Honda to sell electric cars, plug-in hybrids by 2012
Honda said Tuesday it will roll out an electric car and a plug-in hybrid in Japan and the United States in 2012 as it seeks to catch up in the race to make clean, battery-powered cars.
Japan's number-two carmaker plans to launch the compact electric car as well as mid and large-sized plug-in hybrids that will run up to 60 kilometers on a litre (140 miles on a gallon) of petrol, said president and CEO Takanobu Ito.
"The next 10 years will be very critical for Honda to survive in the midst of major changes, at a time of increased environmental awareness and changes in the global economic structure," Ito told reporters at a press conference.
He said details of the cars will not be released until the end of the year.
The plug-in has been a pet project of Ito, who headed Honda's research and development section before taking over the company in June last year.
The announcement that Honda will embrace the technology means a turnaround in the company's vision. In 2007 then president Takeo Fukui said that plug-in hybrids offered too few environmental benefits to be worth pursuing.