Honda and Hybrid Electric Vehicles Essay

1466 Words Jan 19th, 2008 6 Pages
Honda and Hybrid Electric Vehicles

Honda was founded in Hamamatsu, Japan, by Soichiro Honda in 1946 as the Honda Technical Research Institute. The company began as a developer of engines for bicycles, but by 1949 it had produced its first motorcycle, called the Dream. In 1959, Honda entered the U.S. automobile and motorcycle market by opening the American Honda Motor Company. A few years later, in 1963, Honda released its first sports car, the S500, in Japan. Honda Motor Co. Inc. grew rapidly to become one of the largest automobile companies in the world. Its “globalization” strategy of building factories around the world that would meet the needs of local customers had resulted in a total worldwide presence of more than 100 factories
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The electric motor can also start the engine, obviating the need for a traditional starter component. The Insight’s electric engine is not powerful enough alone to propel the car; therefore, the gas engine must be running simultaneously. The Insight mileage ratings were 61 mp in cities and 70 mpg on highways, with 0—60 miles per hour acceleration in approximately 11 seconds. At lower speeds the electrical components provide the extra horsepower to propel the car, reducing the gas engines effort and thus saving fuel. The batteries are regenerated by capturing energy during braking or slowing and through standard electricity generation provided by the traditional generator component in a standard car engine. Therefore, one does not have to plug in the Insight, or any of Honda’s hybrids, to recharge the batteries.

Obstacles to the Adoption of Hybrids

Though the hybrid market had exhibited rapid growth (see table 3.1), the numbers of hybrid vehicles sold were still very small compared to traditional automobiles, Adoption of hybrid designs by consumers and by U.S. auto manufacturers had been slow because of uncertainty about the direction engine design would go in the next few years. Would one hybrid design rise to dominate the others? Would hybrids be quickly displaced by other alternative fuel technologies such as fuel cells or hydrogen combustion? Many people believed that hybrids would be a short-lived phenomenon, quickly replaced by

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