Compete with the Chevy Volt? Honda says no
Honda has traditionally taken a wait and see approach, and the
blossoming plug-in hybrid market is no exception. Assuming the Chevy
Volt is released in 2010, Honda won’t be a competitor in that space. At
least, that’s what its CEO Takeo Fukui says.
Honda is concerned about the premium prices placed on current hybrid
cars and wants to cap the price difference at $2,000 for standard
models, according to BusinessWeek. That may be pushing potential plug-in
hybrid models that would compete with the Chevy Volt out of reach as the
associated R&D costs would demand a higher price.
Specifically, Fukui said “we don’t necessarily think the plug-in hybrid
is a very great idea. If the batteries ever go through a major
advancement, then the plug-ins will also advance, [but] if you look at
the current battery performance, the cars have a very limited range.”
Limited range may be a restriction for running on all-electric power,
but that’s the best part about plug-in hybrids, they can use multiple
energy sources. The dream of only buying gas during long trips is half
the reason the Chevy Volt is receiving so much buzz.
Honda differs in its opinion of plug-in hybrids from most of its
competitors like GM, Nissan and Ford.
That’s a mixed bag because Honda could target a different segment than
the Chevy Volt for example, by pricing a car under $27,000. Especially
because the Volt continues to creep toward $40,000 as R&D costs continue
to add up.
Of course, pricing a vehicle in that range would require significant
efficiency gains from Honda, or a technology leap.
Then again, maybe Honda is working on a secret project and just doesn’t
want to share its secret just yet.
Chevy Volt may cost $35,000 - still interested?