Honda’s future electric
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Diesel may not be dead but as far as Honda is concerned it's certainly languishing in the hospital waiting room.
A petrol-electric hybrid has taken over from diesel as the economy option in the CR-V SUV, which will be a first for the Japanese company when it goes on sale in Britain this year.
Like all other manufacturers, Honda is trying to plan for a highly uncertain future. Although electrification and driverless technology are undoubtedly attracting political vigour and plenty of inspirational rhetoric, the reality is that the the infrastructure needed for both is lagging behind.
Nagadome-san, the car's chief project engineer, admitted during the Geneva motor show: “At the moment it looks like we will be replacing diesel with a hybrid, it's a trend in the market we cannot ignore.
“However, diesel is still attractive, although while it is discussed at a political level [as it is currently] we are not sure what will happen, whether the situation will stabilise.”
But from Honda's perspective it seems that diesel may have had its day. Although it prides itself on its research and development, Honda has a relatively small budget for such activities and therefore cannot hope to drive development on all fronts of propulsion, although it arguably it is still among the leaders in the field of hydrogen fuel cells.
Nagadome-san is clear on Honda's future direction: “We believe we need to be prepared to put our clearly limited resources in the direction of electrification rather than developing new diesel powertrains.”
Germany may still believe in the huge diesel market, but the demonisation of the fuel in cities throughout the continent may just be a movement that has gained too much momentum to be stopped.