Currently reading: Honda: 'Electric cars not viable'
Company boss says hybrids and other fuel-efficient vehicles are focus

Honda's chief executive Takanobu Ito has conceded the car industry still needs a breakthrough in battery technology in order to make electric cars viable.

As a result, he said the company was looking to develop electric car batteries in China to tap the country's technology and vast resources. The Chinese government is currently providing car makers with extensive grants to develop electric vehicles, as it bids to break its reliance on oil, which it has to import.

"If there is a suitable chance, we hope to work with China to (develop) batteries," said Ito . "There needs to be a major breakthrough in battery technology."

Ito also predicted that it will take ten-20 years before battery-run electric cars became mainstream, saying he would prefer to focus Honda's investment on hybrids and other fuel-efficient vehicles in the meantime.

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NiallOswald 1 June 2010

Re: Honda: 'Electric cars not viable'

Also, anything from 'Transport Watch' should be taken with a UK winter's worth of salt:

NiallOswald 1 June 2010

Re: Honda: 'Electric cars not viable'

"The study also took into account electrical energy leaked lost between the powerplant and the point where the vehicle would be charged. This leakage was estimated to be an astounding 76%. Diesels on the other hand achieve a 45% efficiency.

The research was done in the UK where only 20% of electricity is generated by renewable energy. It was estimated that in China, for example, where most electricity comes from coal, a change from diesel to electric vehicles would double CO2 emissions."

This is simply incorrect.

1) 20% renewable generation was the original 2020 target figure, since revised downwards!

2) If anyone is really suggesting that the electricity generation, transmission and distribution system is 24% efficient, they're certifiable. Total end-to-end distribution loss is around 8%...

3) 45% is an exceptional peak efficiency figure for a modern small diesel, not a cycle average operating point figure.

A couple of other points worth noting:

The installed generating capacity we have in the UK is not fully utilised. There are significant daily, weekly and annual variations in electricity demand. Have a look at for more info. Our coal and CCGT stations do the load following, nuclear runs at constant output. In theory at least there is (and simply has to be for the grid to function) 'spare' generating capacity.

Hydrogen fuel cells are a type of battery, with some obvious advantages, and some disadvantages - poor cycle efficiency in particular. Generating hydrogen by electrolysis and using it in fuel cell vehicles is a good way of wasting a lot of energy.

Johnnytheboy 31 May 2010

Re: Honda: 'Electric cars not viable'

If we all did start driving electric cars over - say - the next decade, where would the generating power come from?

No-one's building power stations, so I'll stick to petrol for the time being.