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Honda Polishes its Environmental Credentials

"Earth Dreams" technology to debut on new Accord.

by on Jun.29, 2012

The production version of the 2013 Honda Accord -- the Coupe Concept shown here -- will introduce the maker's new Earth Dreams technology.

Honda, looking to regain some of the momentum it has lost over the past couple of years, plans to introduce its “Earth Dreams” technology this coming fall on its new 2013 Honda Accord.

Honda officials told that the Earth Dreams package on the new Accord will include a new 2.4 liter, 4-cylinder engine with direct injection and a new continuously variable (or CVT) transmission, according to Steve Center, American Honda’s vice president overseeing environmental business development.

Center also said a plug-in electric version of the Accord will debut in early 2013 as part of the maker’s overall strategy of reducing CO2 emissions.

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The first maker to launch a hybrid model in the U.S. – its original Insight model – Honda has since taken a back seat, in terms of its environmental image, to Toyota which produces the Prius, the world’s best-selling gas-electric model.  Recent Honda hybrids, including a new Insight and the CR-Z, have failed to gain the market traction the maker had anticipated.

Meanwhile, Honda has been criticized for lagging behind in the development and use of advanced, high-mileage technologies such as CVTs, direct injection and automatic transmissions with six or more gears.

Now, however, it hopes to start catching up with a variety of green technologies coming to market, including the Accord’s CVT and its new Fit EV battery-electric vehicle.  There is also a 3-motor hybrid version of the maker’s Super-Handling All-Wheel-Drive technology in the works.

“There is no single solution. The largest reduction of C02 will come from improvements in the internal combustion energy,” noted Center.

No other automaker is more deeply committed to producing and delivering energy-efficient and sustainable transportation solutions than Honda, Center insisted. The latest example is the 2013 Fit EV, which will be available for lease in California and Oregon by July, 20 the newest offering in Honda’s evolving range of alternatively fueled vehicles.

Honda also is the only manufacturer “mass producing” vehicles that run on compressed natural gas, Center noted. Honda now has the capacity to build 4,000 natural gas vehicles annually at its assembly plant in Indiana, he said.

Honda was also the first maker to market a hydrogen-powered fuel-cell vehicle, the FC-V, albeit in small numbers limited to Southern California, where there are accessible supplies of the super-clean fuel.

Sustaining the culture of mobility created by motorized vehicles is one of Honda’s top priorities, Center said. Honda is betting that the social value inherent in its portfolio of clean vehicles will connect with potential buyers who are becoming increasingly skeptical of automotive ownership.


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