Environmental Technology

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Based on its vision of "Blue Skies for our Children," Honda is working to help advance technologies that can help address society's environmental and energy concerns. Honda is taking a comprehensive 'portfolio' approach that involves both advanced powertrain and energy technologies for the near and longer term. Honda's portfolio encompasses more fuel-efficient gasoline-powered vehicles, including the expanded deployment of affordable hybrids and the development of viable alternatives to petroleum, including natural gas, battery electric, plug-in hybrid and hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicles, as well as advanced energy production and distribution technologies such as solar cells, co-generation systems, and more efficient means of producing renewable biofuels.

Reducing CO2 emissions

Honda continues to place a strong emphasis on reducing CO2 emissions that contribute to global warming.

  • In 2006 Honda became the first automaker to establish voluntary targets for the reduction of CO2 emissions from its products and production operations globally, including a targeted 10% reduction in the fleet-average CO2 emissions of Honda and Acura automobiles from 2000 levels by 2010.
  • The company exceeded all but one of its targets, achieving a 12.4% reduction in automobile CO2 emissions. The 10% target for reducing the CO2 emissions intensity (emissions per unit of production) of automobile production was not achieved due to the very large reduction in production levels as a result of the global economic crisis in late-2008 and 2009.
  • Honda in 2011 set a new target – to achieve a 30% reduction in the global fleet-average CO2 emissions of its automobile, powersports and power equipment products by 2020, compared to 2000 levels.
  • Honda was ranked second among all automakers and first among all surveyed Japanese companies in the 2011 Global 500 Report from The Carbon Disclosure Project, which analyzes the efforts of the world's 500 largest companies to address climate change and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

New Hybrid Strategy

  • Honda has steadily advanced and expanded the use of its hybrid technology, first introduced in the original Honda Insight in 1999. Today, Honda has four distinct hybrid models – the Civic Hybrid, Insight, sporty CR-Z hybrid coupe, and the Acura ILX Hybrid, Acura's first hybrid model and the first hybrid automobile from Honda to be manufactured in America using domestic and globally-sourced parts.
  • Honda's future hybrid strategy is based on a three-prong approach that encompasses small, midsize and larger vehicles. This lineup of Sport Hybrid technologies includes one-, two- and three-motor systems:
    • The one-motor Sport Hybrid Intelligent Dual Clutch Drive for smaller vehicles utilizes a high-output motor, lithium-ion battery, and an inline 4-cylinder 1.5-liter Atkinson cycle engine mated to a 7-speed dual clutch transmission (DCT). The system is optimized for use in smaller vehicles like the Honda Fit and Insight.
    • The two-motor Sport Hybrid system is mated to an electric CVT and operates in three modes – EV drive, Engine drive and Hybrid drive. A new Accord Plug-In Hybrid utilizing this system will be introduced in 2013. An all-new Accord Hybrid, also using the new two-motor system, will launch later in 2013.
    • Acura's new Sport Hybrid Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (Sport Hybrid SH-AWD™) three-motor hybrid system, debuting on the Acura RLX sedan in 2013, will be paired with a high-output, high-efficiency V-6 engine and 7-speed dual-clutch transmission to achieve both outstanding fuel efficiency and exhilarating performance.

Improving Fuel Efficiency

Honda has been a consistent leader in fuel-efficiency, introducing new technologies and topping the U.S. EPA's automobile fuel-economy rankings for 22 of the past 37 years.

  • Honda is committed to further advancements in internal combustion engine fuel efficiency, with a focus on the broad application of technologies such as VTEC™ and Variable Cylinder Management™ (VCM™), and the expanded application of Honda hybrid technology.
    • Honda's four hybrid models in the U.S. utilize an interactive Ecological Drive Assist System (Eco Assist™), which uses both real-time feedback and coaching mechanisms to help enhance customers' fuel-efficient driving capabilities.
  • In October 2011, Honda debuted a new lineup of advanced gasoline engines using new 'Earth Dreams' powertrain technology, which will serve as the foundational technology to advance the fuel efficiency of Honda and Acura vehicles.
    • 'Earth Dreams' technology will be applied to a wide range of gasoline engines, including 660cc, 1.5-liter, 1.8-liter, 2.0-literm 2.4-liter 4-cylinder, and 3.5-liter V-6 engines, as well as an advanced and sporty continuously variable transmission (CVT).
    • The all-new 2013 Accord is the first model in North America to apply the new "Earth Dreams" direct-injected 2.4-liter engine coupled to a new CVT to deliver top-class fuel economy for a gasoline-powered vehicle in the midsize sedan segment.
  • Further, the company is working to substantially reduce vehicle running resistance through reductions in vehicle weight, lower rolling resistance, advances in vehicle aerodynamics, and reduced engine and driveline friction.
    • In terms of vehicle light weighting, Honda has been a leader in the use of high-strength steel that can reduce vehicle weight while also allowing engineers to meet other critical performance targets, such as vehicle safety. All new Honda and Acura vehicles have body structures using upwards of 50% high-strength steel by weight, among the highest in the industry.
    • Extensive efforts to reduce engine friction include the use of low-viscosity oils, precision machining of components such as cylinder sleeves, and the use of advanced materials such as molybdenum, which is being applied to cylinder walls in the engines of numerous models.

Battery Electric Vehicle Technology

Honda has also been leading the development of new electromotive technologies, including the deployment of the first electric vehicle to use advanced nickel metal hydride batteries, the Honda EV Plus, and the first application of lithium-ion batteries for motive power, in the FCX Clarity fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV).

  • Honda began leasing the all-ne Fit EV electric commuter vehicle to customers in California and Oregon in the summer of 2012, and will expand to six East Coast markets in 2013.
  • The Fit EV has earned class-leading ratings for EPA fuel economy (118 MPGe) and energy consumption (29kWh per 100 miles), and a class-leading driving range (82 miles).

Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle Technology

  • Honda has paced the industry in the development and deployment of the fuel-cell electric vehicle (FCEV) as well as the refueling infrastructure that will be required to take it to the mass market.
    • Honda has been leasing its fuel-cell electric vehicles to fleet and retail customers in California since 2002, in the world's first large-scale retail initiative for FCEVs.
    • Honda introduced the world's first production FCEV and first FCEV to be certified by the U.S. EPA and CARB for commercial use– the Honda FCX – in October 2002.
    • The Honda FCX Clarity, the successor to the FCX, is the world's first purpose-built FCEV and the first to be manufactured on a dedicated production line.
    • Honda will introduce an all-new fuel cell electric vehicle in the U.S. and Japan in 2015.
    • Honda R&D is advancing technology for the use of renewable energy in the production of hydrogen (see Solar Cell).

Natural Gas-Powered Vehicles

Honda has sought to establish a pathway from gasoline to gaseous fuel alternatives with the Civic Natural Gas vehicle (formerly the Civic GX), the only natural gas-powered passenger car for retail sale from a major automaker in North America.

  • The Civic Natural Gas reduces tank-to-wheel CO2 emissions by 25% (versus a comparable gasoline-powered compact car) and is certified as an Inherently Low Emissions Vehicle (ILEV).
  • Honda has steadily expanded its U.S. retail sales network for the natural gas-powered Civic. With the introduction of the 2012 Civic Natural Gas, Honda further expanded its retail network from 139 dealers in 33 states to nearly 200 dealers in 36 states.
  • In California, the Civic Natural Gas, along with the FCX Clarity and Fit EV, is eligible for single-occupant access to HOV lanes through January 2015.

Advanced Cleaner Energy Research

Honda's efforts have gone beyond developing new vehicle technologies to include research and development of new sources of cleaner power to provide the energy required for future mobility.

  • Solar Cell – Honda-developed photovoltaic solar cells significantly reduce the energy and CO2 emissions in the manufacturing phase1. Honda subsidiary Soltec, Ltd. began mass production of Honda solar cells at its new Kumamoto factory in October 2008. Honda is utilizing the cells in many of its own facilities in Japan and also has deployed them at some U.S. facilities.
    • An array at Honda R&D Americas Los Angeles headquarters uses solar power to extract hydrogen from water for refueling the FCX Clarity in a virtually carbon-free energy cycle.
    • An 800-cell array was recently completed at the headquarters of Honda Performance Development, Honda's U.S. race engineering enterprise in Santa Clarita, Calif.
  • FFVs – Honda has developed a flexible-fuel system that enables engines to operate on either 100 percent ethanol or a wide range of ethanol-gasoline fuel mixtures. In late 2006, Honda began sales of a flex-fuel Fit and Civic sedan in Brazil, where the energy-efficient production of bio-ethanol from plant cellulose such as sugar cane has gained in popularity.
  • Bio-fuel – To address the need for more efficient means of producing bio-ethanol in other regions of the world, Honda R&D and the Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth (RITE) are researching new technology to produce ethanol from soft-biomass, a renewable resource of plant-derived material. The company has set up an experimental production facility at its Wako, Japan R&D campus to further study the market potential of this technology.

1 compared to conventional crystal silicon solar cells.

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