Honda adopting diesel, predicts significant growth

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid 601101&sidvRKvRTymv4&refer=japan
Honda Plans Low-Emission Diesel to Compete in Fuel Efficiency
By Kae Inoue and Alan Ohnsman
Sept. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Honda Motor Co., Japan's third- largest carmaker, will introduce a diesel car that meets California's emission standards and a fuel cell-powered sports car within three years as it vies with Toyota Motor Corp. for buyers of fuel-efficient autos.
A 2009 model four-cylinder Honda will be first to meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and stricter California diesel exhaust rules, President Takeo Fukui told reporters Friday in Tochigi, Japan. The car has 30 percent better fuel economy than an equivalent gasoline model, he said.
Honda is the world's largest engine maker and trails only Toyota in hybrid-electric auto production. Near-record U.S. gasoline prices this year lifted demand for fuel-efficient autos, helping Honda's sales rise 5.3 percent through August in its biggest market.
``There will be a big shift to diesels one day as gas prices will probably continue to rise,'' said Norihito Kanai, a senior research analyst at Meiji Dresdner Asset Management Co. which manages $2.5 billion in equities in Tokyo.
Diesels accounted for 3.6 percent of the 11.4 million light vehicles sold in the U.S. this year through August, according to market forecaster J.D. Power & Associates. Power estimates diesels will account for 9 percent of U.S. auto sales by 2010.
Gasoline cost almost $3 a gallon through August, according to the U.S. Energy Department. The price dropped to $2.44 a gallon as of Sept. 22 from $2.91 a month earlier, according to AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report Web site.
Dirty Diesel
Diesel fuel offers fuel-economy comparable to hybrids. It's also dirtier than gasoline, creating harmful levels of soot and nitrous oxide fumes when burned. Strict air-quality rules prevent Volkswagen AG and DaimlerChrysler AG, the biggest diesel sellers, from offering such models in California, New York and other U.S. states.
``Mercedes hasn't been able to get its diesel certified in California,'' said Phil Gott, an engine technology analyst for Global Insight Inc. in Lexington, Massachusetts. ``If Honda is ready to go in two to three years, that's a feather in their cap, and potentially significant for U.S. acceptance of diesel.''
California sued Honda and the other five largest carmakers in the U.S. last week for creating a ``public nuisance'' by making millions of vehicles that emit huge quantities of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that increases the temperature of the earth's atmosphere, according to the complaint. The suit is seeking compensation for pollution and erosion caused by increased greenhouse gas levels.
Ammonia's Effect
To meet U.S. pollution rules for diesel autos, Volkswagen and DaimlerChrysler plan to use a system that squirts ammonia on diesel fumes as they pass through a filtering chamber. The U.S. EPA and California regulators haven't yet approved that system.
Honda said its diesel engine differs from rivals' by using a new nitrogen oxide catalytic converter to generate and store ammonia on-board, rather than adding it separately as the Volkswagen and DaimlerChrysler systems require.
``We hope to take the leadership in environmental technology as we did with CVCC,'' said Fukui. That early version of the Civic compact in 1973 was the first car to meet U.S. low- emission vehicle rules without a catalytic converter.
``It's the company's responsibility to minimize the impact of emissions,'' Fukui said.
Honda, which had five years of consecutive record earnings, is spending record 545 billion yen ($4.7 billion) in research and development this business year, depressing its profit outlook for the year ending in March 2007.
Particulate matter or soot produced by diesel engines contributes to lung disease, aggravates asthma and other breathing problems and creates smog, according to the EPA.
New U.S. regulations starting in 2007 require vehicles that weigh less than 6,000 pounds to emit no more than 0.07 grams of nitrogen oxide per mile on average, Honda said.
Honda shares fell 40 yen, or 1 percent, to 3,830 yen in Tokyo Stock Exchange on Friday.
Fuel-Cell Sports Car
Honda on Friday also unveiled a drivable version of the FCX fuel-cell sports car first shown at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2005. Limited sales of the low-slung model begin in Japan and in the U.S. within two years, Fukui said.
``Fuel-cell vehicles will be the ultimate green vehicle,'' said Fukui. ``There's no doubt about that.''
The new version replaces a boxy hatchback model Honda has leased to a U.S. family and government agencies in the U.S. and Japan. It weighs 180 kilograms (396 pounds) less than the current FCX.
Fuel cells, typically layers of plastic, carbon fiber and precious metals such as platinum, create electricity in a chemical process that combines hydrogen and oxygen. Ideally, the only byproduct is water vapor.
Costs for the cars exceed $1 million, Honda and other automakers have said. Range and durability constraints and few hydrogen stations have limited fuel-cell vehicles to small test fleets in the U.S., Japan and Europe.
To contact the reporter on this story: Kae Inoue in Tokyo snipped-for-privacy@bloomberg.net
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Looks like Arnold is starting to lose his mind and join the nutcases and scumb bag sue happy lawyers. Who will they sue next, McDonalds? Walmart?
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

I could be wrong but I think the suit was only for a few dozen million.
Not enough to make a difference in anything but maybe enough to focus attention on the issue.
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Arnold has no control over the actions of the Attorney General it is an elected office and like 90%+ of elected statewide offices in California held by an elected democrate. In this case Bill Lockyer.
Howard
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Howard Nelson wrote:

In any case, it sounds like Honda is going to show up DaimlerChrysler by meeting emission standards without having to have replaceable ammonia cannisters in the vehicle. They might be really annoyed by this.
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