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Late to the Game, Honda Puts Autonomous Driving on the Fast Track

Japan's #3 automaker also ramping up electrification efforts.

by on Jun.08, 2017

Author Paul A. Eisenstein goes for a drive in Honda's Level 3 autonomous vehicle prototype.

Honda has long had a reputation for building solid, reliable and fun-to-drive cars and utility vehicles, but it has been slow off the mark in adapting some of the key, cutting edge technologies that are likely to define the automotive world in the decades to come. But that’s about to change, the second-largest of the Japanese automakers lifting the kimono as part of a media tour of its vehicle proving grounds this week.

Among the key revelations made during an opening session, Honda President and CEO Takahiro Hachigo said the carmaker has put its autonomous driving efforts into high gear in a bid to catch up with traditional rivals like Toyota, General Motors and Volkswagen, as well as new auto brands and tech players, such as Tesla, Waymo and Uber.

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The Big Picture!

Honda will put its first hands-free models into production in 2020, although they will only allow autonomous operation on limited-access highways, with a driver at the ready to take control, if needed. Beyond that, said Hachigo, “We will strive to achieve the technological establishment of Level 4 automated driving for personal car use by around 2025.”

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Honda Looks Beyond New Fit EV

Maker isn’t plugging all eggs into one electric basket.

by on Nov.18, 2011

Honda will begin leasing the Fit EV for $399 a month next summer, in California and Oregon.

Honda took the wraps off its first battery-electric vehicle, the2013 Honda  Fit EV, which will roll into showrooms in select markets next summer.

But the Japanese maker, an early pioneer in hybrid technology, is clearly not ready to plug all its eggs into one electric basket.  While it will expand its battery car efforts, company officials stress they’re not walking away from other alternative powertrain solutions – which range from natural gas to hydrogen, as well as even cleaner gasoline engines.

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“We don’t know if the answer is electric or hydrogen or natural gas,” cautioned Mike Accavitti, the maker’s U.S. marketing chief, “so, at Honda, we’re working on all of them.”

Honda has opted for a lease-only approach for the Fit EV, the base car planned to carry a $399 monthly charge based on an estimated $36,625 MSRP.

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