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Honda Begins Electric Vehicle Testing In Japan

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TULLAMARINE, AUSTRALIA – January 5, 2011: Honda Motor Co., Ltd. has announced its ongoing testing of its next-generation products including electric vehicles (EVs), plug-in hybrid vehicles, electric scooters and electric carts in the Kumamoto Prefecture in Japan.

Conducted in real-world environments, the program will focus on motorcycles, automobiles and power products based on electromotive technologies. The program will also use advanced communications and telematics and solar-powered charging technologies to explore future forms of personal mobility and their potential of CO2 emissions reduction.

Major objectives of the Electric Vehicle Testing Program
Last August, Honda and Kumamoto Prefecture entered into an agreement to perform testing of next-generation mobility within the region.

Honda has already begun testing the Monpal ML200 electric cart, starting in October 2010 and additional testing programs will take place in Kumamoto City, Minamata City, Aso and Amakusa areas to further help realise a low-carbon mobility society in the future.

The program will study the following:

  • The practicality and convenience of electromotive technology on next-generation products including Honda’s EV and plug-in hybrid vehicles, the EV-neo electric scooter and the Monpal ML200 electric cart
  • The effectiveness of solar power generation and other renewable energy sources in helping to realise a low-carbon mobility society
  • The potential of next-generation personal mobility to enhance the QOL (quality of life) of residents in local communities

    Last December, Honda announced its Electric Vehicle Testing Programs in the United States (Torrance, California) and with Saitama Prefecture. In addition to Japan and the United States, Honda is also considering the possibility of conducting a similar program in China.

    Electric Vehicle Testing Program vehicles
    In addition to zero-emission electric vehicles, scooters and carts, the testing program will also include Honda’s plug-in hybrid vehicles, which combine a petrol engine with two high-output electric motors.

    Electric vehicle (EV) Based on the popular Fit (Jazz in Australia) that is known for its compact, maneuverable body and superior utility, this vehicle features a coaxial motor and other electromotive technologies developed for the FCX Clarity fuel cell electric vehicle, combined with a Toshiba-produced lithium-ion battery. Charging with a 200-volt power source takes less than six hours and vehicle driving range exceeds 160 km

    Plug-in hybrid vehicle Based on the platform of the Inspire mid-size sedan, this vehicle features a fuel-efficient 2.0-litre i-VTEC engine and two high-output electric motors, specially developed for this system. The vehicle can be operated in three drive modes: all-electric, petrol-electric hybrid and engine drive modes. The lithium-ion battery is manufactured by Blue Energy and the vehicle’s all-electric mode driving range is 15 to 25 km

    Solar-powered charging station
    Located inside Honda’s Kumamoto Factory in Kumamoto Prefecture, this charging station features a solar-powered generating system manufactured by Honda Soltec. Honda will use the station in combination with advanced communications and telematics to test a wide variety of program objectives.

    Advanced communications and telematics
    Using the InterNavi Premium Club services, Honda’s information network for automobiles, Honda will test charging station communications to improve customer convenience and safety. Using this support tool, a customer can search for charging stations, set destinations, confirm various vehicle conditions and access other information by using either a smartphone or a car navigation screen.

    Charging support service
    Even when away from the test vehicle, a customer can view a map on their smartphone of how far the vehicle can drive on its remaining battery charge and also search for charging stations within that area. The customer can then select a charging station from the search results, forward the station information to the vehicle via the InterNavi Information Centre and set the station destination on the navigation screen. The navigation system will then guide the customer to the charging destinations.