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Honda to Launch New, U.S.-Made Hybrid Model

Japanese maker kicking off electric initiative.

by on Jan.10, 2017

Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo said the maker will launch an all-new hybrid sold and produced in the U.S.

Honda will launch an all-new, dedicated hybrid model that will be produced in the U.S., the carmaker’s CEO Takahiro Hachigo said during a media roundtable at the North American International Auto Show news conference Tuesday.

Hachigo declined to discuss specific details about the new model, other than saying it “will be produced in American and sales will start in America,” suggesting the vehicle may eventually be exported to other markets.

Hybrid News!

The announcement comes as Honda begins to ramp up its plans to deliver a wide range of electrified vehicles which, according to Hachigo, will account for “two-thirds of our vehicles…by 2030.”

Rather than focus on specific types of green powertrain technology, the executive said Honda will opt for a mix of “carbon-free mobility.” About half of the Honda line-up in 2030 will be made up of conventional hybrids and plug-in hybrids, Hachigo said, with the remaining vehicles expected to use either pure battery-electric drivetrains or hydrogen-powered fuel-cells.

While Honda has, until now, largely relied on its Japanese plants to produce its electrified models, going forward, “We’re going to be investing in our facilities in the U.S.” so they can assemble green models, as well, said Hachigo, who was named CEO of Japan’s third-largest automaker in 2015.

The 2017 Acura NSX is rated at 573 hp and 476 lb-ft of torque, and at the core of Honda's electrification plans.

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The automaker last year opened a low-volume factory in Marysville, Ohio, specifically designed to produce its new Acura NSX supercar. That two-seater is powered by a driving pairing a twin-turbo -6 with a three-motor hybrid system.

Honda already has developed an assortment of different electrified drivelines, including that three-motor system, and single and twin-motor hybrids

During a news conference later in the day, Hachigo revealed that the automaker will increase the pace of what he called the Honda Electrification Initiative. “Half of our new vehicles will be electrified in the next two years,” he indicated, though he would not say whether that will include the all-new, fifth-generation Honda Odyssey minivan that made its debut at the Detroit Auto Show on Tuesday.

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Hachigo declined to say if the Odyssey is next hybrid being sold and built in the U.S.

During his media roundtable, the Japanese executive also discussed the newly announced relationship it is establishing with Waymo – the new name for Google’s autonomous vehicle unit.

“We’re at the start, at the research and development stage,” the Honda CEO said. As we move forward, we will need to take time and consider the opportunities.”

In the past, Hachigo said, Honda would have tried to go it alone in developing self-driving vehicle technology but, in the increasingly high-tech auto industry, “It’s important to consider other ways of doing things.”

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Honda is the second automaker to pair up with Waymo. On Sunday, the autonomous vehicle unit debuted its newest self-driving hardware which will be used on a modified Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles provided Waymo with 100 of the vehicles for testing on public roads. But there are no immediate plans to go further with that relationship, the two companies said.

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