicle for which Honda pursued a very simple design form. The EV-Cub is an electric motorcycle offering the familiar design and outstanding convenience expected of a Super Cub.
The EV-Monpal is an electric personal mobility scooter which helps to permit a life with greater peace of mind and comfort. And this is our new mobility device, the U3-X, which uses technologies developed through the ASIMO bipedal humanoid program and was designed to co-exist in harmony with people. All of these products run on clean energy – either hydrogen or electricity – produced from solar power. In addition, each model features interactive communication technologies that showcase the fun ways in which mobility devices can interact with people and society.
Over the long term, the advancement of electromotive technologies is an important factor for the reduction of CO2 emissions. Among potential solutions, we believe that the fuel cell electric vehicle will be the ultimate form for automobiles in the future as it has advantages such as zero CO2 emissions in use, can travel considerable distances without refueling and can be quickly refueled.
Since the 1990s, Honda has been independently developing the fuel cell stack, the core technology of a fuel cell electric vehicle, and leading the industry in creating a fuel cell stack of the highest performance and efficiency. The fuel cell stack on display today is lightweight, compact, and ready for large scale commercial production in the future.
As a result, the FCX Clarity achieved a spacious cabin and innovative exterior styling which emerged from packaging that would be impossible to create with an internal combustion engine. In addition, the FCX Clarity achieves both smooth, perfectly linear acceleration and the unparalleled quietness of an electric vehicle, offering an entirely new kind of driving enjoyment. The FCX Clarity has been available for lease in the United States and Japan since last year, and this year we have begun conducting experiments on public roads in Europe. Going forward, Honda will continue to advance fuel cell stack technology preparing for the more widespread use of fuel cell vehicles in the future.
In the area of battery electric vehicles, Honda offered the EV Plus for lease starting in 1997, in Japan and the U.S. Through these lease sales, we obtained customer feedback on the daily use of the vehicle and customers’ expectations and requirements. In addition, various technologies and know-how in areas such as motor drive and high-voltage control were applied to the development of the FCX Clarity and our hybrid vehicles. At this moment, considering the level of battery performance, Honda is conducting research on battery electric vehicles as short-distance commuter vehicles. The EV-N and EV-Cub on display today represent the direction Honda is taking in this area.
However, we believe that Honda should prioritize the more widespread use of gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles at this stage in the advancement of electromotive technologies. We can contribute to the reduction of CO2 emissions by making hybrid vehicles with excellent environmental performance available to even more people. We believe this is the most important challenge for us and we will enhance our hybrid lineup based on these beliefs.
We’re introducing the CR-Z Concept 2009, which represents our proposal for a new hybrid model.
The CR-Z Concept 2009 is the world’s first hybrid vehicle equipped with a six-speed manual transmission. Together with a 1.5-liter i-VTEC engine the vehicle will create completely new value by combining the fun of driving and outstanding fuel economy.
The compact, lightweight and highly efficient Honda hybrid system, known as IMA, is packaged within an advanced form based on a “low, short, and wide” design concept. We plan to launch a production automobile based on the CR-Z Concept 2009 in Japan in February of next year, and then in Europe and North America.
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